In what has to be one of the most outlandish and memorable photos from Studio 54, we have Bianca Jagger (then-wife of Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger) riding into her birthday celebration at the club on a horse. This was just one of many crazy things you could see at Studio 54 on any given night.
However, the story behind this iconic photo is not what we've heard all our lives. Here's the real story according to Bianca Jagger--"It was a beautiful white horse that reminded me of mine, and I made the foolish decision to get on it for a few minutes … No doubt you will agree with me that it is one thing to, on the spur of the moment, to get on a horse in a nightclub, but it is quite another to ride in on one."
Dressed for Success
No one can don a stylish, crazy outfit like the indomitable supermodel Grace Jones. We're not entirely sure what's going on with that giant, paper-chain looking neck piece, but the golden glasses are a great touch, and Jones seems to be loving what she's wearing...whatever that happens to be.
When this photo was taken in 1978, Jones was one of the hottest models and musicians around. She had just released her second disco album, Fame, that year, with multiple singles reaching the top ten on the charts. Things couldn't have been going better for her, and she couldn't have looked better than in this photo!
Are You On the List?
During its heyday, Studio 54 was the club to be at, as evidenced by this photo where a giant crowd is trying to get in. It's estimated that the disco nightclub made more than $7 million during its first year of operation. That's pretty impressive considering that it only took about $400,000 to get the club running.
However, getting in wasn't easy, considering that the place was always crawling with celebrities. Andy Warhol, one of Studio 54's most notable regulars, had this to say about the exclusive club--"The key of the success of Studio 54 is that it's a dictatorship at the door and a democracy on the dance floor."
A Couple of Club Regulars
If you're a fan of the Rolling Stones, then you would have loved Studio 54. Lead singer Mick Jagger was a big fan of the club and could be spotted there frequently. In this photo, he's arriving with model Jerry Hall--whom he had begun a relationship with a year prior.
As a model, Hall couldn't just wear any old thing to Studio 54. She needed to look drop dead gorgeous every time she stepped through the door--which was quite frequently! She had this to say about her looks during her Studio 54 days--"Lots of bling! And lots of Halston. Jersey and draped and quite chic, you know."
When you think of a disco nightclub, you normally think of young people, but Studio 54 was a place where people of all ages could get together and have a good time--assuming you were famous enough, that is. Of course, Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor made the list with no problems and even celebrated her 46th birthday there.
It seems like Taylor had quite the blowout. According to one party goer that night, "[It was the] most amazing party of all…The Rockettes performed and then presented the movie star, who was standing on a float of gardenias between Halston and her then-husband, Senator John Warner of Virginia, along with a cake that was a full-size portrait of her. As Taylor gamely cut a good luck slice from the buttercream bosom, Warner fled the paparazzi.”
The Gang's All Here
This star-studded lineup of celebrities might seem like a big deal, but this was just another regular night at everyone's favorite disco nightclub. Pictured in this photo are artist Andy Warhol, model Jerry Hall, Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, writer Truman Capote, and fashion designer Paloma Picasso.
This photo was taken during the club's heyday, and these stars were far from the only ones who regularly made appearances at Studio 54. Others included Farrah Fawcett, David Bowie, Salvador Dali, Dolly Parton, and Richard Gere, just to name a few!
An Eye for Fashion
Studio 54 may have brought in lots of Hollywood celebrities, but they were far from the only stars to make an appearance. The club was also a hotspot for up-and-coming fashion designers. In this picture, designer Diana von Furstenberg lounges on a couch in the club with her then-boyfriend Barry Diller.
Von Furstenberg found Studio 54 and New York in general at the time the perfect place to be for a designer, saying, "It was a real fun time to be in New York. And to be young in the 70s was very good. And to be in fashion was very interesting, because the '70s was like the '30s. It's those decades that don't go out of style. The '70s is still glamorous, the '30s is still glamorous."
The Man Who Made It All Happen
When you look at this photo, your eye probably first goes to musical legend Rod Stewart. He's just got a face you can't forget--as does his then-future wife Alana Hamilton. However, the most influential person in the photo is definitely the guy on the left--Steve Rubell, co-owner of Studio 54.
While that might sound like a glamorous job to have, Studio 54 kind of ruined Rubell's life, even though it was mostly Rubell's own actions that brought about his downfall. After publicly bragging that only the Mafia made more money than Studio 54, the FBI raided the place and Rubell went to prison for tax evasion.
There's no telling what these three were probably discussing that night at Studio 54, but there's no doubt that it was fabulous. Pictured in this photo are Bianca Jagger, fashion designer Halston, and Hollywood superstar Liza Minnelli. Unfortunately for Minnelli, she would go on to eventually overdose one night at the club.
However, Minnelli's infamy at Club 54 doesn't stop there. After the club's owners were convicted of tax evasion the place had to shut down, which it did in 1980. But not before Minnelli gave a stunning performance singing at the last party ever thrown at Studio 54.
