While women traditionally tend to wear bras, even in our modern times, there are always going to be occasions where they’re better off without them. Whether for comfort reasons, for sex appeal, or to obey the laws of the space; there have been numerous times where Hollywood actresses have chosen to go braless for the cameras. Join Facts Verse as we explore actresses who went braless for the cameras.
Before there was Marilyn Monroe, there was Jean Harlow. Jean Harlow was upfront about her sex appeal. And one of the ways she chose to express her femininity was to never wear a bra. The actress famously flaunted her breasts in such Golden Age Hollywood classics as the 1930’s epic Hell’s Angels; which produced by Howard Hughes.
Sadly, like other sex symbols before and after her time, Jean Harlow died well before her time. She died at the age of only 26 after suffering from kidney failure. Her final film, titled Saratoga released posthumously and became the biggest hit of 1937.
Jayne Mansfield was one of Jean Harlow’s many successors in terms of Golden Age Hollywood sex symbols. Like Jean Harlow before her, Jayne often opted out of wearing a bra. The most notorious instance of Jayne not wearing a bra on camera comes not from a performance in a film but from a photo that got taken at a party in Beverly Hills. The photo features a shocked Sophia Loren’s candid reaction when she notices that Jayne isn’t wearing a bra. And it has since become so famous that people ask Sophia to autograph it to this day! For her part, Sophia refuses to autograph the photo both because she finds the memory repulsive and out of respect for the since-deceased Golden Age actress.
Bette Davis was yet another sex symbol of Hollywood’s Golden Age and also famously opted out of wearing a bra. However, Bette claimed that her reasoning for doing so was not to increase her sex appeal; but because she held the belief that wearing a bra caused women to develop breast cancer. Ironically, Bette would eventually die from the very same disease she feared bras would bring her. Though she lived a long and fulfilling life of 81 years beforehand.
One of the three titular stars of the hit 1970s television series Charlie’s Angels Farrah Faucet. It created by legendary television producer Aaron Spelling. Since her time on the series, Farrah has come forward with the unsurprising revelation that neither she nor her two titular costars wore bras during the filming of the series. Which the actress believes is part of why the show became so popular. Besides Farrah Fawcett, actresses Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson portrayed the other two Angels. And both actresses also appeared braless throughout the majority of their time on the series. The tradition of the Angels being braless the entire time didn’t carry over into the franchise’s more recent film reboots. Though one can imagine that this a more realistic creative decision given that being a superspy would likely be difficult without the proper undergarments.
Clara Bow is another icon from Hollywood’s Golden Age that turned in a memorable braless performance. She can seen without a bra in the 1932 feature Call Her Savage. Clara’s career trajectory was on a downward slope at the time. And she figured she’d take advantage of her dwindling star status to turn in a performance that shocked the public. In addition to the film’s risqué thematic material, Clara’s braless performance caused a bit of controversy in the days when there was no rating system for films.
Carrie Fisher rose to sex-symbol status thanks to 1977’s Star Wars, as well as it’s two 1980s sequels. While Carrie’s swimsuit-clad appearance in 1983’s Return of the Jedi may be what most fans first think of when they think of Princess Leia. The actress’s braless appearance in the first film is just as iconic in it’s own right. Carrie is seen wearing a white dress without a bra throughout much of the film. Though there’s gaffer tape use on her nipples to prevent chaffing. One may have assumed that Carrie opted out of wearing a bra in Star Wars; because she wanted to be sure that she was going to pop off the screen. But the decision actually came from George Lucas… and not for the reason you’d expect!
According to Carrie Fisher, writer, and director George Lucas told her on the set of 1977’s Star Wars that she’s not allowed to wear a bra because it not feasible for women to wear bras in space. The director claimed that wearing a bra in space would cause a woman’s breasts to become suffocated; due to their skin expanding from decreased atmospheric pressure. Carrie reluctantly complied with the director’s strange request, though many have since called George’s logic for the decision into question.
Despite George’s insistence that women would massively uncomfortable without bras in space. Carrie allowed to wear bras in the two sequels to 1977’s Star Wars. Both of those sequels directed by someone other than George Lucas. So perhaps the directors simply made the executive decision that Carrie’s comfort was more important than obeying the series creator’s established space laws. Although audiences were denied seeing Carrie braless in a white dress again after 1977’s Star Wars. Her aforementioned swimsuit-clad appearance in the film’s second sequel was just as appealing and didn’t require the actress to wear gaffer tape to prevent chaffing.
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Maureen McCormick is a television actress that rose to fame. Portraying the character of eldest daughter Marcia Brady on the hit 1969 series The Brady Bunch. While one might not traditionally think of Marcia Brady as being braless; There several episodes towards the latter half of The Brady Bunch’s production run that featured Maureen performing without a bra in an effort to spite the show’s producers.
As The Brady Bunch progressed into it’s later seasons, many of the child stars on the series began experiencing some feelings of restlessness with both their squeaky-clean public personas. The generally innocent nature of the show that had made them stars. Most of the child stars on the series acted out in one way or another. Whether by experimenting with substance abuse or by showing up on set without a bra. Maureen came up with the plan to show up on set without a bra after suggesting some more mature storylines to the show’s producer and turned down. The producers didn’t want to listen to her ideas, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Maureen talked fellow actress Eve Plumb into opting out of upper undergarments with her. Though the two actresses rumored to have often feuded with each other on the set of the show, they apparently got along well enough to organize this coup together. Sadly, they ended up being caught by a member of the show’s creative staff. After the two were caught having shown up on set without their bras; the producers would personally check that the two girls were wearing them from that moment forward. Still, the two managed to film several episodes before being caught.
After The Brady Bunch ended in 1974, Maureen McCormick continued resenting the childish image that the show had imposed upon her. However, both she and her fellow child stars have since come to terms with the show and have embraced it’s legacy. Maureen McCormick recently reunited with her fellow former on-screen siblings for A Very Brady Renovation. Which was a reality miniseries depicting the renovation of the original Brady house. Given that Maureen is a good deal older and wiser now at the age of 65 than she was in the 1970s; she didn’t attempt to sneak onto set without a bra during the recent miniseries’ filming.
Jennifer Aniston is an example of a more modern Hollywood starlet that has pretty much chosen to eschew wearing a bra throughout most of her career. While the actress claims that she can take or leave the undergarment and does wear one occasionally. A great number of her performances have featured the actress lacking one.
Jennifer’s tendency to leave her bra behind dates all the way back to the actress’s burgeoning days on the hit 1990s series Friends. Which premiered in 1994. The braless Jennifer Aniston quickly made an impression on audiences. Both thanks to her girl-next-door charm and her lack of a bra. The actress has kept up this habit throughout her career and has even spoken up about it a few times! Jennifer is an outspoken advocate of the “Free the Nipple” movement, which is exactly what it sounds like. Centered on the catchy slogan, “Free the Nipple” is a campaign that aims to decrease social stigma when it comes to women opting out of wearing a bra.
Though Jennifer’s insistence on only wearing a bra when she wants to has caught the ire of both fans and contemporaries, the actress is carrying on the torch of many Golden Age actresses of the past! Jennifer remains unfazed by the public’s judgment, saying that people should do as they please and not worry about their appearances.
Besides the aforementioned actresses, there are numerous other Hollywood stars that have opted out of wearing bras on camera at some point in their careers. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that George Lucas refused to let Carrie Fisher wear a bra on the set of 1977’s Star Wars because he claimed it was impossible for women to wear bras in space, or did you think that the decision had been made in an effort to increase her character’s sex appeal? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!