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Posted under: Opinion

19 Sex symbols from the past who were slept on

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For every Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, you will find a Pam Grier and Billy Dee Williams. Sex symbols of the yesteryear, there were plenty to go around, but only a few earned true mainstream success. Checkout this list of stars who our parents, and our parents' parents, were thirsty over.

1. Lola Falana

Photo: lipstickalley
Photo: lipstickalley
Photo: lipstickalley Sammy Davis Jr. gave Ms. Falana her first big break. This dancer, singer and actress would take her talents to Broadway and eventually to Italy in the 1960's and 1970's. Sticking with show business well into the late 1980's, Lola entertained her way into the object of every man's affection.

2. Dorothy Dandridge

Photo: theredlist.com
Photo: theredlist.com
Photo: theredlist.com Sultry moves and a voice to match, Dorothy Dandridge is credited as the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress thanks to her show-stopping performance in Carmen Jones. Ladies, this is red lip goals.

3. Richard Roundtree

Photo: Shaft
Photo: Shaft
Photo: Shaft Mary Jane Paul's daddy used to be fine. Yes, the patriarch on Being Mary Jane once thrilled and took out jive turkey criminals in the cult classic blaxploitation film, Shaft. The former model turned actor had a way with the ladies. In real life, Roundtree was a bad mother (shut your mouth) with sex appeal for days.

4. Lena Horne

Photo: Evans/Ronald Grant
Photo: Evans/Ronald Grant
Photo: Evans/Ronald Grant A smile that lit any room she entered. Lena Horne was a Cotton Club alum and civil rights activist. Just before a World War II performance, Lena refused to go on because the soldiers were segregated. Woke and sexy. Our modern day example of bae goals.

5. Jayne Kennedy

Photo: ozy.com
Photo: ozy.com
Photo: ozy.com Jayne Kennedy's resume includes plenty of Jet, Ebony and Essence covers. And, she has a spot in history as the first Black woman to win the crown of Miss Ohio and one of the first black woman sportscasters in the country.

6. Eartha Kitt

earthakitt
earthakitt
A purr and prowl like no other. Eartha Kitt is the voice that seduced Santa Claus and brought Batman to his knees as Catwoman. And, she was very outspoken about the Vietnam War. Her social conscious levels were at peak levels and most notable are her eyebrows, always perched to the heavens.

7. Teddy Pendergrass

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images OG panty dropper. Teddy Pendergrass had so many draws thrown at him, that he could've opened his own Victoria's Secret. Every R&B male vocalist to follow has taken notes from Teddy P. His voice was as smooth as silk. And his stage presence, whew, like no other. Teddy made it okay to Turn Off the Lights, baby.

9. Lonette McKee

Photo: lipstickalley.com
Photo: lipstickalley.com
Photo: lipstickalley.com The beauty and rawness as lead in Sparkle are what made heads turned for Lonette McKee. A string of film and music credits is what made her a Black household name. Dawning a slim figure and full body hair, Lonette performed with desirable confidence.

10. Jim Brown

Photo: 100 Rifles From NFL player to lead actor, Jim Brown did a 180 in his career during the late 1960's. His love scene opposite Raquel Welch is known as one of the first interracial romances on screen. This Pro Football Hall of Famer showcased his strength on and off screen, for many decades. There's just something about that strong jawline. Whew.

11. Taimak

Photo: iamtaimak.com
Photo: iamtaimak.com
Photo: iamtaimak.com Is there an Oscar for "Best Aged Actor"? If so, Taimak would blow out the competition. Remembered primarily for his sleek martial arts moves in The Last Dragon, Taimak is a skilled actor and black belt. Appearing in small TV roles over the years, he maintained that toned physique.

12. Phyllis Hyman

Photo: mtv.com
Photo: mtv.com
Photo: mtv.com Her plump, vivacious lips deserve a hall of fame all their own. Phyllis Hyman captivated audiences with her glamorous wardrobe and soulful music throughout the 1970's and 80's. Starting off her career as a fashion model and actress, this Tony award nominee soon blew the industry away with her beauty and ballads.

13. Frankie Lymon

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Don't let his size fool you. Frankie Lymon had women throwing themselves at him, even beyond the grave. The inspiration behind Why Do Fools Fall in Love immediately stole the spotlight at a young age. His choir boy routine kept the ladies weak at the knees.

14. Tamara Dobson

Photo: LIFE Magazine Meet Cleopatra Jones. Standing at 6' 2'', Tamara Dobson is one of the queens of Blaxploitation. Her racy wardrobe and on-screen fighting tactics left men wondering if they were in love or needed a protective order. Mother did not play. Although her acting career was short-lived, Dobson modeled in a slew of photos. Her curves and long legs were instant show stoppers.

15. David Ruffin

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Collectively, The Temptations were R&B sex symbols, but it was David Ruffin who gave the others a run for their money with the ladies. Maybe it was his ego or possibly the voice, yet D. Ruffin often capitalized off of his swag to win over audiences.

16. Big Daddy Kane

Photo: Warner Bros.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Photo: Warner Bros. Big Daddy Kane is one of the few rappers from the golden age who exuded a sexual persona with edgy lyrics. With his stream of provocative photos (I can't unsee them) and smooth flow, women threw themselves at him before, during and after shows. And, he was there for the touchdown. Big Daddy Kane made no qualms about his mission to please the ladies.

17. Ron O'Neal

Photo: Super Fly
Photo: Super Fly
Photo: Super Fly Before you knew him as Whitley Gilbert's personal money bags (her daddy), Ron O'Neal burst on the scene as the slick talking Super Fly. He is in the original gangsta clique. As a talented writer, director and actor, O'Neal kept busy in the 70's glory years of Blaxploitation films. His strut, laid relaxer, and ways with the ladies, became a persona all its own and was quickly replicated his films.

18. Fred Williamson

Photo: Tumblr Mr. Williamson aka "The Hammer", like Jim Brown spent his years pre-Hollywood as a pro-football player. He played the macho, charismatic guy that exuded a little bit of sexy. Williamson wasn't afraid to go shirtless, time after time, which was never too much.

19. Josephine Baker

Photo: jawbreaker.nyc
Photo: jawbreaker.nyc
Photo: jawbreaker.nyc Where to begin? Josephine Baker was every man's pin-up dream come true. Unafraid to go bare, she presented many risque moments in her public and personal life. As one of the first Black women to appear on film, Ms. Baker entertained with her voice and sensuality. But, she was more than just a beauty. She is well known for her international activism. The NAACP named May 20th, "Josephine Baker Day"France showed her love, too. She became the first American woman buried in France with military honors. Another woke bae.

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