Historical Figures That Were Shockingly Attractive

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By: Mia Williams | Published: May 31, 2023

From leading revolutions to scientific discoveries, history is full of important figures who made a difference in the world. But do you know how beautiful they were to look at? 

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Take a journey back in time and rediscover Amelia Earhart, Buster Keaton, Marie Antoinette, and more in their youthful glory!

Did You Know? Ernest Hemingway Was a Heartthrob! 

It’s clear from the thousands of Facebook users who created a group called “was ernest hemingway hot?” that the renowned author, Ernest Hemingway, was quite a looker in his youth! Born in 1899, Hemingway went on to become one of America’s most celebrated writers and journalists. 

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His works, like The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea, remain timeless classics. Before becoming a writer, Hemingway served in World War I as an American Red Cross ambulance driver. This photo shows a 19-year-old Hemingway in his uniform, proving that he was a heartthrob!

The Young Genius: Thomas Edison and His Revolutionary Phonograph

At the youthful age of 31, Thomas Edison had already earned a place among history’s greatest inventors. Born into unfortunate circumstances that left him deaf in adulthood, Edison persevered and developed inventions such as motion pictures, electricity, and sound recording. 

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His inventions were so vast that he held over a thousand patents. The photo in this article shows Edison with his newest invention, the phonograph. This revolutionary device combined the features of a telegraph and a telephone, allowing messages to be transcribed through indentations on paper tape. Edison’s brilliant mind changed the world forever.

The Enchanting Eva Perón: An Iconic Argentinian Beauty 

María Eva Duarte de Perón, better known as Eva Perón and Evita, was a captivating icon of Argentine history. Born in 1919 as the fifth child of a rural family, she quickly rose to fame as a captivating actress in her early 20s. 

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Her marriage to Colonel Juan Domingo Perón saw her become the First Lady of Argentina, her bright blonde hair and outspoken personality charmed all who met her. Evita’s elegance was only matched by her signature outfits, making her a truly captivating beauty.

From Rags to Riches: Charlie Chaplin's Incredible Journey 

Charlie Chaplin brought laughter and joy to millions of people around the world as his iconic character The Tramp, with his signature bowler hat, thick mustache, cane, and heavy eye makeup. 

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Chaplin was considered quite handsome for his time. His life story is an inspiring one – from an unpredictable childhood with an absent father to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the star of films such as Modern Times, The Great Dictator, and Easy Street. Chaplin’s journey is a remarkable example of rags to riches.

Exploring the Last Remaining Artifact of Ancient Egypt's Most Powerful Ruling Monarch

The 20-inch tall bust of Queen Nefertiti is one of the few remaining artifacts from her lifetime, representing her high cheekbones and other bold features. The powerful images painted of her on temple and tomb walls depict her riding chariots and defeating her enemies.

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Nefertiti ruled the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (1334-1353 BC) and was renowned as the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. From the Louvre Museum to the Brooklyn Museum, many masterpieces with Nefertiti as the subject can be found worldwide.

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The Trailblazing Charlotte Brontë – A Strong and Ambitious Woman 

Charlotte Brontë was an incredible woman best known for writing classics such as Jane Eyre and The Professor. She was the eldest of three sisters and during her younger years, acted as a motherly figure to her sisters. 

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The Brontë Society states that she had a strong personality, a slight build, and was less than five feet tall. Despite her shyness in company, she was determined, ambitious, and held high moral principles, always prepared to argue her beliefs. Charlotte Brontë was a trailblazer, inspiring generations to come.

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A Forgotten Hollywood Icon: Sessue Hayakawa 

Sessue Hayakawa was the first actor from Asia to become Hollywood’s leading man during the silent movie era. He captivated female audiences with his “brooding, masculine, and handsome” features, notably in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 hit The Cheat, in which he played the villain who tricked a woman after she loses her money. 

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Hayakawa made a career out of playing similar movie villains until 1930, yet today he is somehow ignored when it comes to film history and early 20th-century actors.

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Unstoppable Inventor: Nikola Tesla 

Nikola Tesla was an unstoppable inventor. Born in Croatia in 1856, he was one of five children. His mother’s passion for inventing household appliances inspired him to pursue his dreams of creating something new. 

