When we see pictures of celebrities, they’re typically walking down the red carpet at an awards ceremony or premiere, aka, they’re “on.” But what happens when all of the pomp and circumstance is done? Rarely do we get to see, let alone hear about, the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood history.
Whether it’s Natalie Wood relaxing during her acting hiatus in the ’70s, or Ozzy Osbourne making funny faces at his newborn son, these photographs froze some of the untold stories of Hollywood’s past.
Ann-Margret Probably Wished She Was Sitting On The Bike
Swedish–American actress and singer Ann-Margret Olsson has had an incredible career that spans over five decades. From working alongside The King, Elvis, to securing a disco hit in 1979, Ann-Margret has made her mark on Hollywood.
But, one thing a lot of people don’t know about the beauty is that she’s been riding motorcycles since the ’60s! We can guess that look on her face in the picture means to tell former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath to let her show him how to ride correctly.
Olivia Newton-John Didn’t Care What Others Thought
Olivia Newton-John was a big star throughout the 1970s, releasing hit after hit and then starring in the critically acclaimed film Grease. And while she, like any artist, is open to constructive criticism, she doesn’t necessarily care what others think of her music.
This was made very clear when Randy Newman said her song “I Honestly Love You” was boring. Newton-John came back, saying, “that’s his personal taste. I wouldn’t sing anything I hated. I have to like it, or I wouldn’t sing it.”
Jack Nicholson Was Scared Of Michelle Phillips’ Ex-Boyfriend
Before Jack Nicholson became a Hollywood star, he was trying to make his way in Hollywood. Then, everything changed for him in 1970 when he landed the role of Robert “Bobby” Eroica Dupea in Five Easy Pieces.
At the time, Nicholson was dating Michelle Phillips of the folk band The Mamas and the Papas. And while he was very much into Phillips, he was terrified of her ex-boyfriend, Dennis Hopper. So much so that the actor supposedly slept with a hammer under his pillow!
Star Wars Had A Hard Time Getting Featured In Cinemas
In 1977, the opening night of Star Wars had people lining up around the block at the Leicester Square Theatre in London. It quickly became a hit and paved the way for the rest of the franchise to follow.
Ironically, at the time, Fox was having a hard time getting the movie into theaters. As it so happened, cinemas didn’t want to feature a “kiddie movie” like Star Wars. They must have been ecstatic when the film took off as fast as the Millennium Falcon!
John Travolta Showed Princess Diana A Thing Or Two
In 1985, a few celebrities were invited to the White House specifically to dance with Princess Diana. One such celebrity was none other than John Travolta, who, a few years prior, had starred in the film Saturday Night Fever.
So, of course, when the band played the Saturday Night Fever hit “You Should Be Dancing,” he took a chance and brought the princess onto the dance floor. Their dance went a bit better than Clint Eastwood’s, who was very uncomfortable with the ordeal.
Jim Morrison Thought Of The Doors As Politicians
The lead singer of the rock band, The Doors, was surprised when their song “Light My Fire” shot them straight to stardom. And even though he didn’t take his new-found fame overly well, he saw it as a chance to take his audience on a trip with him.
During an interview with Life Magazine, Morrison said, “We’re really politicians. A Doors concert is really a public meeting called by us for a special kind of dramatic discussion and entertainment.”
Barry Gibb’s Brother Didn’t Have His Style Sense
In 1969, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees was awarded the Best Dressed Pop Star by Radio Luxembourg’s 208 People Club. From his sparkly jumpsuit to his silver fox phase, Gibb was always the definition of “dress to impress.”
However, that personality trait didn’t transfer over to his brother, Robin, who would get beef about his long hairstyle. When asked about Robin’s hair, Gibb said, “He won’t talk about it. He’s just got this mental block on the whole subject.”
Don Rickles Hasn’t Cried Since The United States Navy
Comedian Don Rickles has been a personality since the ’50s and is known for his “insult comedy.” Something people tend to forget about the funny man, though, is that he served in the United States Navy, on the USS Cyrene, in the Philippines during World War II.
According to Rickles, being accepted into the Navy was the last time he ever cried. Instead, he dedicated his life to making others laugh and smile with his quick wit.
Elvis Presley, The King Of Rock And Karate
While most people know about Elvis Presley’s storied music career as well as his time in the United States Army, most have no clue that he was the king of something else — karate! Beginning his studies of the martial art in 1958, Elvis was completely himself at the dojo.
Master Kang Rhee of Memphis recalls The King coming in to practice wearing boots instead of working barefoot. He’d also practice using real weapons instead of the fake wooden options.
Willie Nelson Shaved In The ’70s For A Specific Reason
During the ’70s, Willie Nelson was touring nonstop with his band. And while the singer and guitarist is often thought of with a scraggly beard, long hair, and a bandanna headband, he went for a different look in the later years of the decade.
