Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy birthday, Natalie.

In an age when words like beautiful, hot, and sexy are thrown around in the media like frisbees at a dog park, consider this post a simple tribute to the woman who, in this man's judgment, was by far and away the most beautiful actress in the history of American film.

Let us remember that beauty is not a byproduct of hormones set in motion by the display of breasts and butts. Beauty is in the face. And when it comes to that, there is Natalie...and there is everyone else. At least that's how I see it.

She would have been 71 today.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess you are too young to remember Grace Kelly??

Steve Salerno said...

Oh, I remember Grace Kelly. She's surely on the list (especially if she's judged by her appearance in a movie like Rear Window). But--again, in my opinion, and only mine--Natalie is in a class by herself.

Anonymous said...

Liz Taylor: feature by feature perfect, and that gorgeous coloring. Others have been and are lovely, but she was beautiful.

Steve Salerno said...

No argument there, either. At least all the women being mentioned here qualify for the label, I would think. Unlike the Cameron Diazes and Julia Robertses.

Anonymous said...

Halle Berry.

Steve Salerno said...

Can't argue that one, either. In fact, they look somewhat alike (Halle and Natalie).

Rational Thinking said...

Audrey Hepburn would get my vote.

Steve Salerno said...

RT: Now, see, that's one of the ones I just don't "get." Hepburn always looked a bit, well, mousy to me. (Or maybe a lemur is more like it.) But you've got plenty of company in that pick...and at least we're still in the realm of faces instead of boobs and butts.

RevRon's Rants said...

I lean more toward Julie Christie, circa "Dr. Zhivago," and Jaclyn Smith, pretty much any time of her life. And, as Connie just reminded me, Michelle Pfeiffer. All simply breathtaking to this old fart!

Steve Salerno said...

Ron: Not a bad choice in the bunch, to my eye--though I'd rate Ms. Christie a notch below the others. I'd actually forgotten about Michelle Pfeiffer, who certainly does not deserve to be forgotten in any discussion of female pulchritude.

Incidentally, many people are unaware that Michelle P. has two baby sisters, Dee Dee and Lori, who are also actresses (of lesser stature, of course). I always found Dee Dee oddly appealing--notwithstanding the fact that her name was Dee Dee.

Steve Salerno said...

Another forgotten femme fatale: Catherine Z-Jones, anyone?

I know my women said...

Then: Sophia Loren.
Now: Denise Richards.

Steve Salerno said...

Hmmm. Denise Richards comes up now and then in these discussions, and to me she's one of those "tweeners" where I really don't know how to feel. There's no question that she's a pretty girl, though she sometimes looks--almost artificial?--to me. I also wonder if her overall image as a sexpot (as we old-timers say) skews the perception of her looks, nudging her several levels up in the rankings.

OTOH, I never wonder about that when it comes to Sophia Loren...because I'm absolutely sure of it. I actually think she's downright homely, and was always thus, even at her best. I gotta believe that seeing her constantly depicted sans bra and walking out of the surf in sheer wet clothes had to have a lot to do with her appeal.

Anonymous said...

Steve is right that beauty is about the face, and his selection of Natalie Wood is easy to understand. I remember once seeing a magazine advertisement in which they used a retro glamor picture of her, and I was stunned by how beautiful she was. Actually, entrancing is the best word because I just wanted to stare at her. I was really mesmerized, so I can see why Steve felt similarly.

There are beautiful women and then there are some in a stratosphere completely separate from simple beauty. Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry all belong in that stratosphere.

By the way I'm gay

Steve Salerno said...

Gay guy or gal? I'm thinking gal from the context here, but I was just curious.

Anonymous said...

Guy, for sure. I meant to emphasize how entrancing these women are even to me.

RevRon's Rants said...

I recall reading how one person differentiated between a pretty woman, a beautiful woman, and a gorgeous woman. When a pretty woman walks into a room, all the boys & young men turn and look. When a beautiful woman enters, the men turn and look. but when a gorgeous woman walks into a room, the women in the room turn and look. Natalie, like Jaclyn, Michelle, and a few others mentioned here, would definitely have everyone - including the women (or gay men!) - doing double-takes.

The thing I find remarkable about truly gorgeous women is that their beauty seems to deepen with the passage of time, rather than wither. At least, until they hit "that" point, such as Ingrid Bergman did at the time of her portrayal of Golda. One could still see hints at the beauty that had once been breathtaking, but only hints.

We guys are fortunate... most of us start out pretty ugly, and kinda grow into a more palatable version. :-)

Anonymous said...

1. Grace Kelly.
2. Michelle Pfeiffer.
3. Cheryl Ladd.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 11:57: So we like blondes, then. :)

Nothing wrong with that. (Pet peeve of mine: Why don't even the fans of blondes ever mention poor Vanna?)

Anonymous said...

Yes, blondes with high cheekbones and well-defined chins. My type.

Vanna is too angular--attractive, but not beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You know who's also very pretty? Maybe not beautiful but pretty and also looks like someone who would be a really nice person if you knew her. Kelly Preston, Travolta's wife.