Humans have never been too thrilled by the idea of growing old, which is a problem because most of us aren’t particularly sold on dying young either. Generally, we each enjoy a blissful period between our late teens and mid-20s when everything is as close to perfect as it can get. We don’t quite have to worry about responsibilities such as bills, mortgages, and children, which means all the money we earn from part-time work is ours to throw away on cars and phones and drunken nights out. I’m sure most of us, if we had our way, would choose to live in this wonderful transitional phase for all eternity but, sadly, it doesn’t work like that. Our jobs become more stressful, our youth leaves us, and our good looks begin to fade. Even celebrities, with all their millions of dollars, aren’t immune to the passing of time. A lucky few may be able to fall back on expensive cosmetics and plastic surgery to create the illusion of beauty, but the vast majority of them are just as prone to wrinkles and weight gain as the rest of us.
If the incessant marching of time has left you feeling insecure, this article should cheer you up (or at least remind you that other people are just as miserable as you are).
Here are 15 older celebs you won’t believe were once hot AF.
15 Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is a common subject of mockery in American culture and has been for decades. Her absurd personality combined with her near fanatical devotion to her work - not to mention that time she went to jail for conspiracy and obstruction - has made her the perfect target for satire.
Because of the negative view many Americans have of Stewart, it is easy to forget that there was once a time when she was a struggling young woman and quite a beautiful one at that. Stewart was so stunning in her youth that she managed to put herself through college by working various modelling jobs for a number of major companies, including Chanel. Obviously, Stewart’s good looks eventually faded and her catwalk career fell apart, but for a while there she seemed bound for glory in the modelling industry.
14 Jane Seymour
Despite her best efforts to remain youthful, Jane Seymour today shows all the effects of the passing of time. Her advanced age has limited the amount of roles which come her way - an all too common story in Hollywood - and she has been forced to take minor gigs in often times minor films.
The vast majority of moviegoers today are familiar with Seymour’s name, but know her only as the aging woman who sometimes pops up on their television sets. They are unaware that Seymour was, at one point in time, considered to be the single most attractive woman in all of show business. In her younger years, Seymour used her jaw-dropping good looks to score major role after major role and often appeared in multiple films a year. In 1973, her beauty led to her being cast as Solitaire in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, a role which turned her into the quintessential Bond Girl.
13 Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand is one of those celebrities whose reputation has been pretty much destroyed by the incredible power of comedy television. For most people under the age of 40, Streisand is that lady who was portrayed as a pointy-nosed potential child murderer on South Park before the show later presented her as a giant robot dinosaur who could only be tamed by the prospect of singing a duet with Neil Diamond. I’m not sure how accurate that last portrayal was, but it is impossible to deny that Barbra Streisand’s facial features are distinctive, to say the least. In her younger years, however, Streisand was a great beauty and utilized her good looks to climb to the very top of American show business, where her seemingly endless talents keep her to this day.
12 Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is widely considered to be one of the greatest actresses of all time, a label that is entirely justified. Streep has seen her greatest success in the later stages of her career, which is a testament to her acting ability as she did not have youth and good looks to draw on during auditions. That is not to say, however, that there was no point in time when Streep could have rivalled the likes of modern day Hollywood heartbreakers such as Margot Robbie and Megan Fox.
As a teenager and for most of her 20s, Streep would turn heads every time she walked down the street, and this was long before she was famous. Her flowing blonde hair and infectious smile brought even the most powerful of men to their knees and could have easily landed her a gig as a Bond Girl had she been willing to take a less artistic route to greatness.
11 Kirstie Alley
These days, most of us who are familiar with Kirstie Alley know her only as a frequent punch line in the monologues of late night talk show hosts. Her apparent mental instability and inability to control her weight have rendered her something of a laughing stock and, after seeing the way she treated her longtime friend Leah Remini after Remini left Scientology, I can’t say that I feel particularly bad for her.
Alley’s weight problems began shortly after the completion of Cheers and were a side-effect of early menopause. Before ballooning in weight, however, Alley was among the most attractive women in show business and was offered roles (and dinner) left, right, and center. In fact, Alley was considered a sure thing for supermodel superstardom as far back as her teenage years, which likely helped to forge the ego which has made her so insufferable in recent years.
10 Maggie Smith
If you were to pass Dame Maggie Smith on the street, you probably wouldn’t look twice. I mean, there is a chance you might mistake her for British Prime Minister Theresa May, but there is virtually no risk of anybody who isn’t a devoted Maggie Smith fan believing her to be a multimillionaire triple crown actress.
Today, Smith, who is in her 80s, looks like an old lady you would expect to see bewilderedly wandering down a highway next to a care home. In her younger years, however, she was everything a Hollywood star should be. Her incredible acting ability was complimented by her equally incredible good looks, which made her impossible to ignore. With flawless skin, piercing eyes, and delicate yet alluring lips, Maggie Smith had all the tools to succeed, and she sure did.
9 Brigitte Bardot
For a long time, I knew Brigitte Bardot only as a wacky animal rights activist who looked neither attractive nor particularly hygienic. I was aware that she had a past as an actress and had been quite successful in the movie industry, but that was about it. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a picture of her in an old film magazine that I realized just how beautiful the woman had been during the height of her fame.
