Vintage Photos of Celebrities at the Beach
Celebrities and the beach go hand in hand. It's the perfect occasion to soak up the sun, show some skin, and get a little attention from the press.
While stars these days might try to isolate themselves from the public as much as possible, the celebs of yesteryear weren't afraid to mingle at the beach with the common folks. Of course, they were surrounded by their celebrity pals and famous friends by association, but that's more than what the public usually gets to see IRL. If it's not a paparazzi shot, celebrities usually aren't caught on public beaches without a giant entourage.
Today, we're taking a look at some of the most memorable vintage beach photos of celebrities and superstars. From Marilyn Monroe to Presidents of years gone by, we've got pics of them soaking up the sun during the glory days. Whether they were filming on location or just looking to get away from it all, these icons never failed to cause a stir when they hit the waves! Bit of a warning: these pictures are 99% likely to make you green with envy. If you're itching to vacation like Audrey Hepburn, check out the recommended articles!
Actress and singer Ginger Roger was a starlet during Hollywood's Golden Age, and in this photo, the American icon is getting a little golden herself under the warm rays of the sun. At least she's using sunscreen!
Rogers is most famous for her movie work in the 1930s, where she starred alongside another Hollywood legend, Fred Astaire. However, she had a long a successful career after her rise to fame that stretched all the way until her final appearance on screen in the 1980s.
Rita Hayworth is a picture of youth as she lets Robert Mitchum apply sustain lotion on her back. This candid photo was taken in 1957 on a beach at the Port of Spain in Trinidad as they filmed Fire Down Below. This film wasn't a Blockbuster hit for her career like Only Angels Have Wings or Cover Girl, but she certainly appeared to enjoy herself just as much.
Hayworth is best known for her femme fatale role in the noir film Gilda in 1946, where she starred opposite Glenn Ford and truly launched her career. The American Film Institute listed her among the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time in 1999. However before she graced the screen, she was one of the nation's top pin-up girls during World War II.
If you ever wondered what it takes to be a vintage California girl, look no further than this image of Bette Davis posing on a lifeboat in SoCal. She has it all! The meticulous curls, one-piece suit, and bold lips… You can’t get much more vintage than this!
Bette Davis began her acting career on Broadway but ditched the stage in order to become a film star. Of Human Bondage landed her serious acting jobs and awards, including Best Actress for her intense acting style in 1935’s Dangerous. From Marked Woman to What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, Davis led an illustrious career unmatched by many. In fact, she was the first woman to receive the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sir Sean Connery was a Scottish actor who is best known for being the first actor to play the British secret agent James Bond in the titular films. He starred in seven Bond films from '62 to '83, but his busy schedule didn't stop him from trapezing on sandy beaches on and off the film set.
Here he's pictured with the Swiss actress Ursula Andress in '62 as they filmed the first installment of the Bond franchise Dr. No. They both look effortlessly relaxed even as she attempts an impressive handstand with Connery's support. Andress traded the traditional strapless one-piece for a chic white bikini while Connery stuck to the no-shirt, rolled-pants combo.
This image of Lucille Ball posing in front of a beach is so perfect that it almost looks too good to be true. Just look at that view! Turns out this shot was taken at a publicity shoot for her 1943 film Best Foot Forward. No wonder she looks perfectly done up without a spot of sand on her suit.
Best Foot Forward might not have bolstered her career much, but it definitely exploded the strapless bathing suit industry. It’s not until I Love Lucy that she truly became an icon of the ‘50s, but that obviously didn’t stop her from sending waves through the industry before the sitcom took off!
Elvis Presley wasn't afraid to show a little skin and kiss a beautiful woman on the beach if it meant movie magic--what a saint he was. In this shot, the King is embracing actress Joan Blackman as they film a scene for the 1961 romantic musical Blue Hawaii.
Blue Hawaii was by no means a total flop, but it definitely wasn't Presley's best work on the silver screen. It ended up being the 10th highest grossing film of the year, but it struggled to get any love from critics. This is one movie that's really only required viewing for hardcore Elvis fans.
