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Actors Whose Images/Personas Have Not Aged Well


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Mel Gibson, because after his movie debut, we've found out that he's a sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic pig.

 

Plus he's getting old and showing it.

 

But he sure was an attractive screen presence to both men and women for quite a long while. I still like many of his movies - pretty good actor at times.

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William Brisbane.  I bet he was annoying even in 1937!!

 

Shall-We-Dance5.jpg

 

Isn't that the guy many people would often confuse with The Great Gildersleeve because their vocal delivery was so similar?

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I was talking about that with my daughter. I said something like "I would never wear high heels - they're a ridiculous shoe to walk in".  She responded, "They are - but if you were a woman, you'd wear 'em."

I am a woman and I rarely wear heels.  If I do, it's because I'm at a wedding or an event along the same vein.  Even then, I get tired of them in about the amount of time it takes to walk from my car to my seat at the venue; I always bring back up flats in my purse and always end up wearing them and ditching the heels.  They are so uncomfortable and I always look like a baby deer learning to walk for the first time.  No thanks.  I know there are ladies who live in their high heels and would die wearing flats.  More power to 'em I guess, it's their feet and their future medical bills.  Have you ever seen the feet of women who wear heels 24/7? Yuck!

 

However, while I know there are those that geniunely like wearing heels and like how they look in them; many wear the heels because they make the legs look longer, the rear end look rounder, and many of the physical attributes that are seen as desireable traits in a woman's outward appearance. 

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Gallipoli is a stand-out film for him, as is Mrs. Soffel.

 

Very good films indeed. I love 'Payback' - it's a lot of fun to watch. Also "Maverick' - one of his most charming films. 'Forever Young' is lovely. 'The Man Without a Face' is touching. 'Tequila Sunrise' and 'Conspiracy Theory' are a hoot and a half.

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That made me smile when I read it.

Haha thanks.  Sad thing is, I'm not even exaggerating.  It might be rather pathetic actually that a 30-year old woman can't walk in heels; but here I am.

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In an attempt to tie in the current topic of discussion-- people's personal preferences on what is and is not attractive and the original topic-- actors whose images/personas have not aged well, here goes:

 

Throughout history both men and women have been held up to different standards of beauty and attractiveness.  Whether it's bustles and corsets to create an exaggerated hourglass figure, or binding breasts, raising hemlines and bobbing hair in order to fit the flapper look, rich men wearing powdered wigs, men putting tons of pomade in their hair and shaping it into a pompadour, the list goes on.  Neither men nor women are immune to changing trends. 

 

Actors like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are looked at icons of beauty and glamour.  Both women have very different looks and styles; however both are timeless.  Monroe's voluptuous curves and Hepburn's waif look have both been in and out of style multiple times.  Currently it seems that both extremes are in fashion; but in extremes.  Judging by the new 000 size jeans that some stores are producing, it seems that the waif look is getting even "waifier." 

 

In my opinion, it's people whose looks and personalities are either so related to a specific time period or are so extreme that tend to go out of style.  I have two examples of this:

 

First example: Mae West.  Granted, in her time, her overt sexuality and "in your face" glamour made her a sensation.  However, looking at her now through twenty-first century eyes, she isn't all that sexy and isn't really that glamorous.  In my opinion, she is a caricature of the look of a 1930s woman-- slinky, silky bias cut gowns, thin high-arched eyebrows, deep red lips, and platinum blonde hair.  As a result of this exaggeration, she dates herself.  Whereas other actresses from this era to me, are more timeless as they are more glamorous and elegant.   

 

Second example: Now this might sound crazy and somewhat contradictory; however, I'm going to go with it and hope that this goes well.  Even though John Wayne is held up in this country as a "real man," an "ideal American," and whatever else people think he represents, to me personally, I think his whole persona is outdated.  First off, his acting "style" is obsolete.  How many actors nowadays cite John Wayne as their acting influence? How many cite Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Paul Newman? Acting wise, these actors' techniques are more timeless.  Second, Wayne's whole "real man," "real American" persona is outdated, in his films, the white man reigns supreme.  Women were kept in their place, Native Americans are portrayed as savages and the Japanese were the enemy.  This I suppose isn't Wayne's fault as much as the time period in which his films were made (and of the time period his character typically inhabited); but he is seen as some type of national hero based on how he acted in these films.  His personal politics are also outdated; but that's not a topic I think should be discussed.  I am speaking specifically of "John Wayne" the movie character. 

 

I hope this all makes sense, I can try to further explain myself and clarify if needed. 

 

 

 

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First example: Mae West.  Granted, in her time, her overt sexuality and "in your face" glamour made her a sensation.  However, looking at her now through twenty-first century eyes, she isn't all that sexy and isn't really that glamorous.  In my opinion, she is a caricature of the look of a 1930s woman-- slinky, silky bias cut gowns, thin high-arched eyebrows, deep red lips, and platinum blonde hair.  As a result of this exaggeration, she dates herself.  Whereas other actresses from this era to me, are more timeless as they are more glamorous and elegant. 