Dance the Night Away
Even though the place was huge and always packed, getting into Studio 54 was easier said than done. There are numerous legendary tales about wannabe clubgoers getting sent away at the door because the owners didn't like what they were wearing. One woman even died in the club's air vents as she tried to sneak her way in.
However, for the lucky few who made it in, dancing the night away in a (probably) drug-fueled reverie was their rich, disco reward. And there was always something crazy happening there--like the night an event planner had four tons of glitter dropped onto the dance floor to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Let's See Some ID
Studio 54 was no place for kids, but that doesn't mean that some (especially the rich and famous kind) didn't find their way onto the dance floor. These include actresses Brook Shields and Mariel Hemingway, both pictured in this photo. At the time it was taken, Shields would have been around 14 while Hemingway would have just turned 18.
At the time this picture was taken, Hemingway had just starred in Woody Allen's Manhattan, one of the most successful and memorable roles of her career. Similarly, Shields had made her debut as an actress a year before in the controversial film Pretty Baby--and she was a year away from making another controversial film, The Blue Lagoon.
These days, whether fairly or unfairly, it seems that people don't have a lot of love for either Michael Jackson or Woody Allen. But back in the 1970s, people couldn't get enough of either of them who were both famous in their own way. So, it's no wonder that both were spotted at Studio 54.
However, according to some patrons of that era, Jackson didn't always enjoy the vibe at Studio 54. The place was nothing if not a den of iniquity--drugs, sex, you name it--and that was apparently too much for the King of Pop to handle. So, he'd allegedly go up to the DJ booth alone where he could dance in peace.
By the 1980s, the glory days of Studio 54 were long over. The original owners had gone to prison, and it just wasn't possible to recreate the magic. That being said, the club stayed open through the 1980s, despite being a shell of its former self. Need an example? See this photo.
By 1985, the legendary and debauched party atmosphere was long gone--the place was sanitized enough that actress Blythe Danner felt comfortable bringing her daughter, a 13-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow along for the fun. They might have been famous, but they certainly didn't match the look or style of the club's original clientele.
An Angel and a Dancer
When it came to Studio 54, almost everyone inside was famous, but they weren't all famous in the same way. Case in point--this photo featuring Charlie's Angels sweetheart Farrah Fawcett bumping elbows with legendary ballet dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov. You really never knew who you were gonna meet there!
While Fawcett might have been a regular at the club, Baryshnikov went to great lengths to explain that he only attended parties there a few times, saying, "Seriously, I was there with Martha Graham, twice, and Andy Warhol and Liza [Minnelli] and Mick Jagger and those people, because at that time everybody was there. But how could I be there until 6 o’clock in the morning when I had to be at 10 o’clock in the class, at dance class. No, of course not! Just a few times."
Cher-ing in the Fun
Cher absolutely dominated the music world in the 1970s (and the '60s...and the '80s...and the '90s), so it should come as no surprise that she attended parties at this historic disco institution. In this photo, she's pictured with famed music producer David Geffen. She looks like she's having a better time than he is!
Like many other celebrities of the era, Cher was practically a fixture at Studio 54, making more appearances than you could count and soaking up the attention from the paparazzi. The famous singer should be counting her lucky stars that she emerged from this era unscathed from the ever-present drugs and other vices that flowed free at Studio 54.
The Three Amigos
You never knew who you were going to run into at Studio 54, but you did know this--they were probably going to be super famous. And this photo just proves that point. Pictured are Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and the designer Roy Frowick (better known by the mononym Halston).
All three of these celebs were at the height of their fame during the days of Studio 54 and were frequent guests at the club. Halston, in particular was a big figure at Studio 54. Andy Warhol's number one rule about Studio 54 was this: "Always go with Halston or in Halston."
All That Glitters
Bianca Jagger was the undisputed queen of Studio 54. Her relationship with Rolling Stones icon Mick Jagger might have come to an end, but their wild, glamorous ways during the era of Studio 54 will live on forever.
Jagger's fashion sense was always on point--especially when she visited Studio 54. We're not entirely sure what she thinks she's doing with that necklace, but she sure looks fabulous doing it!
Studio 54 Meets Mr. Ed
Bianca Jagger's infamous entrance on a white horse will forever be the defining image of the era of Studio 54. Some people might have thought that it was a bit much, but hey, it was her birthday, so we're willing to cut her some slack.
Plus, she would later come to express regret about the whole spectacle. As an animal rights activist, she realized (a little too late) that riding in on a horse probably didn't paint her in the best light. Drugs and debauchery at Studio 54 were apparently a-okay, but God help you if you rode in on a horse.
Studio 54 was a place where stars of all stripes could mix and mingle. You wouldn't exactly expect funnyman John Belushi to get all buddy buddy with the musical likes of Keith Richards and James Brown, but stranger things happened at this disco haven.