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At 28, he moved to America to work with Thomas Edison but ultimately chose his way. His inventions, including X-ray technology, the basis of air conditioning, and the Tesla coil, revolutionized the world. The Tesla coil was essential for radio technology. Nikola Tesla indeed was one of the world’s greatest thinkers.

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Captivating Smiles and Bold Dreams: The Story of Amelia Earhart 

Amelia Earhart, or “Lady Lindy,” was a woman of extraordinary courage, having become the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. At 40 years old, she set out on her most daring flight yet – to circumnavigate the earth around the equator. 

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With her twinkling eyes and sincere smile, even while wearing her heavy flying gear, Earhart purchased a Lockheed Electra L-10E and hired a crew of three men. Sadly, her plane was lost over the Pacific Ocean, but her legacy lives on.

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The Alluring Power of Cleopatra: A Tale of Seduction and Beauty 

From her romantic escapades to her beauty described as “surpassing beauty” Cleopatra remains one of history’s most captivating figures. National Geographic reports she was renowned for her looks, ability to seduce any man she wanted, and flair for the dramatic. 

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On her first meeting with Mark Antony, she arrived on a boat with silver oars and was dressed as Aphrodite, accompanied by people dressed as sea nymphs. Her servants even sprayed perfume on the crowds! Cleopatra’s fame has endured for thousands of years, validating her alluring power.

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The Rise and Fall of Marie Antoinette - The Last Queen of France 

Marie Antoinette is often remembered as the last queen of France, a woman whose actions may have led to the French Revolution. In actuality, there is no evidence to suggest she ever said the famous phrase, “Let them eat cake.” 

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Born in Vienna, Austria, Marie was the fifteenth out of sixteen children. Her childhood was described as “carefree and easy.” At the age of fourteen and eleven, respectively, Marie and King Louis XVI were pledged to marry. Described as being “delicately beautiful,” with gray-blue eyes and ash-blonde hair, Marie Antoinette was a powerful and beautiful woman of her time.

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The Phenomenal Harry Houdini: The King of Magic and Escape Artist 

Harry Houdini, the legendary Hungarian-born magician and escape artist, was a sensation like no other. Described as “happy-looking, pleasant-faced, and good-natured at all times” in the 1997 biography, Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss. Houdini was born in 1874 as one of seven children and immigrated to America with his family as a young boy. 

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His captivating performances, which got more advanced as the years went on, enthralled audiences around the world. His most iconic feat was escaping upside down from a locked glass container filled with water – a feat that has been remembered to this day.

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The Great Stone Face: Buster Keaton's Unwavering Legacy

Buster Keaton, the famous silent film actor, was nicknamed “The Great Stone Face” due to his stoic, deadpan expression. He sported his signature pork pie hat throughout his life, with estimates of owning over one thousand hats. 

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Keaton’s parents were vaudeville performers, so he had been in show business since the age of three. His career in filmmaking began in his early twenties, with movies such as The Butcher Boy and The General. His legacy lives on as a testament to the unwavering power of art.

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The Colorful Life of the Iconic Pablo Picasso 

Pablo Picasso revolutionized the art world in the 20th century with his unique style, form, color, and more. The icon is credited for starting the Cubism art movement and re-invented himself in his various period pieces. 

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His childhood was marked by a nervous demeanor, yet his piercing dark gaze captivated all who crossed his path. Also noted for being a “lifelong womanizer,” this colorized photo of the 23-year-old Picasso in 1904 visiting Paris, France, gives us a glimpse into the colorful life of the legendary artist.

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Uncovering the Vibrant Side of Queen Victoria 

Queen Victoria is often remembered in her later years when she was mourning the passing of her husband, Prince Albert. Contrary to popular belief, her early adulthood was quite different. 

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She was a vibrant and beautiful young woman with an arresting personality and lots of energy for music, dancing, and staying up late. Born fifth in the line of succession, Victoria became Queen at the age of 18 and went on to become one of the most iconic figures in British history.

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From Orphanage to Icon: The Inspiring Story of Coco Chanel 

From a poor orphanage upbringing in Saumur, France, to become a global style icon, Coco Chanel’s story is truly inspiring. Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, she was sent to an orphanage after her mother’s death. 