Yup, believe it or not, that above photo is of the one and only Willie Nelson! Apparently, he went ahead and cut his beard and hair because the summer was way too hot.
Clint Eastwood Had An Unexpected Co-Star, An Orangutan
Cint Eastwood went from being the face of a lot of American Western films to the rough-and-tough bad boy of cinema and then to do a movie with an orangutan. No one really saw the latter one coming!
That was kind of the appeal for Eastwood, though. No one was expecting him to do a bare-knuckles boxing movie, let alone one with a furry co-star. As it turned out, the movie had a kiddie appeal to it along with those who enjoy more action-packed films.
Tanya Tucker Was All About Her Charlie’s Angels Hair-Inspo
Tanya Tucker was writing country singles before she was old enough to drive, making her certifiably “outlaw country,” right alongside Willie and Waylon. She is also one of the few stars who can say she’s had the same fanbase from the age of 13 all throughout her career.
We wonder if one of those fans happened to be Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels fame. Tucker certainly had some major Fawcett-inspired hair during the ’70s, as shown above!
Heather Locklear Thought Tom Cruise Was Embarrassing To Be With
With Tom Cruise’s celebrity-packed dating history, many forget that he and actress Heather Locklear briefly dated in 1982 before he made it big. And while he was more than likely infatuated with the Melrose Place actress, Locklear actually thought Cruise was embarrassing to hang out with!
During an interview, she said, “you know in Risky Business where he does that dance in his underwear and does the splits? We were dancing at a club, and he went into that!”
Gina Lollobrigida Doesn’t Consider Old Age Daunting
Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida was in high demand. Her talent on-screen earned her many awards, including six Bambi Awards, three David di Donatellos, and two Nastro d’Argento Awards.
Even though her time as one of Hollywood’s “it girls” is over, she has the courage to face the future proudly. On her 90th birthday, the actress told Hollywood Reporter, “30 plus 30 plus 30. Getting older for a woman is a handicap, but the tough experiences I have had have given me the courage to face the difficulties.”
1970s New York Rock Was A Product Of The Time
In the 1970s, New York was the place to break into the music industry. Bands like The Ramones, The Runaways, and even Blondie were at the forefront, blowing up the scene and changing the way people looked at rock ‘n’ roll forever.
Anthony Bourdain, who was 21 at the time, may have said it best, describing how each of the bands who played together at the CBGB was an “appropriate reaction to the general feeling of hopelessness, absurdity, futility, and disgust of living in New York at the time.”
Kim Basinger Didn’t Think She Was The Right Bond Girl
As it turns out, actresses can be self-conscious about their looks. For Kim Basinger, this was apparent when she walked into a casting meeting for the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.
During a discussion with Interview magazine, Basinger said, “I remember going to that meeting with the producer. I sat there and suggested a lot of other girls in the business for the part because I said, ‘I do not look like that, okay?'” They didn’t care, and she found herself in the Caribbean with Sean Connery!
Tina Louise’s Resume Landed Her The Best Spot In Gilligan’s Credits
Tina Louise’s Ginger was the life of the party on the 1964 television series Gilligan’s Island. She was definitely the most far-out character, which was good for Louise considering her Broadway background.
In fact, it was that Broadway background helped her get a prestigious spot in the first season’s credits. The actress was given the last spot in the credits, a place that was a big deal for Louise.
Clint Eastwood Wasn’t The First Pick For Fistful Of Dollars
While Clint Eastwood is very well-known in the world of Westerns, he wasn’t the first choice for the Italian film Fistful of Dollars. Instead, the producers were set on hiring Charles Bronson and about 20 other actors before giving the part to Eastwood.
As it turns out, he did such a good job that the producers asked him to film a sequel. Once again, they asked Bronson to work on the film, and once again, he declined. The co-star spot eventually went to Lee Van Cleef.
Don Adams Loved Filming Action Shots That Were Edited Out
One show that was bound to have the entire family laughing was the 1995 sitcom Get Smart. Not only was the show full of funky gadgets, but actors Don Adams and Barbara Feldon were quite the dynamic duo.
One fun fact about the show is that Adams loved shooting action sequences even though they were edited out of the final cut. During an interview, executive producer Leonard B. Stern explained how he enjoyed Adams’ gratification doing the scenes, but he often forgot about them by the time the episode aired!
Nancy Kwan Went From Understudy To Leading Lady
Actress Nancy Kwan was the leading lady in the 1960s film The World Of Suzie Wong. The thing is, she wasn’t always cast as such. Actually, she wasn’t cast at all! The original lead was France Nuyen, the actress who played Suzie Wong on Broadway.