If it's not already clear, being a classic American actress means posing on the beach in a bikini and a full-face of stage makeup. Hey, we don't make the rules! This shot of Ava Gardner was taken in 1951 on the set of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman; thus, it's natural to assume that she's lying on the stunning seaside sands of Catalonia, Spain.
In fact, a statue of Ava Gardner was erected in Tossa de Mar, Catalonia, overlooking the town's main beach because the majority of the film was shot on location. Pandora along with other films like Show Boat, Mogambo, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro established her place as a leading lady of the '50s. These films later led the American Film Institute to include her on their list ranking the greatest female screen legends of classic American cinema.
Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello
Hollywood lookers Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello might not have realized it when this photo was taken, but the two were in the midst of making movie history. This shot was taken while filming the 1963 movie Beach Party--which would lead to the creation of the "beach party movie" genre as a whole.
Beach Party would eventually lead to a whole slew of beach-themed movies aimed at teenagers, but none could recreate the success that the original had when it was released. While it didn't get much love from serious critics, audiences couldn't get enough of it--it was the highest grossing film the movie studio had ever produced at the time.
Audrey Hepburn is killing two birds with one stone in this photo. She's enjoying a lovely day at the beach, but she's also hard at work earning a paycheck! This candid photo was taken while the British actress was filming her role in the 1967 romantic comedy Two for the Road.
It appears that all of Hepburn's hard work in the film paid off--she managed to snag a Golden Globe nomination for best actress, while the movie itself was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars. Despite losing money at the box office, this was a clear favorite with critics.
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Even iconic actors need to take a break from work and have a little fun from time to time. In this photo, Cary Grant and Randolph Scott enjoy a quick ball game at their shared beach house. However, it looks like Scott is a bit more invested in the game than Grant is!
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott became close friends while the two actors were both working for Paramount Studios in the 1930s. The two actually lived together for twelve years, and, while there were always rumors that the two were romantically involved, it appears the two were just best bros.
Brigette Bardot is the beach girl every woman wants to be in this shot on the beaches of Cannes, France. Hasn't everyone seen this same shot in a movie and daydreamed about running barefoot down the shoreline only to leap into your soulmate's arms and be carried off into the distance? No? Just us?
No matter what you daydream about, Brigette Bardot knew what it meant to have fun and be herself in the '50s and '60s. Widely known as one of the world's classic sex symbols, Bardot was declared the first and most liberated woman of post-war France in Simone de Beauvoir's '59 essay The Lolita Syndrome. Bardot now works as a French animal rights activist after leaving the entertainment industry in 1973.
Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe
Things were rarely peaceful and blissful between baseball great Joe DiMaggio and actress Marilyn Monroe, but the two managed to keep things together at least for this one beach photo. At the time it was taken, Monroe was visiting DiMaggio while he was doing spring training with the New York Yankees.
The tumultuous and short marriage between these two almost never happened. Before meeting him, Monroe was afraid that DiMaggio would be a stereotypical jock. Despite her reservations, the two wed in 1954 and divorced only nine months later.
If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger's best days are behind him, this picture wouldn't do much to disprove that opinion. The Austrian-American actor and retired bodybuilder is captured here in his natural habitat -- flexing his infamously large muscles. What's the point of meeting Schwarzenegger if he's not posing for the crowds, especially when surrounded by adoring fans?
These women aren't just your typical fans, however. They're members of the iconic Foiles Bergère, a cabaret music hall located in Paris, France. The hall is still in business and keeps up with the tradition set by the original dancers and performers. That being said, we're not sure which was more excited to see each other -- Schwarzenegger or the girls!
Grace Kelly was an American actress who starred in many significant '50s blockbusters before marrying Prince Rainier III in 1956 and becoming the Princess of Monaco. You heard that right; Meghan Markle wasn't the first to weasel her way into royalty! This photo captures Kelly on the beaches of France in the Cote d'Azur a year before she married the Prince.
John F. Kennedy wasn't the only U.S. President to get down and dirty at the beach! Plus, Reagan began his career as an actor before becoming a politician, so he's checked all our boxes for this list! Here he's pictured alongside actors Eddie Bracken, and Dona Drake on a boardwalk in 1949. Much like the other beach photos, it was part of a marketing campaign to promote the movie The Girl from Jones Beach.
