There are numerous female stars that rose to fame as sex symbols around the time of the 1970s, from Raquel Welch to Dorothy Stratten. For and better and for worse, most of these stars look quite a bit different today. That is, if they’re still around! Join Facts Verse as this 70s star was every man’s dream girl, try not to gasp when you see her now.
70s Star Man’s Dream #1 Pam Grier
Pam Grier is a Blaxploitation queen that rose to fame during the 1970s thanks to films like Coffy and Foxy Brown. Released respectively in 1973 and 1974, those films each feature Pam in the role of a titular heroine. These moves were major successes, and they made Pam a hit with audiences. In particular, black audiences resonated with seeing some strong female representation on the screen. By the time the 1990s rolled around, Pam’s career was in dire straits. Aside from a bit of a role in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, which releases in 1991, not much was coming the actress’s way as far as mainstream attention was concerned. That is until the release of 1997’s Jackie Brown.
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, of Pulp Fiction fame, Jackie Brown saw Pam play yet another titular heroine. Notably, the source material wasn’t named after Pam’s character. The title was changed by the director as a call back to Pam’s days as a Blaxploitation heroine. In the Elmore Leonard novel upon which the film was based, the character that Pam went on to play wasn’t even black. The film proved to audiences not only that Pam was still tough, but that she was still sexy nearly twenty years on from her heyday. Another two decades have passed since, and Pam is still kicking around. At the age of 73, she’s still not a woman that you’d want to cross! Much of her recent work has been on television, including on the hit This Is Us.
70s Star Man’s Dream #2 Goldie Hawn
There were few 70s starlet more beautiful than Goldie Hawn! Goldie first rose to prominence as a performer on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. However, it was her subsequent film career in the 1970s that really rocketed her to the attention of the global audience. One of her earliest notable film roles was a turn in the 1970 comedy There’s a Girl in My Soup. Goldie continued acting until the early 2000s before taking a hiatus in 2002. In the 1990s, she had some big hits, including 1992’s Death Becomes Her. In 2017, Goldie made a return to the big screen via the comedy Snatched. She is also notably the mother of Kate Hudson, another big star.
Raquel Welch was one of the looming sex symbols of the 1970s thanks to her appearance in One Million Years BC. Though the film releases in 1966, Raquel Welch is just as big of a deal in the ensuing decade. Some of her film roles during the 1970s include a turn in The Three Musketeers, which releases in 1973. The performance even saw the actress win a Golden Globe Award. Raquel is still acting today, with one of her recent appearances being in a 2017 television series by the name of Date My Dad.
Kirstie Alley is a sex symbol from the 1970s that has aged quite as gracefully as the figures that we’ve taken a look at prior. She first started showing up in films during the 1970s, and it didn’t take long for her looks to catch the attention of the audience. However, it was her appearance in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn that sealed the deal in terms of the actress’s celebrity status. She would go on to become a superstar thanks to her work on the show Cheers.
Kirstie Alley performed on Cheers for almost a decade in total, with the actress winning a Golden Globe Award for her time on the show in 1991. Since the show came to an end, Kirstie has continued to appear on both the big and the small screen. Most recently, she appeared in a 2020 made-for-television by the name of You Can’t Take My Daughter.
Kim Basinger got her start in the entertainment industry as a model, though her looks made it easy for her to transition into film. Her earliest work as an actress came by way of a television series called Gemini Man. Throughout the 1970s, Kim became a familiar face amongst television audiences as she continued to wrack up credits on various series. In the 1980s, Kim transitioned from television to the big screen, and she became an even bigger star thanks to her work in films like The Fabulous Baker Boys and Batman. Batman releases in 1989, and Kim was still getting female lead roles nearly a decade later in films like L.A. Confidential. Kim continues to work today, though she has slowed down a little bit. Her most recent notable work was in the Fifty Shades trilogy, and namely the second entry Fifty Shades Darker.
Mel Brooks’ 1974 parody Young Frankenstein was a film that was meant to make audience members laugh first and foremost, though many found themselves having other feelings entirely once Teri Garr came on the screen. The actress’s beautiful looks were used for comedic purposes in the classic film, though the actress would use the attention to secure herself the designation of one of the decades defining sex symbols as the years went on. In addition to being beautiful Teri also has some acting chops! In 1977, the starred in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Five years after that, she appeared in 1982’s Tootsie alongside a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman.
Sadly, Teri’s health has taken a turn for the worse since the turn of the millennium. In 2002, Teri announced to her fans that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Though Teri has handled the affliction well, it has still prevented her from being as big of a presence in the media as she otherwise could be. Teri is now 78 years old.
Debbie Harry was one of the most notable female vocalist in the world of 1970s rock and roll. Her work with the band Blondie continued being successful into the 1980s, during which decade Debbie also made a successful transition into acting via David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. Whether performing with her band or acting on the big screen, fans couldn’t get enough of Debbie’s energy and sex appeal during her heyday. Blondie continued having hits into the 1990s, and the band is still around to this day! Debbie is still trying her best, though years of hearty rock-and-rolling have left her both weathered physically and lacking in the vocal department. She’s also somewhat of a philanthropist.
Katharine Ross rose to prominence during the late 1960s thanks to hits like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance, though she continued appearing in hits across the 1970s. Some of her most notable work during the latter decade included turns in cult classics like The Stepford Wives. In the 1980s, Katharine decided to leave her acting career behind to marry Sam Elliott. The two are still married to this day!
Katharine Ross rose to prominence thanks to one late-1960s classic about a pair of real-life outlaws, and Faye Dunaway rose to prominence thanks to another! Instead of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the vehicle that made Faye a star was Bonnie and Clyde. Faye played the female titular character, and she won an Academy Award for her role. The actress has kept at it, with her recent work including a turn in a 2021 film named The American Connection.
Diane Keaton rose to prominence via some of the 1970’s most acclaimed films. In addition to appearing in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, she was also an actress of choice for filmmaker Woody Allen during the time period. Their many collaborations during the decade included the hit Annie Hall. Diane won an Academy Award for Best Actress thanks to her work in Annie Hall, and she has continued to find acclaim in the field to this day. Recently, she appeared in the 2022 comedy film Love, Weddings & Other Disasters.
Meryl Streep came to prominence in the 1970s, first as a stage actress and then on television before finally making her way to the big screen alongside Dustin Hoffman in 1979’s Kramer v Kramer. Memorably, Meryl has recalled feeling intimidated by Dustin given that she was a Hollywood newcomer and he was already a big star. There was even an episode wherein Dustin was accused of taking advantage of this power dynamic when he slapped Meryl for real during an intense scene. Meryl has since flipped the table on the man, as she’s more Hollywood royalty today than he ever was.
Finally, let’s take a look at a 1970s sex symbol that things didn’t turn out all that well for. Dorothy was a 70s star that every man dreamed of, but they would gasp if they could see her now because she’s dead! Dorothy first rose to prominence in 1978, and her stardom came thanks to the help of a handler/lover by the name of Paul Snider. Paul was a man looking to cash in on the actress’s good looks, and he did so when he got her a photo shoot with Playboy.
Appearances in films followed, including a modest cult classic by the name of Galaxina, which was released in 1980. The same year the film was released, Dorothy’s career was brought to a halt when she was tragically murdered. The man who murdered her was the very same man who had helped her become famous, angry he couldn’t control her.
All of the aforementioned starlets couldn’t help but turn heads in the 1970s, and many of them are still doing so today! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that 1970s sex symbols Dorothy Stratten was murdered by the very same man who made her famous, and that Meryl Streep got slapped on camera? Comment down below!