In her younger years, Brigitte Bardot was the kind of beautiful you would expect to read about in Greek mythology. I mean she was drop dead gorgeous. With flawless smooth skin and long golden locks, it is no wonder Bardot became the star that she did. One glance from a young Brigitte Bardot would be enough for anybody to stop eating meat and get rid of all their fur coats.
8 Diane Keaton
I suppose Diane Keaton was always something of a crazy old lady, even in her younger years. Today, she has embraced her reputation as an old coot and frequently appears in public wearing outfits that are as wacky as they are colorful, and we love her for it.
Although she never married, Keaton has been involved in a variety of high-profile relationships with some of the most powerful men in show business. In the past, she has dated the likes of Woody Allen, Al Pacino, and Warren Beatty. That so many men have fallen head over heels for Diane Keaton is no surprise, particularly when you see pictures of the actress from back when she was just beginning her rise to stardom. As a young woman with her future still undetermined, Keaton had the perfect combination of beauty and confidence, a far cry from the neurotic nerd she would achieve fame portraying.
7 Betty White
For as long as I have been alive, Betty White has been Hollywood’s resident old person. Her age has made her the subject of hundreds upon thousands of good-natured jokes over the decades and she herself has appeared in numerous skits poking fun at her apparent refusal to die.
I know it’s hard to imagine, but there was a point in time when Betty White was not just young, but absolutely smoking hot. When she was in her late teens, White began her Hollywood career and quickly caught the attention of both radio and television producers alike. She also found work as a model, making full use of her voluptuous figure and flawless smooth skin. Of course, White also saw success behind the camera and became the first woman in the history of Hollywood to produce a sitcom.
6 Helen Mirren
When all is said and done, dame Helen Mirren is going to be remembered as one of the finest actors of either gender to ever enter show business. The Hammersmith native’s career has spanned decades and has taken her from stage to screen and back again, with not one bad performance to be remembered.
Mirren’s greatest success has come in the latter half of her career, which means the public sees her as an unattractive, albeit very talented, old lady. However, Mirren, who is now in her 70s, was quite the bombshell in her younger years. In her late teens and early 20s, Mirren was so breathtakingly beautiful that she simply had to flutter her eyelashes to secure a role and rarely had to exhibit the great acting talent which has earned her so much acclaim today.
5 Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow has been largely absent from the spotlight ever since her very bitter and very public split from cheating lover Woody Allen in the early 1990s. Today, she spends the majority of her time working with various charitable organizations. When she does appear in public, however, she almost always sparks conversation about how frail and haggard she has become, presumably as a result of her turbulent personal life.
But it wasn’t always like this. In her late teens and early 20s, Mia Farrow couldn’t go out in public without prompting dozens of newspaper stories about how gorgeous she was. Her natural beauty and quirky personality soon caught the eye of Frank Sinatra, who was so in awe of the young woman that he made her his third wife. High praise indeed!
4 Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin is arguably the single least qualified person to hold any form of political office in the history of the United States. Wait… I forgot what year I’m writing this in. Let me try that again. Sarah Palin is arguably the second least qualified person to hold any form of political office in the history of the United States.
Despite her total ineptitude at her job, Palin has always had a sort of confusing sex appeal. Although recent years have not been particularly kind to her, there was a time when she could hold her own with any Hollywood beauty. As a 20-year-old college student, Sarah Palin was undeniably attractive and likely would have remained so had she not exposed herself to the perpetual stress of American politics.
3 Diana Rigg
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’re more than likely familiar with Diana Rigg, who plays Olenna Tyrell on the show. Her role in Game of Thrones has given new life to Diana Rigg and brought about a career resurgence which, for a long time, seemed like it was never going to take place.
Today, Rigg is close to 80 years of age and certainly looks out of place among the many beautiful women who make up much of the Game of Thrones cast. In her 20s, however, Rigg would have surpassed those actresses not just in acting ability, but in good looks. In her younger years, the Doncaster native was among the most beautiful women in all of Hollywood and boasted the same combination of class and sex appeal which had made Marilyn Monroe such a star (though she also had the annoying and limiting addition of self-respect).
2 Sandra Bernhard
Over the past couple of decades, Sandra Bernhard has worked as a model, a stand-up comedian, a singer, an author, and an actress; which is strange because her time in show business has been relatively unremarkable. Most people who are familiar with Bernhard remember her as one of David Letterman’s favorite guests in the early years of his original late night talk show, while some may recognize her as Jerry Lewis’ stalker and Robert De Niro’s partner in crime in the 1982 drama The King of Comedy.
Bernhard’s career has likely suffered due to her unique appearance, which has made her recognizable for all the wrong reasons. In her youth, however, Bernhard’s full lips and gap teeth made her strangely appealing. Her appearance was enhanced by the rocker-esque outfits which she often wore in her 20s but abandoned as she marched further into middle-age.
1 Geraldine Chaplin
For the most part, comedians are not attractive people, which means their children are not particularly attractive either. Charlie Chaplin, however, was the exception to that rule. Not only was he himself on the handsome end of the spectrum of attractiveness, he was also the father of a very beautiful young woman by the name of Geraldine Chaplin.
Geraldine followed her father into show business, but many critics observed that she seemed to lack her father’s impeccable comic timing and unteachable screen presence. Geraldine relied on her remarkable good looks to set her apart and, for a period, they did. Unfortunately, her beauty eventually faded and, as a result, the number of roles which came her way greatly diminished. Today, Chaplin primarily busies herself in the handling of her father’s legacy.
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