Reagan was successful as an actor, but most people don't remember him for his time on the silver screen. On top of serving in the Army, he was the president of the Screen Actors Guild until 1959. He then served as the 40th President from 1981-1989 as the voice of modern conservatism.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were basically Hollywood royalty, so it might seem odd to see this super couple lounging around on some driftwood. In reality, this shot was taken while they were filming the 1965 drama The Sandpiper. Can you imagine Elizabeth Taylor lying on the ground for anything besides a job?
Burton and Taylor might have had amazing chemistry on screen, but off screen, they had a tumultuous relationship that spanned two marriages. The couple originally got together while both were married to other people, but quickly divorced and eloped. Unfortunately, they would later go on to divorce, remarry shortly afterward, and divorce again for the last time.
In this photo, Marlon Brando proves that not every day at the beach is a magical one. That seagull looks like he's up to no good and shouldn't be trusted. This photo was taken during the filming of the 1964 comedy Bedtime Story.
While this movie is not Brando's most well-known work, it does have a long history in Hollywood. This original film inspired two remakes decades after it was released. The first was 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine. It was remade again in 2019 as The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.
Actress Rita Hayworth knew how to entertain American audiences, but it's clear she knew how to keep herself entertained too. Case in point--this photo depicting the starlet having a ball of a time playing solitaire on the beach. I guess celebrities are just like us.
Hayworth was dubbed "The Love Goddess" by the media, and she was one of the most successful pin-up girls during the World War II era. She's most known for her role as the femme fatale in the 1946 noir film Gilda. However, her other hits include Covergirl, You'll Never Get Rich, and The Lady from Shanghai.
Dwight Eisenhower and Walter Cronkite
This is one beach photo that is unlike any other on this list. Taken in 1964, this picture depicts former US President Dwight Eisenhower and journalist Walter Cronkite surveying Normandy Beach on the 20th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II.
The invasion took place on June 6th, 1944 and was the beginning of liberating France from the Germans. While D-Day would eventually be won by the Allies, they suffered massive casualties of more than 10,000 soldiers during this operation.
Poor Ringo Starr might not be the first band member you think of when you think of the Beatles, but it's clear from this photo, he got plenty of love during his day. This picture, taken in 1964, shows the British drummer being accosted by kisses from adoring young fans.
Starr was mainly relegated to drumming duties for the Beatles, but he actually appears as a singer on several of the groups famous songs, like "A Little Help from My Friends" and "Yellow Submarine." Since the breakup of the band in the 1970s, Starr has managed to maintain a successful solo career.
In this photo, the Lads from Liverpool take a short break from making teenage girls loose their minds to enjoy a little surf and sun. This photo was taken in Miami Beach, Florida, and we have to believe that this bright, sunny American hotspot is way more picturesque than any of the sad, gray beaches back in Britain.
This photo was taken while the Beatles were in town for a 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. At this point in history, the group had just released their album A Hard Day's Night, and Beatlemania in the states was at an absolute fever pitch.
In this photo, Bob Denver enjoys a fun day at the beach with his first wife, Maggie Ryan, and his stepson. We're not entirely sure what a tire is doing at the beach or what sort of beach fun you're supposed to have with it, but there's no denying that it made for a memorable photo op!
Denver was no stranger to the beach, thanks to his iconic role as the titular character on Gilligan's Island. The 1960s comedy series followed an unlikely group of people after they were marooned on a deserted island after a storm. Denver played Gilligan, the lovable but dim-witted first mate of the S.S. Minnow.
Italian actress Sophia Loren looks like she’s better suited to walking the streets of Paris in this pleated ensemble than lounging on the beaches of Cannes! Not that we’re judging her or anything; she was definitely the best-looking woman on the beach in ‘55 with those gleaming white heels and on-trend makeup.
Loren is best known for her time acting during Hollywood’s Golden Age of cinema in films such as Two Women and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. In fact, she was named as the 21st greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema by the American Film Institute back in 1999. She is the only living actress who remains on the list.