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She learned to sew at the orphanage and spent her early adult years performing in clubs around France. Later, she famously launched her fashion and beauty brand, introducing us to the little black dress, the Chanel bag, Chanel suit, and Chanel No. 5 perfume. Coco Chanel’s story is one of courage, strength, and resilience.

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Oscar Wilde: From Literary Greatness to a Life of Despair 

Oscar Wilde was a literary genius, renowned for his works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest. However, his personal life was far from ordinary. 

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He had an exuberant personality and a flair for fashion and style and was often seen adorning luxurious fabrics such as velvet and fur. Despite his initial success, Wilde suffered a great deal during the latter part of his life, dealing with court cases and prison time.

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The Captivating Catherine Parr: The Most Married Queen of England 

Catherine Parr, the last and most married Queen of England, was the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. Boasting four different husbands, paintings of her depict her beauty and natural grace. 

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During her time with the King, Catherine gave him a real family life and devoted her time to ensuring his children were well-educated. Unfortunately, her fourth and final marriage was cut short due to her untimely death from childbirth complications at 36. Catherine Parr’s life was remarkable, her grace and beauty captivating, and her legacy lives on.

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Remembering the Iconic Pocahontas 

Pocahontas was a legendary figure, born in the late 14th century and the daughter of Powhatan, a leader of several Algonquian-speaking tribes in early America. Captain Ralph Hamor, a colonist, used her father’s words to describe her as his “delight and darling.”

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While her exact appearance is unknown, there are several portraits of her, the most famous being Simon van de Passe’s engraving from 1616. She will forever be remembered for her role in aiding the Jamestown settlers and her connection with Captain John Smith.

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Alexander Hamilton: A Founding Father With Charisma and Charm 

Alexander Hamilton wasn’t the tallest of the Founding Fathers, but his good looks and charisma often got him noticed and in quite a bit of trouble. 

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Described by Henry Cabot Lodge as possessing a great charm of manners, address, and conversation, Hamilton was a man of many talents, including authoring 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers and setting precedence for the U.S. Treasury. His life and legacy were brought to life in the Broadway smash hit Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, proving that even centuries later, his presence is still known.

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The Timeless Beauty of Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt 

Regal, beautiful, and serene, Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt was the daughter of King Fuad I and the queen of Iran after marrying Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran. 

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Her beauty was often compared to some of the greats of Hollywood, such as Vivien Leigh from Gone With the Wind and Hedy Lamarr from Samson and Delilah. Her elegance and grace transcend generations, making her a timeless beauty to be remembered for the ages.

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Beauty and Brilliance: The Story of Wilma Rudolph 

The beauty and brilliance of Wilma Rudolph are undeniable. The world-record-holding Olympic champion for track and field with four medals is a shining example of an accomplished and powerful woman. 

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She inspired many, giving women the confidence to compete in sports in the United States. Her story is one of strength and courage and a reminder of the power of believing in yourself. Wilma Rudolph is a true icon and an example of what we can achieve when we strive for excellence.

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The Iconic Outlaw: Jesse James 

From his film-star good looks to his notorious outlaw status, Jesse James remains one of the most iconic figures from the days of the Wild West. 

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He may have been romanticized for robbing the rich to give to the needy, but that doesn’t take away from his notoriety. Jesse James is famous for his daring stagecoach and bank robberies. Even today, his legacy lives on as a symbol of the Wild West.

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The Revolutionary: Emmeline Pankhurst 

Emmeline Pankhurst is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. As a leader of the U.K. suffragette movement, she fought to ensure women were granted the right to vote. 

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Her efforts were so powerful that Time Magazine described her as having “shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back.” Pankhurst’s legacy continues to inspire generations, making her an iconic figure in the fight for gender equality.

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The Distinguished Abraham Lincoln 

Abraham Lincoln was an iconic figure in American history, widely recognized for his iconic top hat. The 16th President of the United States, Lincoln, had a significant hand in modernizing the economy and leading the country through the Civil War. 

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Despite his efforts, his laws and movements were met with resistance, leading to his assassination in 1865. Despite his tragic end, he will always be remembered for his great contributions to the United States.

