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Silver-screen sirens of the 20th century

20th-century screen sirens
Today is the birthday of the legendary Marilyn Monroe, the day when she would have turned 85. In honor of this iconic sex symbol we take a look at the most glamorous and seductively beautiful silver screen sirens of the 20th century, along with their dazzling films and fiery love affairs. 

Marilyn Monroe
Her fame surpassed that of any other entertainer of her generation, and she transcended the bounds of stardom to become a cultural icon. She offered the whole package -- glamour, beauty, sex appeal, a sizzling screen presence and a talent for singing.

Her films:
"Gentleman Prefer Blondes"
"How to Marry a Millionaire"
"The Seven Year Itch"

Her loves:
A policeman
A baseball legend
A famous playwright
Greta Garbo
One of silent film's biggest stars  this Swedish actress captivated audiences with her divine looks and natural talent for conveying emotions on-camera. After the Hollywood "talkies" were introduced, her seductive voice and mysterious persona helped her become a legend, eventually earning her an honorary Oscar for her screen career.

Her films:
"Grand Hotel"

Her loves:
A silent film star
A businessman
A writer and socialite
Brigitte Bardot
She was the first international star  to be as popular as any homegrown pinup in the U.S. This sultry sex symbol  is known for popularizing the bikini and also for her illustrious career as a model, singer  and flirtatious actress.

Her films:
"...And God Created Woman" )
"Viva Maria!"

Her loves:
A director
A French actor
A German multimillionaire
Angelina Jolie
Regularly on the "world's most beautiful" lists, this silver screen goddess is known for her otherworldly beauty  acting talent, eccentricities and humanitarian work. She is at home portraying tough young women on the big screen and received an Academy Award for her role as a sociopath.

Her films:
"Lara Croft Tomb Raider"
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" 

Her loves:
An actor and adoptive father to her children
An actor, screenwriter and director
A British actor
Sophia Loren
This Oscar-winning  actress is widely considered to be the most popular Italian actress of her time. She is famous for starring in more than 100 movies  and for her hourglass figure.

Her films:
"Two Women" 
"Man of La Mancha"
"El Cid"

Her loves:
An Italian film producer
A debonair actor
Elizabeth Taylor
She was admired for her acting ability  glamorous lifestyle, beauty and distinctive violet eyes. Part of her enduring fame includes two Academy Awards  her pioneering AIDS activism and her many marriages.

Her films:
"A Place in the Sun"
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

Her loves:
A Welsh actor
A popular singer and entertainer
A hotel heir and businessman
Raquel Welch

A new international sex symbol took to the cinematic throne in the '60s when she hit the screen in a skimpy fur bikini. Her natural beauty  wiped away the notion that enduring sex goddesses could only be blond, and she gained recognition as a serious actress, author (check out her book) and businesswoman.

Her films:
"One Million Years B.C."
"The Three Musketeers"

Her loves:
A French producer and photographer
A Hollywood press agent
Betty Grable
The No. 1 pinup girl and morale booster during World War II  this American actress, dancer and singer  was one of the most famous of Hollywood's blonde superwomen. Known for her luxurious legs -- famously insured by her studio  -- she offered wholesome appeal and an alluring stage presence.

Her films:
"How to Marry a Millionaire"
"Pin-Up Girl"
"I Wake Up Screaming"
Her loves:
A child film star
A trumpeter and bandleader
Rita Hayworth
With her signature wavy, auburn hair and charismatic smile  this sexy actress became a popular pinup girl during World War II  and one of the era's top stars. She left her mark on the silver screen with her sultry roles  and her considerable talent as a dancer  and singer.

Her films:
"The Lady From Shanghai"
"Cover Girl"

Her loves:
A famous radio actor and film director
A prince
A big band crooner and actor
Sharon Stone

This diva has a flair for combining brainy sex appeal and old-fashioned Hollywood glamour. Her brazen role as a femme fatale elevated her to international star status, and she has since shown her considerable range as an actress.

Her films:
"Basic Instinct"
"Total Recall"

Her loves:
A writer, producer and director
A newspaper editor
A country singer
Gene Tierney
One of Hollywood's most luminous actresses, this striking beauty  was known for her etched cheekbones, crystal-like green eyes and elegance. A successful Broadway and film career  helped propel her to stardom.

Her films:
"Heaven Can Wait"

Her loves:
A fashion designer
A president of the United States
A Houston oil man 
Hedy Lamarr
This Austrian-born actress became a worldwide sensation in a '30s Czech film  which featured her completely nude. For a decade she was cast opposite top male stars, usually as a woman of mystery  and was known for her extraordinary beauty.