Here, Paul Newman was caught strutting along the beaches of Lido, Venice in 1963. He’s surrounded by a crowd of swimmers as he walks toward the camera in a bathing suit of his own. His film Western drama film Hud premiered at the Venice International Film Festival that same year, which is probably why Newman was spotted all over the city.
Hud was filmed on the Texas Panhandle and was based on the 1961 novel Horseman, Pass By. Newman plays the titular character Hud and helped lead the film to win three academy awards, including the Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography. While he was tasked to be a cattle rancher, Newman had no shame embracing the role of beach bum on the lush Italian seaside.
This picture proves that Marilyn Monroe knew how to let loose and have a little fun. We're not exactly sure what's going on here, but there aren't many action shots as well-timed as this photo. Let's just hope that this photo didn't capture her mid-fall!
It's not really difficult at all to find photos of Marilyn Monroe enjoying the beach. There are so many out there, that it's clear she loved a little fun in the sun. Even though she may have died at age 36, there's no denying the zest for life she had during her short years on earth.
R&B quintet the Jackson 5 is an iconic music group for countless reasons, if not the most iconic being Michael Jackson himself. Whether they called themselves the Jackson 5ive or the Jacksons, they were always made up of Jackson family members. Pictured here are Michael, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, and Marlon sporting their iconic afros in 1970 during the year of rabid Jacksonmania!
With the release of "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There," there was just no stopping the Jackson's from swiping all the top spots on the Billboard charts. Their quick rise to superstardom even swept the Supremes from the spotlight, making the Jackson 5 Motown's best-selling group. A quick rise led to a quick decline and the group split up in '73 as Michael and Jermaine departed for their solo careers, which in hindsight was incredibly lucrative on Michael's part.
Surprise, surprise! It's another Hollywood icon pictured on a beautiful beach! Jane Fonda isn't only an actress but she's best known for her roles on Broadway and on the screen, winning everything from Academy Awards to Primetime Emmys and Lifetime Achievement Awards. However, we should mention that she also works as a political activist and environmentalist as well as a former fashion model before her acting career took off.
Fonda poses on the French Riviera in the photo, which is dated back to September 9, 1963. Around this time Fonda would have been working the Broadway stage in productions like Period of Adjustment and Sunday in New York. While she had plenty of good reviews like Newsday calling her "The loveliest and most gifted of all our new young actresses," other publications like the Harvard Lampoon named her the "Year's Worst Actress." Jokes on them!
We'll spare you the gory details of JFK's whirlwind life, but here he is pictured with Jackie Kennedy on the beach in Massachusetts in 1955. It appears that he's preparing the sail of a small boat for his wife and him to enjoy a relaxing afternoon drift across the water in Hyannis Port.
JFK served as the 36th President of the United States starting in 1961, so this was captured during his years serving in the U.S. Senate as the junior senator of Massachusetts. Before his time in the Senate, he served in the Navy during WWII and went on to represent Boston in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, it wasn't long until He was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. At least we still have these photos to remember his life's most peaceful moments.
Actor Frankie Avalon isn't the only fresh-faced star featured in this vintage photo. If you're familiar with classic cinema, then you'll recognize Annette Funicello and Linda Evans by his side for the filming of Beach Blanket Bingo. And we know that eagle-eyed readers will also spot Jody McCrea in the back. What a lineup! However, Frankie Avalon is special because he originally made a name for himself by playing the trumpet on The Jackie Gleason Show in 1952.
Until 1957, Avalon was only known for his music; that all changed when Jamboree released and thousands saw him sing "Teacher's Pet." Beach Blanket Bingo came later in 1965, with Avalon telling The Wall Street Journal in '99, 'That's the picture of mine that I think people remember best, and it was just a lot of kids having a lot of fun -- a picture about young romance and about the opposition of adults and old people..."
Carrie Fisher and Friends
Darth Vader might be a villain when he's on the clock, but even this intergalactic baddie likes to enjoy a beautiful beach from time to time. While it's not clear just what's going on in this Star Wars odd couple beach photo, this is definitely a snapshot for the history books.
When this photo was taken in 1983, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi had just released to theaters, so this is probably some sort of promotional photo for that film. However, considering that this was the third installment in a beloved trilogy, it probably didn't take much promotion to get people to go see it.