VOTE Historical Male Sex Symbols, Ranked By The Likelihood They Would Be Sex Symbols Now  

Bailey Brown
1.1k votes 97 voters 26 items

List Rules Vote up the sex symbols from history that would still have that status in the present day.

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. 

1 67 VOTES

James Dean is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Historical Male Sex Symbols, Ranked By The Likelihood They Would Be Sex Symbols Now
Photo: Wicker Paradise/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

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

Also Ranked

#89 on The Best Actors in Film History

#7 on The Coolest Actors Ever

#57 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#56 on Celebrities with the Weirdest Middle Names

61 6
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2 65 VOTES

Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Historical Male Sex Symbols, Ranked By The Likelihood They Would Be Sex Symbols Now
Photo:  John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

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

Also Ranked

#7 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#3 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#3 on The Best Singers of All Time

#65 on The Coolest Actors Ever

47 18
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3 62 VOTES

Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Historical Male Sex Symbols, Ranked By The Likelihood They Would Be Sex Symbols Now
Photo:  John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

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: USA, Helena, Montana

Also Ranked

#93 on The Best Actors in Film History

#20 on The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role

#3 on The Greatest Western Movie Stars

#79 on Which Actor Would You Bring Back for One Final Movie?

45 17
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4 54 VOTES

Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Historical Male Sex Symbols, Ranked By The Likelihood They Would Be Sex Symbols Now
Photo: RKO publicity photographer/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Cary Grant was an English stage and Hollywood film actor who became an American citizen in 1942. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and "dashing good looks", Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men. Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. He was known for comedic and dramatic roles; his best-known films include Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, Arsenic and Old Lace, Notorious, An Affair to Remember, North by Northwest, and Charade. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. In 1970, he was ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

Birthplace: United Kingdom

Also Ranked

#24 on The Greatest British Actors of All Time

#28 on The Best Actors in Film History

#19 on The Coolest Actors Ever

#15 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

35 19
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