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Unbelievable Journey of Winston Churchill 

Winston Churchill is not only remembered for his political contributions, but also for being a Nobel Prize-winning writer and historian, as well as an incredible artist. 

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Growing up to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War and again from 1991 to 1955, Churchill is a testament to the power of hard work and determination. His incredible journey from a young man to a Nobel Prize winner will live on in history.

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The Extraordinary Life of Frederick Douglass 

The life of Frederick Douglass is a testament to the power of the human spirit. As a writer, abolitionist, social reformer, and statesman, Douglass made a tremendous impact through his works such as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and My Bondage and My Freedom. 

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After escaping slavery and making his way to New York and Massachusetts, he gained recognition as an incredible orator and a passionate anti-slavery advocate. Through his life and work, Douglass showed us the remarkable potential of the human mind and spirit.

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General George Patton: From Olympic Athlete to Legendary WWII Commander

General George Patton was an exceptional leader and athlete. He is best known for commanding the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II and becoming a well-recognized figure of the war. 

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But before that, Patton competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Despite not receiving a medal, he attained fifth place overall. Patton truly exemplified that with hard work and dedication, we can reach great heights!

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Coretta Scott King: Activist, Author, and Civil Rights Leader 

Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., was an influential activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. After the loss of her husband, King bravely stepped up and took a major role in the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement. 

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With a passion for equality and justice, she forged relationships with some of the most influential politicians of her time, including John F. Kennedy. King’s legacy as an activist, author, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement continues.

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A Pulitzer Prize Winner: Celebrating the Life and Work of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, novelist, and icon of literature. Plath wrote some of the most iconic works of all time, such as the anthology Ariel, the novel The Bell Jar, and The Collected Poems. 

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Her life’s work was rewarded posthumously with the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1981, making Plath the fourth person to receive the honor after their passing. Let’s take a moment to remember the artistry of Sylvia Plath and the impact she still has on the literary world today.

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A Legacy of Conservation: Theodore Roosevelt, America's 26th President

Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, was a leader of the progressive movement and a champion of conservation. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest presidents to ever serve America. 

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His efforts to protect the environment and preserve the nation’s natural resources are truly remarkable. He established national parks, employed forestry practices, and ensured that future generations could enjoy the country’s beauty. His legacy of conservation will live on for years to come.

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The Handsome Poet Who Inspires Us: Rupert Brooke 

English poet Rupert Brooke was a man of many talents. He is remembered for his idealistic war sonnets penned during World War I, most famously The Soldier, a poem written in the voice of a young soldier going to war. 

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His good looks were also admired by many, with poet W. B. Yeats even describing him as “the most handsome young man in England.” Even today, Rupert Brooke remains inspirational to many, his works still evoking a sense of admiration and awe.

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A Smile for the Future: Young Indira Gandhi in 1953 

This picture of a beaming young Indira Gandhi captures a moment of joy for the future Prime Minister of India. At just 30-something, she had no idea of the impact she was to have in the years to come. 

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As the daughter of the third Prime Minister of India, it was almost in her DNA to become the only female to hold the title. She was a truly remarkable leader. This photograph of Indira Gandhi shows the sparkle in her eye and the gaze of a leader in the making.

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Honouring Tenzing Norgay: The Mountaineer Who Conquered Everest 

Tenzing Norgay is an inspirational figure who achieved something remarkable – he became one of the first two people to stand atop the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. 

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On May 29, 1953, Norgay and Edmund Hillary reached the summit of the iconic mountain, an incredible feat now celebrated through the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. Given to India’s highest adventure enthusiast, the award is a fitting tribute to Norgay’s bravery and perseverance.

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The Fascinating Life of Lillie Langtry: The 'Jersey Lily' 

The captivating life of Lillie Langtry, otherwise known as the ‘Jersey Lily’, was filled with fame, beauty, and success. Her remarkable looks and innate talent for the art of acting captivated audiences around the world. 

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From her performances in the stage plays The Lady of Lyons, As You Like It, and She Stoops to Conquer, Lillie’s presence on stage enthralled spectators everywhere. Not only did she excel on stage, but Lillie also lived a glamorous life off-screen, with her beauty being a constant topic of discussion. She was a true icon of her time, and her influence continues to be felt in the theatre world today.

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