Throughout history, men deemed sex symbols are representatives of the cultures they thrived in. Before photography and film, men were esteemed for their reputations in politics, music, literature, and the poetics. As the movie industry rose in the early 20th century, Hollywood celebrities became the nations emblems of sex appeal.
British poet Lord George Gordon Byron passed before the magic of the silver screen took shape, but his image as a figure of desire still holds up. However, Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova might not provoke the same response today as he did in the mid-1700s.
Once Hollywood began romanticizing men in the industry, the global conception of beauty was indelibly influenced by movie stars. And although the 1960s and '70s don't qualify as historical in comparison to the early 18th century, the actors who ruled the city of desire during those years strongly affected modern society's idea of who ranks as a sex symbol.
Historic male sex symbols may represent the culture they were empowered by, but some still hold up against the hottest male celebrities of current times.
James Byron Dean was an American actor. He is a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant. Dean's enduring fame and popularity rest on his performances in only these three films, two in which he is the leading actor. ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Dec. at 24 (1931-1955)
Birthplace: Marion, Indiana, United States of America
Gary Cooper was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances. His career spanned thirty-six years, from 1925 to 1961, and included leading roles in eighty-four feature films. He was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era through the end of the golden age of Classical Hollywood. His screen persona appealed strongly to both men and women, and his range of performances included roles in most major movie genres. Cooper's ability to project his own personality onto the characters he played contributed to his appearing natural and authentic on screen. The screen persona he sustained throughout his career represented ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Dec. at 60 (1901-1961)
Birthplace: Helena, Montana, United States of America
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American actor and film director. He is hailed for bringing a gripping realism to film acting, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time. A cultural icon, Brando is most famous for his Academy Award-winning performances as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront and Vito Corleone in The Godfather, as well as influential performances in A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar, The Wild One, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Last Tango in Paris and Apocalypse Now. Brando was also an activist, supporting many causes, notably the African-American Civil Rights Movement and various American Indian Movements. He initially ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Dec. at 80 (1924-2004)
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America
Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "the King". Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and when he was 13 years old, he and his family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who ...more on Wikipedia
Age: Dec. at 42 (1935-1977)
Birthplace: Tupelo, Mississippi, United States of America