Hands up all you redheads! You may well be raising your hands but isn’t your hair bleached white blonde now? Or perhaps you’ve dyed it dark brown? Or worse still, black? You’re a redhead in denial all right, but now it’s time to come out of the closet as we salute the most gorgeous redheads of all time. Martha Hayes has our top ten flame-haired vixens.

They’re in no particular order, it was hard enough narrowing the list down to ten, but we’ve resisted the temptation to include Jessica Rabbit, Wilma Flintstone and Pippi Longstocking to sift out the real vintage starlets of the stage and screen. They’re all inspirational, unforgettable and entirely unique, and most of them, as fiery as their hair colour!

clara

 

Clara Bow (1905-1965)

This lady makes us want to wear flapper dresses every day, replace our DVD collection with purely silent films and definitely dye our hair red.

The darling of the roaring Twenties, she hit the big time with It (1927) in which she was described as having, ‘that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes…entirely unself-conscious…full of self-confidence…indifferent to the effect…she is producing and uninfluenced by others.’ She is the original ‘It’ girl.

 

 

ritaRita Hayworth (1918-1987)

Though best remembered for her now legendary one-glove striptease in Gilda (1946) oozing sex appeal in a satin gown, Rita Haywood was actually very shy when the cameras stopped rolling, not to mention a very talented straight actress.

Her first big role came after signing to Warner Brothers in 1941. The film? The Strawberry Blonde!

 

1935-dixie-hepburnKatharine Hepburn (1907-2003)

The embodiment of sex appeal in a satin gown and the most successful redhead in our shortlist, Katharine Hepburn was nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars no less than 12 times and took home four of the awards.

Apart from her success as at the Academy Awards, who could forget her 25-year partnership with Spencer Tracy and the unmistakable chemistry ignited on screen that spanned more than eight films?

 

 

bette_davis_52Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Despite an early love of dance, Bette Davis was destined to be a star on the screen. After winning some very strong and complex roles throughout the Thirties, her fate was sealed.

She became well-known as much as critically acclaimed in her hey day as Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934). But Bette was one fiery starlet who wasn’t about to disappear, she won a whole new legion of fans in the Sixties in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.

 

maureenoharatributeMaureen O’Hara (1920)

Maureen O’Hara was so captivating in her prime, that Hermet T Kalmus, creator of the Technicolor process, practically used her long glossy red hair and distinctively beautiful green eyes to sell his invention.

So it’s no surprise she became known as ‘The Queen Of Technicolor’ in the Forties and Fifties in films such as The Redhead From Wyoming (1952) and she’s still a queen today!

 

3117Deborah Kerr (1921-2007)

Scottish actress Deborah Kerr with her porcelain skin and red curls is the ultimate British beauty in our line up. In over 50 films across four decades of cinema, she’s done it all – from prim-and-proper to sensual and sexy.

See her and Burt Lancaster on the beach From Here to Eternity (1953) for evidence of the latter.

 

 

lucilleLucille Ball (1911 – 1989)

We love Lucille! The American comedy actress rose to fame in the sitcom she created with her real-life husband Desi Arnaz, ‘I Love Lucy’ (1951-1957).

The striking redhead struck gold with the series which was groundbreaking at the time – the first American TV show to star a female and one of the first US shows to show a pregnant woman.

 

 

609087atlantic-city-beauty-contest-winner-venus-ramey-postersVenus Ramey (1924)

Who could forget the first red haired Miss America. Venus Ramey won the title in 1944 and went on to compete as Miss District of Columbia as well as help Washington D.C win suffrage in 1945.

She’s the ultimate fiery redhead – only in 2007 she confronted intruders who entered a building on her farm and shot down their tyres!

 

mitzi-gaynor-3Mitzi Gaynor (1931)

With a name like Mitzi Gaynor, this redhead was bound to make headline news. Imagine if she’d gone by her full name, Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber.

By 1956 the press were proclaiming, ‘Suddenly She’s Sexy!’ and ‘Mother Made Me Sexy’ and the actress and singer, who still performs today at the age of 77, became the ultimate flame-haired pin-up.

 

ginger_rogersGinger Rogers (1911-1995)

Ginger by name, ginger by… actually Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath.

Though the Thirties starlet is synonymous with dance partner Fred Astaire, with whom she made ten musical films, she notched up film roles and critical acclaim over the years all by herself, notably scooping the academy award for Beat Actress in Kitty Foyle (1940).

19 Responses

  1. Stephanie Round

    Yes, red heads are wonderful.
    I am naturally blonde, but I’ve been Auburn for a while now 🙂

    Reply
  2. rachel

    I’m so glad you have Clara Bow on here. No one usually remembers her.
    I love her to death!

    Reply
  3. Mike

    Great list, although I’m a little disappointed that my favorite redhead didn’t make the list:

    Myrna Loy.

    Reply
  4. Stuart

    An excellent list!.
    A few years ago, whilst browsing through a book about Hollywood, the statement was made that Lucille Ball’s skin tone was so near to perfect that it was used as the benchmark for the Technicolor process, I would not be surprised.

    Reply
  5. Carolanne

    And to think I was once teased mercilessly for my red hair! Now I am voluntarily enhancg via chemicals ( or, simply put, dying) my hair to an even more vibrant red ctake that bullies!!

    Reply
  6. Shona

    Neither Rita or Lucille were natural reds sadly. Still, being a red I’m glad they helped populise it as an attractive colour to have.

    Reply
  7. Loretta

    Nice list. However I thought it was going to be Natural redheads. AH well!
    I too would like to know why Myrna Loy and Susan Hayward were forgotten!

    Reply
  8. Noemi

    I am naturally raven-haired, but I have always been obsessed with red hair since I was a young child (even my cabbage patch kid had red “hair”). I’ve been a red-head for several years and will always be. Both Rita Hayworth (also naturally raven-haired) and Clara Bow are my favorite actresses.

    I have to ask, though, why is Myrna Loy (aka Nora Charles) left of this list? I thought for sure she would be on here.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.