Of Gladiators and Super Heroes. Of Spies and Sweethearts. Who Was the #1 Heartthrob the Year You Were Born?
1960: Kirk Douglas
This iconic gladiator swooped in turning heads (shirtless, mind you!). 1960 women were into stage fighting, bold declarations, and actors that resemble Greek gods.
The 1960 historical film was based on the novel by Howard fast, and was inspired by the life story of the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity. And who can forget the legendary quote, “I am Spartacus!”
1961: Toshiro Mifune
Mifune is arguably the most famous Japanese actor of the 20th century. He appeared in four different films in 1961 including Yojimbo.
In the film, he played a character who was chased by two crime bosses who wanted him as their bodyguard. The film was ranked at #95 in Empire magazine’s list of the 500 greatest films of all time.
1962: Gregory Peck
Deep voice. Tall, dark stature. Crushes were completely inevitable. Peck’s character was Atticus Finch in the adaptation of to Kill a Mockingbird.
Peck stars as a lawyer in the Depression-era South. In the film he defends a black man against an underserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.
1963: Marcello Mastroianni
Besides his dashing-ness and being exotic and foreign, he had a habit of seducing younger women. His list of famous conquests includes Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve, Ursula Andress, and Lauren Hutton (just to name a few!)
In this year’s film 8 ½, Marcello plays a famous Italian film director who is suffering from “director’s shock.” The film won two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language and Best Costume Design.
1964: Sean Connery
The original (and arguably BEST) James Bond. Who wouldn’t want to deliver his martini? (Shaken, not stirred – of course!)
Connery was relatively unknown before he took the spotlight as James Bond in 1962. Although he was reluctant to commit to a film series, the Bond films in which he starred in catapulted him to stardom.
1965: Christopher Plummer
Plummer was the Captain von Trapp in 1965’s The Sound of Music. Moms swooned (even though he didn’t sing his own songs). He must have been cast for his good looks… Hollywood can fake the rest.
Plummer is known for his work in theatre, film, and television. Although Plummer starred in many films, he was best known for his role in “The Sound of Music.”
1966: Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood made cowboys cool. He made spies cool. He made angry old men cool. And he made women blush. Now he’s famous for racist and political rantings at inappropriate times.
In the film The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Eastwood plays the role of a taciturn, enigmatic loner. He searches for a cache of stolen gold against rivals.
1967: Sidney Poitier
Young or old, Sidney has been deemed handsome and talented since 1967. Still respected and admired for his lifetime of important roles, Sidney is credited with opening doors for African American actors ever since.
1967 was a huge year for him and the world reaped the benefits. He was the most successful draw at the box office.
1968: Paul Newman
Since the nickname Old Blue Eyes was taken, he couldn’t use it. However, one look from this stunner and hearts (and knees) are melting. From movies to salad dressing, this guy is everywhere.
Newman starred and directed in the film Harry & Son. He was named, “Man of the Year” by Harvard University’s performance group that year. Understatement!
1969: Dustin Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman, are you trying to seduce us? Sometimes he is, and sometimes he can do it without even trying.
Hoffman starred in the film Midnight Cowboy. The film was based on the 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy. Hoffman is also super famous for his roles in The Graduate, Tootsie, and the less attractive Rain Man.
1970: Ryan O’Neal
Every year there’s a film much like the “Notebook” that has women swooning and daydreaming. Ryan starred in Love Story this particular year.
His heartbreaking love life with Jenny taught us that love means never having to say you’re sorry.
1971: Richard Roundtree
Richard starred in the original Shaft in 1971. Unlike the remake, Richard’s introduction to the same character was incredibly impressive and it was only his second film. No disrespect to the great Samuel L.
Roundtree has been called “the first black action hero.” Although he was a leading man in early 1970s “Blaxploitation” films, he is most known for his role as Shaft.
1972: Al Pacino
It’s that Italian face. It can’t be resisted – even if it is shouting and shooting a gun. Gangster, mobster – it doesn’t matter. Ladies love the bad boys.
Pacino was brought into attention after playing Michael Corleone in the blockbuster Mafia film The Godfather. Pacino landed the role over several established actors including Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and Robert De Niro.
1973: Roger Moore
Different year, different Bond. We met Roger in 1973’s Live and Let Die.
James Bond’s quick quips, corny pickup lines, and invincible nature, paired with his dashing looks and irresistible charm never fail to lure the ladies and instill envy in men.
