The HyperTexts

Once-Famous Forgotten and Unknown Beauties

Who are the beauties of the past who are unknown or largely forgotten today?

The Top Ten Unknown Beauties of All Time, according to The HyperTexts

(10) Lena Horne
(9) Heddy Lamar
(8) Kim Novak
(7) Evelyn Nesbit
(6) Candy Darling
(5) Lillian Gish
(4) Claudia Cardinale
(3) Geraldine Hoff Doyle aka "Rosie the Riveter"
(2) Ione Bright
(1) Dorothy Dandridge

The Top Ten Forgotten Beauties of All Time, according to The HyperTexts

(10) Natalie Wood
(9) Anita Eckberg
(8) Bette Davis
(7) Lana Turner
(6) Veronica Lake
(5) Ginger Rogers
(4) Ingrid Bergman
(3) Gene Tierney
(2) Ava Gardner
(1) Gypsy Rose Lee

Honorable Mention: Maude Adams, Joan Bennett, Capuchine, Madeleine Carroll, Dame Gladys Cooper, Linda Darnell, Yvonne DeCarlo, Frances Dee, Lily Elsie, Anna Held, Eva Braun Hitler, Maude Fealy, Jennifer Jones, Lillie Langtry, Virna Lisi, Yvette Mimieux, Merle Oberon, Lillian Russell, Doris Eaton Travis, Mary Nolan, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lillian Gish, Jan Sterling, Eva Marie Saint, Maude Gonne, Isadora Duncan, Dorothy Dandridge, Cléo de Mérode, Wilma Rudolph, Jean Shrimpton, Jodie Kidd, Jamie King, Kristin McMenamy, Ann Savage

Related pages: Famous Full-Figured Women, Best Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Marilyn Monroe Rare & Unusual Pictures, Famous Courtesans, Famous Hustlers, Famous Ingénues, Famous Rogues, Famous Heretics, Famous Pool Sharks, Famous Forgers and Frauds, Famous Beauties, Famous Last Words, Famous Insults, Famous Morons, The Dumbest Things Ever Said, Famous Flops

Gypsy Rose Lee [1911-1970]

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee was a famous burlesque performer known far and wide for her stripteases. But she was also a dancer, actress, producer, author, and playwright whose 1957 memoir was made into the stage musical and filmGypsy. She also wrote a mystery novel called The G-String Murders and co-produced a musical revue called Star and Garter. It is said that her first striptease was accidental, occurring when the strap of her gown broke, causing it to fall to the floor during one of her acts. She went on to develop a more casual style of striptease, emphasizing the "tease" and incorporating humor. She was frequently arrested during police raids on her performances, which would be considered to be quite tame and in good taste today.

Ava Gardner [1922-1990]

gty bikini ava kb 130619 blog PHOTOS: Bikini Babes Back Then

The picture of Ava Gardner on a beach in a white bikini, standing on her tiptoes, is one of my favorite pictures of all time. She looks like Venus, the love goddess. I also love the picture of her reading in a deck chair, and pausing to smile for the camera. I believe both beach pictures are from 1945. She was born on Christmas Eve, 1922. A talented actress, she was nominated for an Oscar for her lead role in Mogambo (1953). She auditioned for the lead in The Graduate, but insisted that "I strip for no one" and the part was given to Anne Bancroft.

Ingrid Bergman [1915-1982]

Ingrid Bergman won three Oscars, two Tony awards, and an Emmy. Generally considered to be one of the very best female actors, she is best known for her roles in Casablanca, Anastasia, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Gaslight and Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious and Spellbound.

Gene Tierney [1920-1991],%20Gene/Tierney,%20Gene%20(Laura)_01.jpg

Ginger Rogers [1911-1995]

Lana Turner [1921-1995]

Veronica Lake [1919-1973]

Veronica Lake was breathtakingly beautiful. As a teenager, she was expelled from an all-girls Catholic boarding school, so she may have been a bit naughty in her youth (but who wasn't?). As an adult she was arrested for public drunkenness more than once. With art perhaps imitating life, she became known for playing notorious femme fatales in film noirs. Born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, she took the last name "Lake" because Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow thought it matched her blue eyes, and the first name "Veronica" because he admired her classic beauty. Her best-known movies include The Blue Dahlia (1946), This Gun for Hire (1942), I Married a Witch (1942), Sullivan's Travels (1941) and So Proudly We Hail(1943). She was also a popular pin-up model. Her famous "peek-a-boo" bangs became so imitated that during World War II the U.S. government asked her to pin her hair back, out of fear that female factory workers would have accidents!

