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Top 10 Actresses Who Defined an Era as Sex Symbols of the 60s


Although near-naked bodies are the norm on Instagram these days, the idea of the sex symbol has been around for centuries. These 60s sex symbols were more than just beauties of their era — they were legendary role models and strong women who weren’t afraid to express themselves. Here are the top 1960s sex symbols who melted the screen with their jaw-dropping looks and talents.

Ursula Andress

The gorgeous Swiss-German Ursula Andress came to Hollywood fame when she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures and headed to the United States. In 1962, she appeared onscreen in a now iconic bikini and made viewers fall in love when she played Honey Ryder in Dr. No, the first James Bond movie. It was Ursula who helped the series rise to fame. 

Anita Ekberg

Anita Ekberg, the Swedish star of Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita, who played Sylvia, was one of the greatest beauties of all time. Known for her stunning features and curves, Ekberg won Miss Sweden and often modeled as a teen, eventually heading to the US to compete in Miss Universe. Though she didn’t win the pageant, she did earn a Universal Studios contract, and along with appearing in many movies, she was known for her infamous Hollywood romances. 

Julie Newmar

Catwoman has always been a bombshell character in a slinky black bodysuit and coy feline ears. Julie Newmar was the first Catwoman, starring in the 1960s “Batman” series with her co-star Adam West. Although she only played the character for the first two seasons, her jaw-dropping physique and memorable charm will forever be seared in our minds. 

Tina Louise

This 60s sex symbol was known for her work on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island, and apparently, she embraces how the world sees her. While her co-star Dawn Wells played the innocent girl next door in suburbia, Tina Louise stole hearts as Ginger Grant, a glamorous and alluring Hollywood movie star from the big city. In an interview with Get Out Mag, she cites her looks as being thanks to good genes at birth and taking good care of herself. 

Raquel Welch

The words Raquel Welch and fur bikini are synonymous these days. The legendary bombshell wore it in the film “One Million Years B.C.,” where she only uttered three lines. However, her voluptuous figure turned her into an instant sex symbol, and a photo of her in that bikini ended up being a best-selling poster. This brunette beauty would go onto international stardom.

Claudia Cardinale


Cardinale once won a 1957 competition, earning the title “Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia.” The Italian beauty queen was known for her sensual roles in “The Pink Panther” and “Big Deal in Madonna Street.” However, she was prominent in both Hollywood and Italian and French cinema. With her husky voice and seductive eye contact, Cardinale’s glamour has transfixed the world for years. 

Natalie Wood

Although Natalie Wood’s life ended in a mysterious drowning tragedy, she’ll never be forgotten as a talented movie star and sophisticated beauty. She brought a certain classiness to the phrase “sex symbol,” but she didn’t always start out that way. Wood entered Hollywood as a child actress, but as she grew older and took on more adult roles like Judy in “Rebel Without A Cause” with James Dean, audiences started to see her in a new light.

Stella Stevens

Hollywood bombshell Stella Stevens was so much more than a pretty face, playing roles in the 1963 flick “The Nutty Professor,”  the rom-com “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” and the musical “Girls! Girls! Girls!” With Elvis. In 1960, she starred as Playboy’s January Playboy of the Month and would go on to appear in the magazine multiple times. She was also voted #27 in Playboy’s roundup of the 100 sexiest stars of the 20th century. 

Brigitte Bardot

Despite being known as an exquisite blond, Brigitte Bardot used to have dark hair. The child of wealthy bourgeois parents, she started her career by posing for the cover of Elle at 15. She was seen as a symbol of hedonistic eroticism, cementing a reputation as playing characters who were sexually liberated. She was known for an unexpected gap between her teeth, which became her signature quirk. 

Sophia Loren

Few humans are as genetically blessed as Sophia Loren, who earned her sex symbol reputation when she was only a teen. The Italian actress was known for her impeccable features and hourglass figure, but her sense of style was just as impressive, embodying European elegance. Despite her looks overshadowing her talent, her effortless charisma and charm were evident in all of her roles and interviews and are part of why she’s seen as such an icon to this day.