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The Biggest Heartthrob the Year You Were Born

1970 Ryan O’Neal

1970 Ryan O’Neal

Ryan O’Neal, first a boxer before joining the Hollywood scene, was infamous for his rakish characters and lead role in Love Story (1970). Just take a look at his headshots and you’ll understand the appeal!

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1971 Richard Roundtree

 1971 Richard Roundtree

For the 1971 film Shaft, Richard Roundtree helped revolutionize the film industry when he was cast as private detective John Shaft, making him among the first black action movie protagonists. Rountree dominated the role with his commanding gaze and bold facial hair to match. It's borderline hypnotic!

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1972 Al Pacino

1972 Al Pacino

With a film career spanning five decades, Al Pacino is an OG heartthrob with overwhelming passion for the industry. As Michael Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather, Pacino received his first Oscar nomination as well as critical acclaim as one of the best acting jobs in cinema history. Not to mention his status as one of Hollywood’s hottest actors.

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1973 Robert Redford

1973 Robert Redford

The top hit of classic dreamboat Robert Redford was The Sting  (1973) when he worked with Paul Newman, and the next year playing opposite of Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were. Since the ‘70s, Redford has garnered well-deserved honors, such as the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

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1974 Barbra Streisand

1974 Barbra Streisand

That’s right, Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand were equally hot stuff in the ‘70s. Streisand, with a voice blessed by the gods, breached the scene with her titular first album in 1963, quickly winning her Album of the Year. After wide acclaim for her role in the ‘68 movie-musical Funny Girl, she was duly prepared for worldwide stardom with the film and chart-topping album The Way We Were (1973-4).

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1975 Carrie Fisher

1975 Carrie Fisher

Perhaps to some surprise, Carrie Fisher debuted not as Princess Leia, but as the sensual Lorna Karpf in the 1975 comedy Shampoo when she was only seventeen. Once Star Wars: A New Hope released two years later, her appeal reach unparalleled heights alongside Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

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1976 Farrah Fawcett

1976 Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett’s brief one-season stint in the Charlie’s Angels (1976) TV show was enough to launch her to worldwide fame. Iconic for her killer smile and big hair, Mattel would even take inspiration from her natural beauty for their Barbie designs.

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1977 John Travolta

1977 John Travolta

John Travolta, with his groovy moves and impressive falsetto, dominated the late ‘70s. No one blames Olivia Newton John’s character for giving him a second (and third) chance in Grease  (1978). Plus, none of us will forget his iconic costuming in Saturday Night Fever  (1977).

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1978 Christopher Reeve

1978 Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve was Henry Cavill before Henry Cavill was a thing. Basically all that means is he’s the Superman fans fell in love with first and deserves the same level of respect. They definitely loved him in ‘78, and no one faults them for it!

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1979 Steve Martin

1979 Steve Martin

Actor Steve Martin became the hottest celeb in ‘79 with the release of cult classic comedy The Jerk. Women and men alike adore someone who makes them laugh, to which Martin perfectly fits the bill.

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1980 Harrison Ford

1980 Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford’s most iconic roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones both occurred within the ‘80s, so it was pretty much his best decade. 1980 garnered the release of The Empire Strikes Back, dubbed the best of the trilogy to many Star Wars fans. This film gave Ford’s character deeper characterization and newfound selflessness that stole our hearts.

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1981 Princess Diana

1981 Princess Diana

Diana Spencer, turned "The People’s Princess" in 1981 after her marriage to Prince Charles, was the apple of everyone’s eye for decades. Her kind heart, relatability, and unparalleled beauty touched the hearts of common people, and everyone’s heart collectively broke for her in ‘97.

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1982 Michael Jackson

1982 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, AKA the King of Pop, knew fame since his time in the Jackson 5, but it wasn’t until the release of his sixth album, Thriller, that he found his own fame to the level of Elvis Presley. From his dance moves to his killer voice, Jackson easily lands a spot as a leading heartthrob of the 20th century.

