Surfs Up & Summer is Here: Golden Age Stars in Vintage Swimwear

American actress, singer, model and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Swimsuit pictures were a big part of the Hollywood studio publicity machine during its golden age. Pictures of stars in scanty suits were published endlessly in fan magazines and as pinups for the boys serving overseas. We love the look of vintage swimwear found in this bounty of stars dressed for pool and beach.


Betty Grable, in a pin-up pose taken by Frank Powolny in 1943 while filming SWEET ROSIE O'GRADY

Everett Collection

World War II pinup favorite Betty Grable in a pin-up pose taken by Frank Powolny a white one-piece swimsuit in a studio portrait from 1943.


1940: Actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987) swims with an inflatable horse on a break between filming.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Another pinup favorite of World War II was Rita Hayworth. Here the star of Gilda swims with an inflatable horse on a break between filming in 1940.


Ava Gardner wearing a bikini, circa 1948.

Screen Archives/Getty Images

Ava Gardner was photographed in beachwear perhaps more than any golden age Hollywood actress. Here she is at a studio “beach” in 1945.


Full-length shot of Yvonne De Carlo (1922-2007), Canadian actress, wearing a white swimsuit while placing a red, white and blue striped towel on a wooden post, circa 1955.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Yvonne De Carlo struts in a white swimsuit, circa 1955. Hard to see how the sultry star of Salome, Where She Danced (1945) would end up as Lily Munster in the 1960s sitcom The Munsters. Maybe she stopped getting all that sun.


GIDGET, Sally Field (1966), 1965-1966.

Sheedy-Long /TV Guide /Courtesy Everett Collection

Sally Field played the surf-loving, boy-crazy teenager in the TV version of Gidget (1965-66). 


Actress Jane Russell (b. 1921) wearing a black and white bikini top while holding the red draw strings of a wide brim straw hat. Color publicity handout, slide. BPA#2 5854

John Springer Collection/Corbis via Getty Images

 Jane Russell is dressed for poolside fun in this black-and-white two-piece and generous straw hat. (1940)


HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, Marilyn Monroe, 1953.

©20th Century-Fox Film Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection

Marilyn Monroe stuns in pink in the 1953 film, How to Marry a Millionaire


GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, Tina Louise, 1964-1967.

Everett Collection

Before we all knew her as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island, Tina Louise was a model and aspiring actress. Here she fashions a colorful two-piece on set around mid 1960’s.


(Original Caption) Actress Ann-Margret, appearing in the motion picture "Murderers Row", wears a newly designed cover-up wet suit made of silk and rubber.


Ann-Margret lit up the screen with her torrid routines in Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Here she is on the set of Murderer’s Row (1966) in a silk-and-rubber candy-striped wetsuit. Somehow Ann-Margret could make all that fabric plenty revealing.


Natalie Wood (1938-1981), US actress, wearing a brown swimsuit, kneeling beside a small poodle, beside a swimming pool, circa 1970.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Natalie Wood hangs out poolside in a luxurious one-piece, 1965.


COFFY, Pam Grier, 1973

Everett Collection

Coffy star Pam Grier lounges poolside in a white mesh bikini, circa 1973.


SUNBURN, Farrah Fawcett, 1979

Everett Collection

Farrah Fawcett rocks a wetsuit on the set of Sunburn (1979).


Carrie Fisher on Stinson Beach in Northern California with the cast of Star Wars.

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Carrie Fisher sports a futuristic bronze bikini with some of her beach pals from Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi for a 1983 Rolling Stone cover shoot.


Errol Flynn (1909-1959), famous for his swashbuckling film roles of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, poses in his bathing suit.


Swashbuckler Errol Flynn swaggers in this swimsuit, mid 1930s.


TO CATCH A THIEF, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, 1955

Everett Collection

For all his elegance in a tuxedo, Cary Grant knew his way around a swimsuit, too. Here he is by the beach with costar Grace Kelly in the 1955 Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief.


US Actor Tony Curtis, in swimsuit, circa 1950-1955.

Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

A young Tony Curtis strides out of the surf in this undated photo from the early 1950s. He would go on to star in films like Some Like It Hot (1959) with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe and Spartacus (1960) with Kirk Douglas.


BLUE HAWAII, Elvis Presley, 1961

Everett Collection

Elvis Presley in this promotional photo for Blue Hawaii, 1961. (Can we get a “hubba, hubba” from the peanut gallery?)


SEA HUNT, Lloyd Bridges, 1958-61. photo: Russ Halford/TV Guide/courtesy Everett Collection

Everett Collection

Sea Hunt star Lloyd Bridges checks his watch while preparing for his next scuba dive. The underwater adventure aired from 1958 to 1961.


Singer Tom Jones poses for portrait at home in UK phone box, in July 1980 in Beverly Hills, California.

Eddie Sanderson/Getty Images

Thunderball theme singer Tom Jones takes a call on the phone at his home in Beverly Hills, California,
in 1980.

Swimsuit Parade
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Swimsuit Parade

July 2021

Enjoy a trip to the beach with our swimsuit parade down the decades by your favorite Hollywood stars

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