1974: Robert Redford
In 1974 Redford become the thing for blond hair and blue eyes. In 1973 he starred in the film Sting, and in 1974 The Way We Were.
Redford was nominated Best actor that year for his performance in The Sting. He went on to win an Academy Award for Best Director in 1981 for directing Ordinary People.
1975: Jack Nicholson
Unconventional attractiveness. Crazy roles. A little intense. Jack wasn’t the classic heartthrob of his time, but he certainly changed the standard and turned some heads.
His turn in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest film helped usher in the new era of heartthrobs. Tim Curry was runner up with Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course.
1976: Silvester Stallone
Although Rocky was made on a budget of just over $1 mil and shot in only 28 days, it was a hit. The film earned $225 million in global box office receipts, which made it the highest-grossing film of 1976.
What do you think? Did fans really love Stallone or did they just love Rocky? And did all the ladies wish they were named Adrian?
1977: John Travolta
From Grease to Saturday Night Fever, Travolta sang and gyrated his way into teenage hearts. Slick hair, stylish clothes, and dance moves to rock your world – Travolta was 1977’s total package.
Both films were among the most commercially successful of the decade and catapulted Travolta to international stardom. At the age of 24, he became one of the youngest performers ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.
1978: Christopher Reeve
Superman was (and still is) a big deal, even though there are no phone booths left. Christopher Reeve’s strong jaw and capable, kind manner really brought Superman to life.
He seemed so much like Superman in real life. His widely publicized, paralyzing injury and close knit family support became a heartbreaking story for the American public. 1978 was definitely his year to shine.
1979: Steve Martin
Steve starred in the film The Jerk, just in case you weren’t already laughing your butt off at his antics every Saturday night on SNL.
The Jerk was a huge success. It grossed over $100 million on a budget of approximately $4 million.
1980: Harrison Ford
Who wasn’t in love with Han Solo when Star Wars was released in 1980? Han Solo continues to accrue admirers even today. Swinging from the stars to cracking whips in Indiana Jones the next year – the 80’s came in like a lion for good ol’ Harrison Ford.
After starring in Star Wars, Harrison was established as a superstar. The film became one of the most successful movies of all time.
1981: Kurt Russell
In the same way Hugh Jackman can make women swoon by singing on Broadway then slashing bad guys as Wolverine, Kurt Russell became an action star in Escape from New York, then showed his softer side by voicing in Disney’s Fox and the Hound. Awww…
Escape from New York grossed $25.2 million in American theatres. Russell fueled the role as Snake Plissken to make him one of the eighties coolest grumpy bastards.
1982: Ricardo Montalban
KHAAAAAAAAAAN! A distinguished, older gentleman enters the scene among the young bucks of his time…
Montalban played Mr. Roarke in the hit television series, Fantasy Island. He also starred as Khan Noonien Singh in the original Star Trek Series.
1983: Matt Dillon
The Outsiders was just the first of many opportunities to gaze upon the goodness that is Matt Dillon. He had quite the crop of costars to compete with for female attention, yet he held his own.
Matt made his debut in film when he starred in Over the Edge. He established himself as a heartthrob after starring in films including My Bodyguard, and Tex.
“I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It’s such a shame our friendship had to end”
Purple Rain was Prince’s sixth studio album. To date the record has sold 22 million copies worldwide and is the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.
1985: Emilio Estevez & Judd Nelson
The Rebel? Or the Jock? The people pleaser in the letterman’s jacket? Or the flannel wearing, cigarette smoking smart ass?
In 1985 the country was divided! Are you for Nelson or Estevez? Just make sure to keep in mind everything about you that will be decided by this choice. You can think it over in Saturday morning detention.
1986: Tom Cruise
Taking the highway to Tom Cruise is the Danger Zone. (Just ask Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes for starters…) Women were crazy for a Maverick in a uniform. And those Aviators…
Top Gun quickly became a success and was the highest grossing film in 1986. Since its release the film was ranked at #455 in Empire’s list of 500 greatest films of all time.
1987: Patrick Swayze
Swayze used the film Dirty Dancing as an establishment for being the ultimate romantic leading man. Sweat, strong arms, hip-swiveling dance moves – and he sticks up for his favorite ladies! Remember how he took care of Penny and wouldn’t let anyone put Baby in the corner?
Funny, Swayze wasn’t even the first choice to play Johnny because he was about 100 years older than the character was supposed to be. Three years later, he did a little-known film called Ghost.