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1983 Diane Lane

1983 Diane Lane

The boys of The Outsiders (1983) weren’t the only people deserving of fans’ ogling. Diane Lane who starred as ‘Cherry’ brought to life the unforgettable female lead of S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel of the same name. Her empathy and beauty gave fans a worthy girl crush.

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1984 Prince

1984 Prince

Prince’s eclectic musical talent and statement performances of hits such as “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” captured the world’s attention. His mysterious persona was intriguing to fans, especially when he ditched his name for the infamous “love symbol” as his title. As they all say, enigma is the key to the heart… or something like that.

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1985 Molly Ringwald

1985 Molly Ringwald

The Breakfast Club  (1985) is chock-full of heartthrobs from the sulky Judd Nelson to Emilio Estevez’s wrestler persona to even the mysterious Ally Sheedy and brainiac Anthony Michael Hall. Yeah, we know that’s basically everyone, but can you blame us? Molly Ringwald, however, also had roles in Pretty in Pink (1986) and Sixteen Candles (1984) that made her the “It Girl” of the ‘80s and classified John Hughes royalty.

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1986 Tom Cruise

1986 Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise might be a little controversial nowadays, but his Top Gun persona in ‘86 made everyone lose their marbles for the actor. Everyone loves a man in uniform, and who’s sexier than a pilot nicknamed Maverick? Come on, it's just too easy to love him!

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1987 Patrick Swayze

1987 Patrick Swayze

It’s safe to say that fans collectively fell in love with Patrick Swayze anytime he appeared on screen in Dirty Dancing (1987). That and his appearance in Pulse the same year made it nearly impossible to not obsess over this dancing dreamboat.

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1988 Winona Ryder

1988 Winona Ryder

Actress Winona Ryder’s performances in Beetlejuice (1988) as an angsty teen and Heathers of the same year justified her rise to prominent media attention. Her recent role as Joyce Byers in Netflix’s Stranger Things (2016-) simultaneously revitalized old crushes and sparked newfound admiration in younger generations.

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1989 Ethan Hawke

1989 Ethan Hawke

Dead Poet Society’s (1989) Todd Anderson himself, Ethan Hawke’s performance as an adorably shy student under Robyn Williams landed him Hollywood heartthrob status. Fortunately for Hawke, his unattractive personality outside of the film set didn’t distract from his physical appeal too much.

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1990 Julia Roberts

1990 Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts was Hollywood’s highest-paid actress throughout the ‘90s with the help of her leading role in the romcom Pretty Woman (1990) opposite Richard Gere, a heartthrob on his own. Record-breaking in multiple ways, People magazine has dubbed her the most beautiful woman in the world five times over. No kidding!

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1991 Keanu Reeves

1991 Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves wouldn’t become Neo until 1999, but his ‘91 film Point Break launched him to the fame needed to land The Matrix role. Alongside the aforementioned heartthrob Patrick Swayze, Reeves was handsome by more than association. The Canadian actor would later be dubbed “Hollywood’s ultimate introvert” in 2005, making him all the more attractive with his shy-yet-charming personality.

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1992 Whitney Houston

1992 Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston blazed her own place into the acting and music realms with her appearance in 1992’s The Bodyguard. Houston’s outward appearance matched up with her voice, with the song “I Will Always Love You” featured in the film’s soundtrack later winning the Grammy and becoming the world’s best-selling physical single.

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1993 Tatyana Ali

1993 Tatyana Ali

Tatyana Ali is best remembered as Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-6) alongside Will Smith. She played the role throughout the course of the show, which featured her musical talent many times over. Three years after Fresh Prince ended, her first single “Kiss the Sky” was certified gold and solidified her as a worthwhile artist. Better yet, she went on to attend Harvard and travel the U.S. as a spokeswoman for former President Obama. We happily stan ambitious women!

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1994 Brad Pitt

1994 Brad Pitt

From Thelma & Louise (1991) to Fight Club (1999), Brad Pitt has long been the go-to answer to the question “Who’s the most handsome man in the world?” 1994 was Pitt’s key year in Hollywood, landing lead roles in the drama Legends of the Fall and horror Interview with the Vampire (1994). We don’t even need to list the number of magazines that continue to nominate him as the Sexiest Man Alive.