Her films:
"My Favorite Spy"
"A Lady Without Passport"

Her loves:
A British actor
A highly decorated naval officer
An arms manufacturer with Nazi connections
Lana Turner
A statuesque, shapely blonde this movie goddess was discovered and signed to a film contract at age 16. Despite a highly publicized scandal, she had a prolific film career and was another of the Hollywood glamour gals to become a popular World War II pinup.

Her films:
"Peyton Place"
"The Bad and the Beautiful"
"The Postman Always Rings Twice"

Her loves:
An actor
A jazz clarinetist and composer
A gangster bodyguard
Farrah Fawcett
Sporting feathered blond hair  this iconic entertainment figure of the '70s burst onto the scene after a poster of her in a red bathing suit  sold millions of copies. Along with her wholesome look and sex appeal, she gained acclaim for her starring role in a hit TV series.

Her films:
"Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story"

Her loves:
The "Six Million Dollar Man"
A screen actor from the '70s
A Canadian filmmaker
Julia Roberts
Not only has she frequented People magazine's "World's Most Beautiful" list  but she quickly became one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars after headlining a '90s romantic comedy as a hooker. She won an Oscar for this movie.

Her films:
"Pretty Woman"
"Erin Brockovich"

Her loves:
A country-western singer
An actor, director and producer
A "Law & Order" actor
Kim Novak
One of postwar Hollywood's most mysterious and alluring actresses  she is best known for her unforgettable performance in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. She exuded a daunting intellectual iciness in her roles. 

Her films:
"Bell, Book and Candle"

Her loves:
An eminent English actor
The son of a Dominican dictator
A veterinarian
Jean Harlow
Known as the original "blond bombshell," she made her mark on Hollywood with her trendsetting platinum blond hair, luminous skin, arched eyebrows and red lips. This golden girl showed talent in both her sensual and comedic performances.

Her films:
"China Seas"
"The Public Enemy"
"Hell’s Angels"

Her loves:
A TV star
A director and producer
A cinematographer
Vivien Leigh
This delicate beauty is best known for her role as a Southern belle  garnering a Best Actress Academy Award.  

Her films:
"Gone With the Wind"
"Waterloo Bridge"
"Caesar and Cleopatra"

Her loves:
A renowned British actor
An English barrister
A British theater actor
Salma Hayek
One of the most prominent Mexican stars in Hollywood, this siren earned initial renown with her exotic looks  hourglass figure and smoldering onscreen charisma. Her most acclaimed performance was her Academy Award-nominated role as a Mexican painter.

Her films:
"From Dusk Till Dawn"
"Once Upon a Time in Mexico"

Her loves:
A French businessman
An actor and producer
An actor
Kim Basinger

A cover girl initially, this tall, blond actress  performed a breakout role as a Bond girl. She knows how to steam up the screen and is best known for her award-winning performance in a crime drama.

Her films:
"L.A. Confidential"
"9 1/2 Weeks"

Her loves:
A prolific TV and film actor
An actor and sex symbol
A makeup artist and author
Ava Gardner
Amidst a sea of blond-haired bombshells, this striking, green-eyed brunette  stood out and maintained a solid acting career . She was also known for her high-profile love affairs with some of Hollywood's leading men.

Her films:
"Pandora and the Flying Dutchman"
"The Barefoot Contessa"

Her loves:
An actor and comedian
A jazz clarinetist and composer
A famous bullfighter from Spain
Lauren Bacall
Known as a great female entertainer, not to mention "one tough broad," she first emerged as a leading lady in the film noir genre. She was famous for her characterizations of women whose strong will complemented their sexual attraction  and for her distinctive husky voice, sultry eyes and "the look".

Her films:
"The Big Sleep"
"To Have and Have Not"
"How to Marry a Millionaire"

Her loves:
An actor and cultural icon
A legendary singer
A stage and film actor
Jane Russell

A famous director, who cast her in an odd, psychological Western, helped bring her to fame, along with her smoldering voluptuousness. Her talents as a multifaceted actress were given more attention later in her career, when she was hailed for her comic delivery and singing talents.

Her films:
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
"The Outlaw"
"Gentlemen Marry Brunettes"

Her loves:
A pro football quarterback
A stage actor
A real estate broker
Dorothy Dandridge
Her lovely dark eyes, beauty marks and cool singing style made Dandridge a standout. She reached the pinnacle of stardom as the sultry seductress in a Hollywood musical and went on to become the first black performer ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

Her films:
"Carmen Jones"
"Island in the Sun"
"Change of Heart"

Her loves:
A German director and producer
A famous tap dancer
A restaurant owner