Unfortunately, due to some relationship struggles, Nuyen gained weight, and the producers weren’t going to wait around for her to get into shape. So, they fired Nuyen and brought on her Broadway understudy, Kwan.
The Apple Dumpling Gang Kids Were Learning How To Be Actors
The 1975 western comedy The Apple Dumpling Gang was a film that had children giggling along to the antics of Don Knotts and Tim Conway. And while everything seemed to flow on-screen, there were a few mishaps along the way while filming.
Knotts and Conway were experienced actors, and they had to remind themselves that their younger co-stars were just starting out in the industry. According to Knotts, they had to constantly remind the child actors not to say one another’s lines and not to squint at the spotlight.
At First, Burt Reynolds Wasn’t A Confident Actor
Burt Reynolds is known for having a charismatic and easy-going acting style. And while he has been in more than one mega-blockbuster, he wasn’t all that confident in his skills as an actor, especially when it came to long dialogues.
During filming for The Longest Yard, for example, Reynolds was so nervous that director Robert Aldrich allowed him to do one take with the lines in the script and one gimmicky take, just to ease his nerves.
Blondie’s Early Shows Were Chaotic On A Good Day
During New York’s rock ‘n’ roll scene of the ’70s, there was one special band waiting to make it big, Blondie. They thought of their fame as an inevitability, with lead singer Debbie Harry hoping for that big break.
The break came in the form of “Parallel Lines.” But their shows were always crazy. During an interview, Harry described one, saying, “It was real chaotic. It was wonderful. I mean, the place was overcrowded, so they shut us down twice, but we managed to keep on playing.”
Natalie Wood Was The Most Relaxed During Her 1970s Hiatus
Natalie Wood was at a career-high throughout the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. So, no one could really blame her when she went on a bit of a hiatus from Hollywood for the next decade; it was much deserved!
During the time, she rekindled her romance with Robert Wagner, had a child, and even went on a few vacations. Wood’s sister, Lana, stated in her memoir that it was the most relaxed she’d ever seen Natalie.
Ozzy Osbourne Was Re-Finding Himself In The ’80s
By the time 1986 rolled around, Ozzy Osbourne had done many crazy things in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, but he was starting to live a clean life. The change of lifestyle had an effect on his lyrics, as he stated in an interview with Spin.
He said, “I used to write things like ‘flying high again,’ [and] ‘snowblind.’ And the other night, I thought, I sing one song for it and then straight after I sing one song against it.’ But the thing is, that’s OK.”
Stevie Nicks Was All About Freedom And Love In The ’70s
The peace, love, and freedom of the ’60s made its way into the ’70s. And one artist that fell in and out of love more times than she can probably count is singer Stevie Nicks. From members of her band to two of the Eagles, Nicks is all about finding love around the corner.
So, it’s not surprising that when asked who “Secret Love” was written about, she couldn’t remember! She said, “I’m not sure who I wrote it about. Love was everywhere, and we were moving from person to person.”
Brigitte Bardot Found Solace Playing Flamenco Guitar
Brigitte Bardot was one of the faces you were sure to see on-screen during the 1950s. She was making at least two movies per year, mostly in France, since she took a long time to acclimate to different places.
So, it was pretty hard for her while to film Les bijoutiers du clair de lune in Spain. Thankfully, she found a way to make her time better. After filming, Bardot would go out and dance barefoot to flamenco guitars. She even picked up the hobby of playing!
Sharon Stone Used Her Smarts To Gain Stardom
Once upon a time, Sharon Stone wasn’t the most sought after actress in Hollywood. At first, she appeared in films as the femme fatale or damsel in distress character. But, it didn’t take long for her to become a leading lady.
And she did it by using her brain! During an interview with the Independent, Stone said, “I decided because I was a very bookworm person that I had to use my intelligence of how to be sexy. I got Basic Instinct, like five minutes later.”
Lee Strasberg Never Saw Marilyn Monroe As A “Blonde Actress”
During his career, Lee Strasberg was lucky enough to call actors Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando students. At the Actor’s Studio, Strasberg taught both talents all he had to offer in ways of performing.
He was especially impressed by Monroe, who he didn’t think of as just “another blonde Hollywood actress,” but a real talent who was able to channel her sensitivity, bringing something real to each of her performances. The teacher once said that she and Brando were two of the most talented people he ever had the pleasure of teaching.
Chris Cornell’s Just Glad He Wasn’t Compared To Jim Morrison
Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell had quite the career, with a soulful voice and mesmerizing lyrics that made fans go wild. It was 1989 when they came onto the scene, and Spin magazine thought they were going to make it big if they could get over the little hump of being compared to Led Zeppelin.
Ironically, Cornell didn’t mind that comparison and is just happy it wasn’t another particular artist. During an interview with Spin, he said, “it could be worse; they could’ve compared me to Jim Morrison.”