 

I'm not sure that we were ever really supposed to take Mae West as glamour queen all that seriously by the time the 30's came around.  Consider the simple fact that all of her movies were comedies and her real screen persona becomes rather evident.  And then there's the rather Empress  Has No Clothes* point that compared to pretty much every other non-character actress, she was about 10 or 15 years older and a whole lot frumpier than any of them.**  She couldn't have played a romantic lead credibly within the confines of what leading romantic actresses were supposed to look like, and fortunately for everyone she didn't try.

 

*So to speak B)

 

**With the exception of Ruth Chatterton, who by the early sound era was also well past her own physical peak, and who also seems very dated today.

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hepclassic said: I am saying that looks shouldn't be the measure of a person's worth- their character should be. 

 

 

JamesJazzGuitar said: To me a tat is an adornment.  A way to either bring attention to oneself or to show solidary to a group (and often both)

 

So, this "adornment" is a visual statement of their charactor. (like algebra A+B=C) The tattoo wearing person's "charactor" is they choose to announce to others their interests by permanent drawings on their skin.  Marked for life.

 

I don't even wear t-shirts with logos. And you can change those at will!

 

I'm certainly glad Lana, Marilyn or Mae didn't have any grey designs on their gorgeous ivory skin.

 

Can you imagine Mae West's gown low neckline with gray barbed wire drawings peeking out? Or Marilyn's neck with written script "Sex-ay"?

I'd much rather see a glittery diamond necklace, thank you.

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I am a woman and I rarely wear heels.  If I do, it's because I'm at a wedding or an event along the same vein.  Even then, I get tired of them in about the amount of time it takes to walk from my car to my seat at the venue; I always bring back up flats in my purse and always end up wearing them and ditching the heels.  They are so uncomfortable and I always look like a baby deer learning to walk for the first time.  No thanks.  I know there are ladies who live in their high heels and would die wearing flats.  More power to 'em I guess, it's their feet and their future medical bills.  Have you ever seen the feet of women who wear heels 24/7? Yuck!

 

However, while I know there are those that geniunely like wearing heels and like how they look in them; many wear the heels because they make the legs look longer, the rear end look rounder, and many of the physical attributes that are seen as desireable traits in a woman's outward appearance. 

This reminds me of when I was a little kid in the '50s. Women with thin high heels used to get them caught between the planks of the Atlantic City boardwalk, and, for a while, a big seller was  a round thing that was put over the heel to prevent this problem. I haven't seen these things in about 50 years, so I'm not sure what  was the long-term resolution of the problem. The things certainly didn't make women look very fashionable.

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Isn't that the guy many people would often confuse with The Great Gildersleeve because their vocal delivery was so similar?

 

No, you're thinking of Willard Waterman, who sounded almost exactly like Harold Peary.  Waterman DOES slightly resemble Brisbane but was MUCH more talented!

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No, you're thinking of Willard Waterman, who sounded almost exactly like Harold Peary.  Waterman DOES slightly resemble Brisbane but was MUCH more talented!

 

Thanks, Ray. Yeah, you're right. However, didn't all three of these gentlemen share somewhat of a similar baritone voice and which they'd often, let us say, "over-inflect"?

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First example: Mae West.  Granted, in her time, her overt sexuality and "in your face" glamour made her a sensation.  However, looking at her now through twenty-first century eyes, she isn't all that sexy and isn't really that glamorous.  In my opinion, she is a caricature of the look of a 1930s woman-- slinky, silky bias cut gowns, thin high-arched eyebrows, deep red lips, and platinum blonde hair.  As a result of this exaggeration, she dates herself.  Whereas other actresses from this era to me, are more timeless as they are more glamorous and elegant. 

 

I'm not sure that we were ever really supposed to take Mae West as glamour queen all that seriously by the time the 30's came around.  Consider the simple fact that all of her movies were comedies and her real screen persona becomes rather evident.  And then there's the rather Empress  Has No Clothes* point that compared to pretty much every other non-character actress, she was about 10 or 15 years older and a whole lot frumpier than any of them.**  She couldn't have played a romantic lead credibly within the confines of what leading romantic actresses were supposed to look like, and fortunately for everyone she didn't try.

 

*So to speak B)

 

**With the exception of Ruth Chatterton, who by the early sound era was also well past her own physical peak, and who also seems very dated today.

Mae West is more known for her scandalous quotes than she is for her films. I've asked countless individuals who quote her whether or not they have seen any films of hers, and the usual response is no. But, to them, she represents sexual liberation. 

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Mae West is more known for her scandalous quotes than she is for her films. I've asked countless individuals who quote her whether or not they have seen any films of hers, and the usual response is no. But, to them, she represents sexual liberation. 

 

Agree. The sexuality she projected was brazen, played more for naughty laughs than titillation. Certainly nothing romantic.

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Agree. The sexuality she projected was brazen, played more for naughty laughs than titillation. Certainly nothing romantic.

Still, there is nothing wrong with sexual liberation. I am pretty sure her comfort in her own sexuality was surely enough reason for all those barren church groups and those uptight citizens to form the Legion of Decency and reinforce that Production Code stronger. 