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1995 Antonio Banderas

1995 Antonio Banderas

Antonio Banderas, with all his captivating beauty, showed off his acting prowess in the ‘95 action-western Desperado. Let’s just say that his finesse in taking down drug lords and desperados reflected his attractive exterior.

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1996 Denzel Washington

1996 Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington’s roles in ‘96 films The Preacher’s Wife and Courage Under Fire might not have been his first, but they allowed him to break into the scene of top Hollywood icons. The same year, he secured the sought-after title of People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Obviously worthy of both amorous and professional attention, Washington went on to star in the award-winning film Training Day (2001), his second appearance in an Academy-recognized movie.

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1997 Leonardo DiCaprio

1997 Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio has been a celebrity dreamboat since the 1997 drama Titanic hit theaters and depicted a heart-wrenching romance with actress Kate Winslet. Needless to say, everyone wanted to be drawn like one of his French girls... Uh, did we say that out loud? Like you weren't thinking the same thing!

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1998 Destiny's Child

1998 Destiny's Child

Destiny’s Child—the all-female R&B group featuring women including Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams—arrived on the scene with their titular debut album in 1998. They first called themselves Girl’s Thyme, but didn’t find breakout success (or their heart-throb factor) until the late ‘90s. Need evidence? Look no further than “Say My Name” and “Bootylicious.” Enough said.

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1999 Britney Spears

1999 Britney Spears

Britney Spears was duly dubbed the “Princess of Pop” after her debut album ...Baby One More Time dropped in 1999. Despite mixed criticism for the album as a whole, the single by the same name easily topped UK charts and is one of the world’s best-selling singles ever. Not only did Spears revive pop for teenage audiences, but she captured fans' attention with her uniquely raspy vocals and her dual personality of rock-and-roll queen and angelic idol.

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2000 Angelina Jolie

2000 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, the queen of perfect cheekbones, was a relatively new star once the new millennium began. Her 1999 role in Girl, Interrupted turned into her breakout performance to which she walked away with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In a profile by Esquire in 2000, Jolie showed off what Elaine Lui points out as the source of her attractiveness at the time: a healthy mix of a “bad girl” vibe, “disruptive” personality, and intimidating beauty. And that red-carpet kiss? We won't get into that one.

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2001 Russell Crowe

2001 Russell Crowe

We know, George Clooney was a big deal around 2001 as well. But you can’t deny that Russell Crowe was a fresh-faced and mysterious Hollywood crush we couldn’t ignore. After winning the title of the Oscar’s Best Actor for his amazing performance in Gladiator (2000), Crowe suddenly was in high demand.

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2002 Orlando Bloom

2002 Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom’s back-to-back roles as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings (2001-3) films and Will Turner in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (2003-7) ensured his status as a top celebrity crush. No one else could compete with a beautiful elf and a sexy pirate. While we're slightly bitter we missed our chance with him, at least he has an equal match with popstar Katy Perry. It's fine. Everything's FINE.

 

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2003 Jennifer Aniston

2003 Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston’s appearance in Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty introduced the actress as a successful film actress as well as TV star. We all know her as the gorgeous Rachel from Friends, but her heart-throb potential was reinvigorated by the 2003 comedy.

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2004 Megan Fox

2004 Megan Fox

Megan Fox’s appearance in the 2004 film Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, opposite Lindsay Lohan, launched her into stardom. Popularly known as the most attractive women of the world, Fox would later star in blockbuster action series Transformers (2007-9) and solidify her place as the heartthrob of the 2000s.

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2005 Ryan Gosling

2005 Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling became the modern Ryan O'Neal when he won over the hearts of all romance lovers with his portrayal of Noah opposite Rachel McAdams in the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-cult-classic filmThe Notebook (2004). Gosling’s character is exceedingly loyal and restores an entire house for the love of his life. Handsome, handy, and faithful? Nothing more to ask for!

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