The life of a soldier can be a lonely one, but the rise of the photograph brought a new way for soldiers to feel a little bit less isolated: the pinup girl! These buxom ladies provided great solace for an entire generation of young men who were so very far away from home. Their winsome smiles were available to men of all colors and creeds, of handsome gents and dapper Dans as well as hard luck palookas who looked like they'd gotten their faces run over by a Tiger tank. There was no discrimination. But the boys discriminated, that's for sure! They each had their favorite Hollywood lady to hang in their locker and whisper sweet nothings to.
War is a devastating business, and these pinups gave a bunch of poor American kids something to dream about. For a few minutes' work, these actresses gave an awful lot of happiness to some young soldiers who were very far away from home. And to have done that for some scared kids who were thrust into the fight of their lives, that was a true kindness, probably more than the actresses and models themselves ever knew.
How many of these locker room goddesses do you recognize? From models, to dancers, to stars of the silver screen, they're all here. Can you identify these WW2 pinups?
Katharine Hepburn was arguably the greatest actress Hollywood ever knew. She won no less than four Academy Awards for Best Actress, and kept acting over an extraordinary career ranging fifty years!
Lucille Ball was of course far more than a pinup queen- although she certainly was that- with I Love Lucy she became the unquestioned first lady of American comedy, and has left a legacy that inspires millions of girls today!
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress known for her extraordinary versatility. She starred in such films as Morocco (1930), Shanghai Express (1932), and Desire (1936), and was extremely popular due to her so-called "exotic" appearance.
Betty Grable was an extraordinary actress, whose films earned around $100 million over the course of the '30s and '40s. She was consistently ranked as the most highly paid American woman.
Ava Gardner's breakout role was in The Killers, but her looks ensured that she drew a lot of attention even before that. It was said of her- "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, she's terrific!".
Lauren Bacall began as a model, but her distinctive looks and voice would catapult her to movie stardom. Her breakout role was opposite Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not, and she is still thought of as one of the finest Hollywood actresses of all time.
Esther Williams was an actress, yes, but she was unusual in that she was also a competitive swimmer! The latter actually led to her status as a pinup sensation, as her swimming career resulted in many pictures of her in bathing suits floating around, and those pictures were unsurprisingly popular with men.
Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress, but she was also an extraordinary inventor. She invented a system of wireless communication that was used for guiding torpedoes, and the principles of her work are used today in Bluetooth technology.
Jean Harlow was the kind of actress who was classified as a "Blonde Bombshell." She relied a great deal on her sex appeal, using it as part of her image, so it is no surprise that she was a very popular pinup!
June Haver was once groomed to be the next Betty Grable, but, as she was much shorter, she was known glibly as the "Pocket Grable"! In point of fact, when the two worked together on The Dolly Sisters, they didn't get along well.
Rita Hayworth was a top flight Hollywood actress, and arguably the number one pinup girl for all of WW2! She was particularly famous for acting in the musical Cover Girl, which she starred in with Gene Kelly.
Jane Russell was a Hollywood leading lady, but she was particularly famous for her voluptuous figure, and a particular photo of her from The Outlaw cemented her role as a pinup star!
Carole Lombard was known as the master of "screwball comedy," a genre in which her energetic style excelled. She also is noted for starring in Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Unfortunately, an airplane crash cut her career tragically short.
One of the most incredible actresses of all time, Bette Davis won Best Actress twice, and was the first female President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was forthright in her manner, and more than willing to take challenging or unconventional roles to demonstrate her versatility as an actress.
Lena Horne is one of the few African Americans on this list, and was a well-regarded performer who made her way into numerous small roles in Hollywood. Tragically, she ended up being blacklisted during the Red Scare.
Shelley Winters won Academy Awards both for The Diary of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue. Later in her life, she actually spent several years working on the sitcom Roseanne!
Besides the extraordinary beauty that led to her fame, Ida Lupino is also known for her work as director and a producer: she was literally the only woman in 1950s Hollywood to accomplish that!