That being said, if you think about it for a minute, there is one thing that unites this world-class comedian and these two world-class musicians--cocaine. And, for better or worse, there was plenty of that to be found for the patrons of Studio 54.
A Fashion Emergency
When it comes to Studio 54, looking your best is a must. You would think that this would be an easy goal for someone as beautiful and fashionable as Sofia Loren. This classic Hollywood icon might be forever remembered as one of the most stylish women in the business, but even she had her off nights.
Unfortunately, in this photo, Loren is being escorted out of club's back door by her faithful chauffeur. And what was the emergency that had her fleeing in private? A split seam on her dress. Oh, the humanity.
Dance the Night Away
Studio 54 might be most known for peacocking celebrities and plenty of drugs, but it was an actual nightclub, you know. Some people actually did show up to dance the night away. And, considering that the club existed during disco's heyday, there was probably no better place to bust a move.
And as hard as it was to get into Studio 54, it was just about as challenging to actually get to the club in the first place. It was located in one of the sketchiest, most dangerous areas of Manhattan at the time. That definitely added to its big-city charm, but it made it a real pain for patrons who wanted to walk there.
Jump, Jive, and Wail
Many of the famous ladies that visited Studio 54 were on a mission to look absolutely perfect and flawless. But, from time to time, there was a star who wasn't afraid to cut loose and have a little wild, not-photogenic fun. And one of those stars was actress Jaqueline Bisset, pictured here busting some major moves.
Both Studio 54 and Bisset were both in their golden age during the 1970s. Some of her big hits of the decade include Murder on the Orient Express, Day For Night, and Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
If anyone can pull off these questionable hairstyles, it's definitely Cher and Tina Turner. These volume-crazy 'dos might have been right at home in the 1980s, but they made these two diva icons ahead of the fashion curve in the 1970s.
At this point in time Turner had just started going solo as an artist after divorcing her former husband, Ike Turner. Similarly, Cher had recently gone through a public divorce from Sunny Bono only a few years earlier.
It was hard enough to get into Studio 54, much less have an audience with one of its owners, Steve Rubell. But when you're Michael Jackson, it's probably a little easier. The King of Pop is pictured here with Rubell during the club's heyday.
Jackson was a frequent figure at Studio 54, but he wasn't like most of the other super famous patrons. While they showed up for the drugs and partying, Jackson was more concerned about the music and tended to avoid the seedier aspects of the world of nightclubs.
A Happy Couple
Farrah Fawcett was yet another Hollywood regular of the iconic Studio 54, and in this photo, she's featured with her then-beau, Ryan O'Neal.
The two got together in 1979--just a year before Studio 54 would be shut down--and had a relationship for almost 20 years. However, the couple divorced in 1999 after Fawcett found O'Neal in bed with another woman.
It's a Bird! It's a Plane!
Studio 54 was so big in the 1970s that even Superman wanted in this exclusive club. Pictured here is a young Christopher Reeve enjoying his time at Studio 54. Interestingly enough, Reeve was once spotted at the club with Dodi Fayed--Princess Diana's beau who died in that tragic car crash along with her.
At the time of this photo, Reeve's star was still on the rise. He had just made his Broadway debut in 1976 and was gaining attention for his now-classic role in the original Superman movie.
Studio 54 Royalty
Sylvester Stallone and Susan Anton might have been recognized actors, but Andy Warhol was on a whole different level. He was truly Studio 54 royalty. The eccentric artist made countless appearances at the club and was one of its biggest supporters.
Warhol was particularly liked by Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell. In fact, for Warhol's 50th birthday, Rubell presented him with 5,000 drink tickets and a trash can full of one-dollar bills.
A Couple Musical Legends
Just because you were famous didn't guarantee you entry into Studio 54. Thankfully, it appears that musicians Rod Stewart and Elton John had no problems getting past the velvet rope. Can you imagine either one of them being denied entry?
We doubt they had to interact with any of the hoi polloi, though. There were reportedly plenty of private areas in the club where the super famous could recuse themselves away from any unwanted attention.
Tell Me More, Tell Me More
Both John Travolta and Michael Jackson were familiar faces at Studio 54. In fact, the premiere party for Grease was even held at the club in 1978. And according to those who were there, it was one of the wildest nights at Studio 54.
Travolta's Grease co-star, Olivia Newton-John, had this to say about that fateful night: "I just remember it was crazy. There were lots of people in the bathrooms doing strange things that I hadn’t seen before. It was wild and fun and a very exciting night."
Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston had a famous on-again off-again relationship for decades. The happy couple were clearly in an on-again phase when this picture was taken at Studio 54.
The two actors had no problem making it into Studio 54 on this evening, but that was allegedly not always the case. While it's never been publicly confirmed, there are rumors that Nicholson was once turned away at the door. It probably didn't hurt that he had a beautiful woman on his arm this time.