The world's first female sex symbol was arguably Eve, whatever she truly looked like. Biblical references aside, however, the term wasn't even first used until around 1911, and didn't become widesread until the 1950s after World War II when women experienced increasing freedom. Still, people of all eras, whether or not they used the term, anointed certain women as the epitome of appeal based on their beauty, wiles, or some other intangible quality.
Throughout history the standards for siren status have shifted and changed, just as they do for beauty and glamour. One thing hasn't changed, however: movie stars dominate in the female beauty standard stratosphere.
Most of women on this list of historical knockouts are from Hollywood, but it also includes a few rulers (such as Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn), and even a cartoon character (Betty Boop). Admittedly, it doesn't include "regular" people deemed as hot, but we know you're out there.
Some magazines like to anoint the "hottest" men and women alive every year, but these annual lists ignore the beauties of yesteryear, who might or might not still qualify for the honor. What do you think? Vote up the women - and men - you think still set the standard for beauty today.
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America
More Pam GrierThe Best Pam Grier Movies
Age: Dec. at 53 (1929-1982)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
More Grace KellyGrace Kelly Married Into Royalty, But Her Family Couldn't Keep Their Act Together The Man Behind The Throne: How A Billionaire Oil Tycoon Forced Grace Kelly Into A Royal Marriage
Age: Dec. at 43 (1938-1981)
Birthplace: California, United States of America
More Natalie WoodThe Best Natalie Wood Movies