Ginger Rogers was an extraordinary actress and dancer, known for the work she did with her partner, Fred Astaire. Her role in Kitty Foyle won her the Oscar for Best Actress.
Constance Bennett was a famous actress, and her heyday was the 1930s, during which she was the highest paid actress for a time. She is best known for her role in What Price Hollywood?
Irene Dunne was both an actress and a singer, known for her movie work in the 1930s. She managed to be nominated for Best Actress on no less than five separate occasions, but never secured a win.
Olivia de Havilland was an Academy Award-winning actress who split her time between stage and silver screen. She is perhaps best known for her performance in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Joan Fontaine starred in Hitchock's Rebecca, and was also famous for being the younger sister of Olivia de Havilland. She received three best actress nominations at the academy awards.
Veronica Lake's unique hairstyle became her trademark, and she saw success with the film Sullivan's Travels. Unfortunately, she was to fall prey to alcoholism, an addiction that would eventually lead to her early death.
Vivian Leigh, as lively as her namesake, was an actress whose stunning performance as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind won her an Academy Award for best actress. She was also famous for her performance as the lead in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Bettie Page was the unquestioned queen of pinups, and unlike many of the others on this list, that was her main focus. She also was one of the first Playboy Playmates. In later life, she suffered with mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.
Dorothy Lamour is an American actress and singer who was famous for her performance in much-loved comedies like Road to Singapore and The Road to Hong Kong, in both of which she starred with Bing Crosby.
Gene Tierney was a stunning beauty but also a talented actress, being nominated for the academy award for Best Actress for her role in Leave Her to Heaven. She became a heavy smoker and suffered from manic depression throughout her career, however, and the smoking would lead to her death.
Ann Sheridan's rise in Hollywood was prompted by her being voted the girl with the most "oomph" in Hollywood, leading to her getting the nickname "The Oomph Girl". She received as many as 250 marriage proposals from fans in a single week!
Cyd Charisse was an extremely skilled dancer who leveraged that skill, along with her beauty, into work in the movie industry. Her most noted role was Singin' in the Rain, and she performed with such luminaries as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
Vivian Blaine was famous for portraying Miss Adelaide in the musical theater production of Guys and Dolls. She later starred in the film, too, where she played across from Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra.
Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman won no less than three Academy Awards across her storied career, and given her turn as Ilsa in Casablanca it is no surprise that she went on to adorn many swooning soldiers' lockers!
Paulette Goddard was a Ziegfeld girl and Hollywood star, and she also chose fascinating men to marry, having been married at one time to Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich Maria Remarque!
Greta Garbo was an actor of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and made the transition from silent actress to the spoken word. She was nominated for Best Actress on three separate occasions, and is best remembered for her performance in Camille.
Joan Bennett was a silent movie actress who ran the whole gamut of roles available to women at the time: from ingenue to femme fatale to mother figure. She was often compared to Hedy Lamarr.
Joan Leslie starred in such films as High Sierra, Sergeant York, and Yankee Doodle Dandy. She tired of being portrayed as an ingenue, and was also deeply concerned about being portrayed in a moral way in her films.
Donna Reed would later become famous as the warm mother on the Donna Reed show, but she previously had a Hollywood career and was loved as a pinup girl by many a lonely sailor and soldier!
Lana Turner was a Hollywood It girl, and one of the highest paid actresses in America. She starred in numerous films in the 1940s, including Somewhere I'll Find You, where she worked with Clark Gable.
Claire Trevor was a famous and well-regarded actress who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film Key Largo. She appeared in over 60 separate films!
Marie McDonald was an American actress and model who was nicknamed "the body" for her shapely physique. She was married seven times, which meant that she was frequently in the Hollywood spotlight due to the constant romantic rumors surrounding her.
Carole Landis was an actress who became famous through her role in One Million BC. She was known as "The Ping Girl" and "The Chest" due to her figure, which was why she was a popular pinup girl.