By Eric Kohanik,
When it comes to classic beauties and bombshells, there have been many countries that have made significant contributions to the roster. Those nations range from the likes of Italy (Sophia Loren), France (Brigitte Bardot), England (Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins) and Sweden (Anita Ekberg, Greta Garbo, Ann-Margret) all the way to the domains of Germany (Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum), Colombia (Sofía Vergara, Shakira), Mexico (Salma Hayek), Australia (Elle Macpherson) and even Canada (Pamela Anderson, Shannon Tweed). America has certainly managed to add plenty of homegrown beauties to the bombshell register as well. Let’s take a look at the Top 15 American bombshells and how they managed to change the vision of “Va-Va-Voom”:
She is still widely regarded as the top bombshell in American history. And no wonder. Marilyn Monroe’s vivacious curves and her playful, flirtatious voice absolutely made for a hot combination that helped her easily beat out almost everyone else when it came to being recognized as the truly classic Hollywood sex symbol
Those legs, those legs, those legs. Betty Grable showed them off in a 1939 movie called Million Dollar Legs. But the popular Hollywood sex symbol got a lot more attention in 1943, when she posed for a poster photo that ended up turning her into the most popular pinup girl of World War II.
Mamie Van Doren
One of the first actresses to re-create the Marilyn Monroe look, Mamie Van Doren was another Hollywood sex symbol whose career was launched by Howard Hughes. It wasn’t long before she became well known for a number of provocative movie roles that often showcased her curvy figure through a variety of tight sweaters and other form-fitting outfits.
Some have called her “the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe.” Others have insisted that Jayne Mansfield really was the most bodacious American bombshell ever. In any case, Mansfield’s notable hourglass figure (40-21-35) was certainly a memorable, eye-popping asset. It also helped boost a variety of her performing skills that included singing, acting … and, of course, posing for the occasional pinup photo.
Although she was mostly known for singing sultry songs, Eartha Kitt’s bombshell status got kicked up a notch or two during the late 1960s, when she donned that shiny, skintight costume for her run as Catwoman during the final season of ABC’s Batman TV series. Meow-w-w! Purr-r-r!
Often regarded as the original “blond bombshell,” Jean Harlow got her career start in silent movies and quickly became a popular Hollywood fixture after she was discovered by producer Howard Hughes. Harlow was only 26 when she died, but she did manage to chalk up a lot of accomplishments, both professionally and personally (including three marriages), in a very short period of time.
She had only a few lines in the movie, but it was the famous little fur-lined deerskin bikini she wore in 1966’s One Million Years B.C. that really helped propel Raquel Welch into the bombshell stratosphere. The image of her in that outfit has been lingering on in millions of minds ever since.
Through the years, Jane Fonda has been famous for being an actress, a political activist, a feminist and even a fitness guru. Thanks to a 1968 flick called Barbarella, she managed to jump into the bombshell arena as well.
Her stint as a buxom receptionist named Jennifer Marlowe on TV’s WKRP in Cincinnati quickly made Loni Anderson a popular household name during the late 1970s. Many have compared her allure and her looks to that of Jayne Mansfield — which is clearly why she ended up getting the title role of a 1980 TV movie called The Jayne Mansfield Story.
Her role as Jill Munroe on TV’s Charlie’s Angels was somewhat brief, but it got her plenty of attention. Before the show even aired, however, Farrah Fawcett put on a red swimsuit and posed for a poster that made her an iconic beauty in the world of bombshells. More than 12 million copies of it were sold.
She broke into the movie mainstream via a 1979 flick called 10. And her character’s cornrow-braided hair and flesh-colored swimsuit instantly turned Bo Derek into a monumental sex symbol — as well as a popular poster. Derek has been the subject of many other photographic gems after that, making her a bombshell who continues to make hearts flutter.
Widely recognized as the queen of pop, Madonna frequently turned the early days of music videos upside down by regularly pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable on TV screens into a whole new realm. Her look and style usually sent hearts racing whenever she performed. They also managed to take the 1980s fashion scene down a bold, new path.
Her primary claim to fame has been as one of the first true supermodels of the world. But Cindy Crawford also left some distinct impressions in the minds of TV viewers, thanks in part to a Pepsi commercial that premiered during the 1992 Super Bowl. In fact, that commercial was so memorable that Crawford re-created that bombshell moment perfectly in a funny spoof with James Corden last year.
Yes, she has been an “Uptown Girl” for many years. And Christie Brinkley has graced the covers of many magazines during that time. But she was also the first model to make it onto the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three years in a row. And that’s a real bombshell achievement.
Her peekaboo hairstyle was inspired by a real-life Hollywood hottie named Veronica Lake. And although Jessica Rabbit may only have been a cartoon character, that doesn’t matter. Her appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit was still memorable enough to put her into this bombshell brigade
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