1988: Bruce Willis
Terrorists everywhere should be scared. Very scared. Women, on the other hand, feel very very safe. Die Hard made Bruce into a knight in shining armor action hero of the late 80’s.
Alan Rickman was the only distraction. (Best. Villain. Ever.) Am I right?
1989: Ethan Hawke
It all started with Dead Poet’s Society. It may have portrayed him as a shy poet – even though he later took on a slacker-type in Reality Bites.
That goateed, flannelled look with the grunge vibe will live on in many other roles. (and in the hearts of many who were teens in the 90’s)
1990: Richard Gere
Who else could make women fantasize about being a hooker in the 90’s? None other than the legendary Richard Gere.
Pretty Woman made it look like a really good idea to pick up a prostitute. It made it seem like a fantastic way to meet someone and fall in love and make all of your dreams come true. It also made Richard Gere a total heartthrob.
1991: Keanu Reeves
Keanu’s surfer-dude vibe was perfect for his role in Point Break. Swayze was already making chicks hot. Enter Keanu Reeves and the beach and you have a smash hit.
In the film, Reeves stars as a rookie FBI agent who is investigating a string of bank robberies possibly being committed by surfers. He goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community.
1992: Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner was everywhere at this time. The Bodyguard, JFK, Robin Hood… The eternal “good guy” crossing the lines of action, romance, and drama.
Kevin Costner, we have one thing to say to you: “I Will Always Love Yoooooou”. Anyone in 1992 would have been happy to be carried off stage by him.
1993: Johnny Depp
We blame this one on the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, in which Johnny plays a 24-year-old grocery store clerk with a morbidly obese mom and a mentally impaired younger brother. (Not Leo’s most attractive moments) He really tears at the heartstrings in this one.
The film was very well received. It was nominated for the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics. What else helps his case? 21 Jump Street, Nightmare on Elm Street, Crybaby… the list, by 2016, is overwhelming
1994: Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt ages better than Benjamin Button. Enter boy toy hottie in Thelma & Louise and watch him morph into the long-haired wildman, Tristan, in Legends of the Fall and, before there was Edward, there was Pitt in Interview with a Vampire.
His not-so-hotness in 12 Monkeys is long forgotten once you toss in Se7en and Ocean’s Eleven. Then there’s the Jen/Angie drama that just won’t die. Should we keep going?
1995: Antonio Banderas
Desperado entered our lives in 1995 with action, romance and a well-meaning good guy. SWOON. Every woman wanted to be Melanie Griffith.
The hair. The accent. His timeless charm. Calm down ladies.
1996: Denzel Washington
Every year seems to be Denzel’s year. It isn’t fair to other men to be so handsome – and talented! Courage Under Fire was a big one in 1996, accompanied by The Preacher’s Wife.
In Courage Under Fire Denzel played a U.S Army officer who investigates a female chopper commander’s worthiness for the Medal of Honor. Denzel has gone on to receive three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor.
1997: Leonardo Di Caprio
Leo was certainly the King of the World in 1997. Di Caprio earned international fame after starring on a tiny film called Titanic.
Titanic was the highest grossing film to that point. The film transformed Leo into a movie superstar.
1998: Will Smith
Men in Black and Wild Wild West took the Fresh Prince up to a whole new level.
Will also starred in the America spy-thriller Enemy of the State.
This was the year that Smith proved he wasn’t just a funny teenager whose parents just didn’t understand. And of course, became a true heartthrob.
1999: Omar Epps
Omar’s abs were everywhere in 1999. His smile was in every magazine. His talent was in every movie.
Here’s what shot Epps to stardom: The Wood, In Too Deep, Mod Squad. (Well, those are the movies we went to see.)
2000: Paul Walker
Before there was The Fast and the Furious, there was The Skulls. This teen idol had many roles in the 2000’s, but his reign really took off with The Fast and the Furious.
Fans are still grieving his loss. And Vin Diesel’s social media tributes really tug at our heart strings. The Fast franchise will never be the same…
2001: George Clooney
From Ocean’s 11 to… Spy Kids? Clooney was kind of all over the place that year. His 90’s reign as the hottest ER doctor ever may be over, but he’s still wrangling in the mom crowd.
Back then, it was a big deal that every Red Carpet appearance was with a different leggy bombshell. It was widely known that no woman could ever tame him. These days, he’s happily married and hearts all over the world are broken.
