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Male sex symbols through the years

By APRILL BRANDON
Jan. 26, 2011 at noon
Updated Jan. 25, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.


When you hear the phrase "sex symbol," most likely your mind immediately goes to an image of buxom blonde or waif-ish starlet.

But let's face it. Women don't have an exclusive hold on being ogled by the opposite sex. Plenty of men over the decades have been sex symbols. Even as far back as the 1920s, women were drooling over Rudolph Valentino, who was known as "The Great Lover of the Silver Screen."

What's interesting, however, is how the kind of men we secretly (or in my case openly) fantasize about has changed with each decade. I mean, you don't see too many 12-year-olds with posters of Errol Flynn plastered all over their rooms.

For instance, back in the '30s and '40s, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant were all the rage. They were debonair and mature. And while you'll see many male stars today undergoing plastic surgery as they age, these gentlemen wore their lines on their face with pride (and looked darn good doing it).

And who could forget 'ol Blue Eyes? Frank Sinatra was skinny and pale and yet, he had women of all ages swooning.

As the 1950s rolled around, rebels became what we craved. We loved us some Elvis Presley with his dangerous swaying hips and the leather jacket-clad James Dean.

By the '60s, women began clamoring for rugged types like Paul Newman and Robert Redford (who it's said did his own stunt work ... insert swoon here). We also couldn't get enough of Sean Connery, who did the seemingly impossible task of making the character of James Bond even hotter.

By the '70s, it was all about hair. Baby-faced teens with feather hair such as David Cassidy had young girls hysterical. But as the '70s rolled into the '80s, suddenly we were all about a different kind of hair.

Facial hair.

From Burt Reynolds to Billy Dee Williams to Tom Selleck, we just couldn't get enough of a good mustache. Not to mention, scruffy guys who perpetually had a 5 o'clock shadow began plastering our bedroom walls, such as Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis.

By the '90s, we were all about Brad Pitt and his flowing blonde locks and Leonardo DiCaprio, who constantly had his gorgeous hair in his eyes.

Today, well, we're a bit more eclectic in our male sex symbols, which run the gamut from Robert Pattinson to Johnny Depp to (my personal favorite) Ryan Reynolds.

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