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Unlike some other individuals whose image has not dated well, I've never been a huge fan of Mae West, and I definitely think that she qualifies for this list. I feel as if most of her film appearances were done to add a quick dash of excitement and suggestiveness to a film, rather than as a showcase for any acting. And as others have mentioned, her screen persona was very.....obvious; there was no sense of mystery or nuance. Nonetheless, I do wonder if her image has dated because modern audiences are so used to blatant sexuality. Just a thought.

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No, you're thinking of Willard Waterman, who sounded almost exactly like Harold Peary.  Waterman DOES slightly resemble Brisbane but was MUCH more talented!

 

They both played "The Great Gildersleeve." Peary had the role on the radio, in the movies and in the first television incarnation. Waterman replaced Peary on TV in the mid-1950s.

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Unlike some other individuals whose image has not dated well; I've never been a huge fan of Mae West, and I definitely think that she qualifies for this list. I feel as if most of her film appearances were done to add a quick dash of excitement and suggestiveness to a film, rather than as a showcase for any acting. And as others have mentioned, her screen persona was very.....obvious; there was nonsense of mystery or nuance. Nonetheless, I do wonder if her image has dated because modern audiences are so used to blatant sexuality. Just a thought.

 

I think it's more because unlike nearly every other leading actress of her time, it's almost literally impossible to imagine that any of Hollywood's leading men would ever have been physically attracted to her.  I know that her films are all just comedies, but to me it's one of those Six Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast moments every time I see someone like Cary Grant sidling up to her.  All I can do when I see that is to think that the man is drunk.

 

Now W. C. Fields, on the other hand....yeah, I can see that.

Chickadee2.jpg

 

 

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Unlike some other individuals whose image has not dated well; I've never been a huge fan of Mae West, and I definitely think that she qualifies for this list. I feel as if most of her film appearances were done to add a quick dash of excitement and suggestiveness to a film, rather than as a showcase for any acting. And as others have mentioned, her screen persona was very.....obvious; there was nonsense of mystery or nuance. Nonetheless, I do wonder if her image has dated because modern audiences are so used to blatant sexuality. Just a thought.

 

She kinda comes across as a transfer from Vaudeville.

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Unlike some other individuals whose image has not dated well; I've never been a huge fan of Mae West, and I definitely think that she qualifies for this list. I feel as if most of her film appearances were done to add a quick dash of excitement and suggestiveness to a film, rather than as a showcase for any acting. And as others have mentioned, her screen persona was very.....obvious; there was nonsense of mystery or nuance. Nonetheless, I do wonder if her image has dated because modern audiences are so used to blatant sexuality. Just a thought.

 

I think it's more because unlike nearly every other leading actress of her time, it's almost literally impossible to imagine that any of Hollywood's leading men would ever have been physically attracted to her.  I know that her films are all just comedies, but to me it's one of those Six Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast moments every time I see someone like Cary Grant sidling up to her.  All I can do when I see that is to think that the man is drunk.

 

Now W. C. Fields, on the other hand....yeah, I can see that.

 

 

Well with Fields you can see him with Mae West because Fields was drunk!  

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I know that her films are all just comedies, but to me it's one of those Six Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast moments every time I see someone like Cary Grant sidling up to her.  All I can do when I see that is to think that the man is drunk.

 

Well I'm a converted Mae West fan. It took my 40's to understand what she's about.

 

West just capitalizes on the idea that many men can be led astray by the promise, just the idea they can score some easy s e x. She gives the illusion that she "puts out" willingly and that titillates her audience. 

 

In my 20's I was insulted by that idea....now I think it's lighthearted & funny. Human nature.

 

A perfect example is in her performance in recently broadcast BELLE OF THE 90'S. She's heralded (in the movie) as the "most exciting & talented performance artist of all time!" so all the men flock to her stage show.

(the posters outside the venue show her in a slinky curve revealing dress, while most women of the day wore layers of covering)

 

We then see the stage show ourselves: tableaus of crazy backgrounds (butterfly wings, spider legs, a rose) with Mae standing still in the middle, as if posing for a photo. She does NOTHING. She doesn't sing, dance or anything. She just stands there for the audience to feast their eyes on her "beauty".

 

"The "most exciting & talented performance artist of all time"? It's a JOKE. Unfortunately, a joke on the men, but they still hoop & holler & enjoy the show!

 

As for a young handsome guy like Cary Grant sidling up to her- I see lots of goofy 20 year old guys desperate for their first experience with a woman falling all over girls they'd never really want otherwise. They just see these girls as "easy" so they give it a go. Same thing.

 

I do wonder if her image has dated because modern audiences are so used to blatant sexuality. 

 

Interesting point. Maybe that's why I just didn't "get" her at first.

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It wasn't just Mae's image that got her point across. A lot of the "promise" she held out to men came through her dialogue, which she had a real genius for putting a sexual spin on. Case in point: the "Is that a gun in your pocket?" line is still quoted today by people who maybe couldn't pick Mae out of a lineup but who know a great line when they hear one. She made men feel like she had something they couldn't get anywhere else and, more importantly, there was no shame in their wanting it. She knew how to "tickle" men in more ways than one.

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