While doing research on Charles Coburn, I came across an August 27, 1950 article titled “Moviedom’s Sexiest Sextet Hand-Picked in Hollywood,” which asked 6 Hollywood men who the sexiest woman in Hollywood was. Without further ado, here are the ladies who are so hot they set the furniture they’re leaning against on fire (snippets and quotes from the article are in italics).

“Film Capital Lady Killers Make Choices”

Blonde menace Richard Widmark, a frequent noir bad boy, picked smoldering beauty Linda Darnell.

“Ummm-look at those brown eyes. Lind is sexy all the time, not just from 9 to 6 like so many film beauties,” explained Widmark.

35 year old Widmark was relatively new on the scene with less than 10 films under his belt, though he had made an immediate splash, while 26 year old Darnell was a screen veteran at that point. Of course, it was only a coincidence that their film together No Way Out, had just premiered less than two weeks earlier, but who’s keeping track? Darnell considered No Way Out one of the best films she ever made, but her career went into decline afterwards despite of it.

Linda Darnell and Richard Widmark in No Way Out (1950), image from IMDB.com


Richard Basehart picked the coy and diamond clad Paulette Goddard.

Why? “Just sex,” to which Goddard replied, “Isn’t he a love?”

Basehart, another predominantly noir actor, was just starting out while Goddard’s career was nearly over. They both needed a boost, though I don’t think it’s even a bit of a stretch to think of the gorgeous Goddard at 40 as sexy. Unlike Widmark and his pick Darnell, there seems to be no ulterior motive in Basehart’s pick of Goddard, who at that point had left her studio Paramount and was freelancing while Basehart was on MGM’s roster.


Suave smoothie Ray Milland, a lead actor mostly in the 1940s and still going strong in the ’50s, picked 49 year old Agnes Moorehead, who usually plays the intense, shrill voiced psychotic. The heavy lidded, aristocratic looking Moorehead was hot stuff, according to Milland, because she was, “very intelligent – she has reddish hair – she’s quite beautiful.” 


Handsome young bronzed hope Scott Brady picked sweet Dorothy Malone who demurred, “Maybe Scott thinks so because I love life so much.” At the time of the article, Brady and Malone had been at item for a few months and would continue their relationship on and off until 1966. This didn’t stop either one from pursuing other relationships and the papers were filled with Brady’s many romances while Dorothy even fit a marriage in there (in 1962 to French actor Jacques Bergerac). They starred together in the 1962 film The Untouchables and Brady was reported as one of the Hollywood stars waiting anxiously by Malone’s bedside in 1965 following  a complication during an operation.

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Scott Brady and Dorothy Malone on vacation


Elderly rogue who whistles at cheesecake cuties, Charles Coburn picked his onscreen amour in the 1950 film LouisaSpring Byington. The delightfully dubbed glitter granny Byington explained her sexiness was a product of deep breathing, daily exercise, controlling ones temper, and reading philosophy. This regimen also worked for those classic babes Aristotle and Descartes.

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Spring Byington is wooed by Charles Coburn in Louisa (1950)


Newlywed Paul Douglas picked his platinum blonde bomber wife Jan Sterling, who he had just married two months previously. Douglas was new to the screen, coming off of a career in radio and Broadway to begin appearing in films in 1949. Sterling would hit er stride in films following this article and would be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1954. The two reveled in each other’s sexiness until Douglas’ sudden death of a heart attack in 1959.

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Husband and wife Paul Douglas and Jan Sterling

“Wow, Jan has the full equipment to out-Harlow Harlow,” Douglas declared.

Jan just laughed and purred:

“I credit it all to champagne showers.”

You said it, Jan.




Marsh, Maralyn. “Moviedom’s Sexiest Sextet Hand-Picked in HollywoodM.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 27 Aug. 1950.