2002: Orlando Bloom
From Hobbit to Pirate – Bloom was grabbing attention in every fantasy genre. Even with pointy ears, he was good looking.
His Lord of the Rings role of course landed him a lead part on Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003. Pair that with media pics of him surfing and an Oprah appearance where he shares his love of dogs. You. Can’t. Resist.
2003: Ashton Kutcher
Kutcher, though super smart and tech-savvy, will always be remembered as the dumb teen Kelso on That 70’s Show. This was not only big for his career, but also where he met his now wife, Mila Kunis.
His movie list doesn’t really change our impression of him. Dude, Where’s My Car just enhanced his persona. Throw in Punk’d and there you have it.
2004: Jude Law
Anyone in the mood for a little Alfie? Six movies in 2004. It was a British overload, but apparently fans couldn’t get enough.
Jude received an Academy award, Golden Globe award and British Academy Film Award nominations all in 2004.
2005: Ryan Gosling
Women, relationships, and the dating world was never the same again once 2005 hit and The Notebook was released. Ryan Gosling raised the bar for men everywhere – and no one is worthy.
Gosling began his career as a child star on the Disney Channel. Most people had no clue who he was until he starred in The Notebook. No one really cares about anything that happened before or after The Notebook.
2006: Channing Tatum
Tatum’s dance moves in Step Up should have prepared us for what would come next: MAGIC MIKE. There’s no way we saw that coming. No. Way.
She’s the Man and Step Up were just our intro to the man that is Channing Tatum. No one even cares what other movies he’s in.
2007: Patrick Dempsey
Dempsey was HUGE in the 80’s. Every girl who loved him then was absolutely delighted when he showed his face (and curly locks) on the crazy popular Grey’s Anatomy. Dempsey was reborn in 2007 as McDreamy. (sigh)
As if he wasn’t dreamy enough, he played a modern day “prince” of a guy in Disney’s Enchanted. This was a big year for women in their 30’s and 40’s.
2008: Robert Pattinson
Pattinson made vampires cool again, and started the war that was Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Then there was Kristen Stewart – caught in the middle.
This obsession would last for several years as each new part of the dramatic saga was released. The love for Edward would unite several generations of sappy romantics and end friendships over the fierce defense of vampires and wolves.
2009: Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is the only man alive who could dazzle you in tap shoes and a tux, then tear a villain to shreds in a tank top and claws on his hands. Muscles and musicality. Jackman appeals to all.
We can’t NOT include Hugh in this obsession list. The letters and online complaints would be too much to handle.
2010: James Franco
We’ll give this one to Franco since he didn’t win the Oscar for pretending to cut of his arm in 127 Hours.
Franco says making 127 Hours was a once in a lifetime experience. His performance in the film earned him universal acclaim from critics. Ok, James. You can go back to doing stoner films now…
2011: Chris Hemsworth & Chris Evans
Thor vs Captain America? They really are on the same team, except when it comes to who is everyone more obsessed with.
Both Chrisses are carrying their super hero personas still today. It’s still too close to call…
2012: Michael Fassbender
This ginger heartthrob burst onto the scene in 2011 with X-Men: First Class, then completely did a 180 for Jane Eyre (and others). By 2012, we wanted more.
Fassbender was happy to oblige with Prometheus in 2012. That did it. That pushed us all over the edge. The obsession was born.
2013: Benedict Cumberbatch
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out Cumberbatch’s appeal. Move over Jude – there’s a new Brit in town! He was on a role by 2013 and you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his face or hearing his name.
Benedict appeared in J.J Abrams’ sequel Star Trek into Darkness in 2013. He played Khan, the film’s antagonist.
2014: Chris Pratt
In 2014, Pratt was the keeper of dinosaurs and the guardian of our galaxies. Be still our hearts! Anna Farris is One. Lucky. Lady.
Although most people knew him as the portly goofball character in Parks & Rec, all that changed when he landed the role in Lego Movie. Pratt was ranked No. 2 on People magazine’s annual list of Sexiest Men Alive that year.
2015: Idris Elba
Idris starred in Luther and Star Trek Beyond. Move over Denzel. Step off, Will Smith. There’s a new dashing, leading man in town.
Elba also appeared as Heimdall in the superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron. He earned a Golden Globe award nomination and a BAFTA nomination. Honestly, we just wanted to see what he was wearing on the red carpet…