Bette Davis [1908-1989]

Bette Davis, wow so beautiful

"She's got Bette Davis eyes ..."

Anita Eckberg

Anita Ekberg photographed by Peter Basch

Natalie Wood

Orson Welles said that Natalie Wood was so naturally talented, she was "terrifying." She was nominated for three Oscars before turning 25. The daughter of Russian immigrants, she started acting at age four, with her only previous training having been to sit in her mother's lap watching movies. Her leading men included James Dean ("Rebel Without A Cause"), Warren Beatty ("Splendor In The Grass"), John Wayne ("The Searchers") and Robert Redford in three different movies. 

Unknown Beauties

Lillian Gish [1893-1993]

Lillian Gish has been called "The First Lady of American Cinema." She once remarked with pride, "I played a lewd Ophelia." But she also said, "Young man, if God had wanted you to see me that way, he would have put your eyes in your bellybutton."

Lillian Russell [1860-1922]


Lillian Russell was one of the first American female celebrities. She was an actress and singer known for her stage presence. She was married four times, but her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, a man known for his enormous appetites, which included gambling, food and (as his nickname suggests) expensive jewels. Her mother was a noted feminist who became the first woman to run for mayor of New York City. In her later years Russell became an advocate of women's suffrage and was a popular lecturer and newspaper columnist.

Ann Savage [1921-2008]

Ann Savage and I share the same birthday, February the 19th. The day I discovered her, I received a message out of the blue,Glamour, that made me think of the word's ancient connotation of a magical spell. Then, I swear, the two pictures above were the only ones I could get to paste into this page, as if she was selecting them herself! Ann Savage is best known today for her role as the cigarette-dangling, "vicious and predatory, very sexually aggressive" femme fatale Vera in the surreal film noirDetour. She has also been called "the perfect vixen."

Eva Braun Hitler [1912-1945]

Geraldine Hoff Doyle aka "Rosie the Riveter"

Ironically, Geraldine Hoff only worked as a "riveter" for a short time because she was a cello player and was worried about injuring her hands. She found safer work at a soda fountain. During her brief stint as a factory worker, a UPI photographer took the iconic picture that helped create the legend of "Rosie the Riveter." The original "Rosie" didn't have bulging biceps ... those were the work of touch-up artists.

Candy Darling

Candy Darling certainly qualifies as a notorious beauty, since she was a favorite of Andy Warhol and the songs "Lola" by the Kinks and Lou Reed's "Candy Says" and "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" were allegedly written with her in mind. Oh, and she was a he, born James Lawrence Slattery.

Dorothy Dandridge [1922-1965]

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an African-American film and theatre actress, singer and dancer. She was the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones. In 1959, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Porgy and Bess. Dandridge also performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.

Claudia Cardinale

Mary Anderson [1859-1940]

Mary Anderson was an accomplished Southern actress and the star of many a Shakespearean play.

Evelyn Nesbit [1884-1967]


Evelyn Nesbit was an artists' model, chorus girl, and Gibson Girl immortalized in E. L. Doctorow's historical fiction novel, Ragtime. She was considered scandalous because but her story is much darker than her innocent images portray. First, there was her relationship with Stanford White, which began when he was 47 and she was 16. Then she married Harry Thaw, a cocaine addict and physical abuser who killed White out of jealousy. And finally, she was a major player in the two sensationalized murder trials of Thaw's "Crime of the Century." While Harry Thaw denied paternity of the child raised as his son, Evelyn maintained that Russell Thaw was conceived during a conjugal visit with her husband at Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Evelyn Nesbit played Vashti, the gypsy girl, in "The Wild Rose", 1902 and she was also known as "the girl in the red velvet swing."

Related pages: Visions of Beauty, Best Marilyn Monroe Pictures, Marilyn Monroe Rare & Unusual Pictures, Famous Beauties, Forgotten and Unknown Beauties, Famous Historical Beauties, Famous Courtesans, Famous Ingénues, Famous Hustlers, Famous Pool Sharks, Famous Rogues, Famous Heretics, Famous Hypocrites, Famous Forgers and Frauds, Famous Flops and Flubs, Famous Morons, The Dumbest Things Ever Said, Famous Last Words, Famous Insults, Famous Falsettos, Unmentionables, Visible Panty Lines

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