Steve McQueen, Hollywood bad boys

Paramount Pictures via IMDb

Harrison Ford

Welcome to the Hollywood bad boys club! This actor is most recognizable for his roles as adventurer Indiana Jones (pictured here) and Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise. Known for his lone wolf, “cowboyesque” attitude, Han Solo was the captain of the Millennium Falcon and leader of the Rebel Alliance.

Han Solo is also known for the onscreen romance with Carrie Fisher’s character, Princess Leia Organa.

Harrison Ford, Hollywood bad boysHarrison Ford, Hollywood bad boys
Lucasfilm Ltd and TM via IMDb

Little did fans know when Star Wars first came onto the scene in the late ‘70s that Ford and Fisher had a real life romance that wasn’t that romantic …

Their affair started after a drunken cast and crew party when Ford was married with children, Fisher detailed in her memoir Princess Diarist. Scandalous!

Peter Fonda

He comes from “Hollywood royalty,” his father being the famous Henry Fonda and his sister Jane Fonda. Fonda’s best known for his role as Wyatt, the stars and stripes get-up wearing biker in Easy Rider.

The film co-stars Dennis Hopper as Billy, a fringe-jacket wearing biker who travels with Wyatt to New Orleans.

Peter Fonda, Hollywood bad boysPeter Fonda, Hollywood bad boys
Columbia Pictures via IMDb

After the 1969 film, Fonda more or less stayed out of the spotlight until his role as a reserved beekeeper in Ulee’s Gold, says a report in Independent. Until then, he “bought a yacht and led a life of excess for the next decade, never (equaling) the success or esteem of Easy Rider.”

Tom Selleck

Thomas William Selleck, known professionally as Tom Selleck, is perhaps best known for his role as private investigator Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I.

It was a role that might have cost him the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which went to fellow actor Harrison Ford.

Tom Selleck, Hollywood bad boysTom Selleck, Hollywood bad boys
Alan Light via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Selleck is known as a “man’s man,” a rugged actor that plays the tough guy roles. Thus qualifying him for entrance to the Hollywood bad boys list.

He’s also known for being a heartthrob among audiences, having been selected by People magazine in 1998 as one of “50 Most Beautiful People.”

Burt Reynolds

Actor Burt Reynolds was discovered working on the set of Mister Roberts in New York City, NY, then went on to shows like Gunsmoke and Hawk.

He was best known as “both a rugged action figure and then as a wisecracking, Southern type of ‘good ol’ boy,’” reads his bio on IMDb.

Burt Reynolds, Hollywood bad boysBurt Reynolds, Hollywood bad boys
Alan Light via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Not only did Reynolds have that bad boy edge, he possessed great comedic timing and acting skills.

“Burt has tremendous comic talent,” Jon Voight, Reynolds’ Deliverance co-star, told Vanity Fair in 2015. “He established a new light-comedy form. Nobody had ever done the good-ol’-boy, Huck Finn thing.”

Dennis Hopper

Peter Fonda’s Easy Rider co-star, Dennis Hopper, was basically blacklisted in Hollywood after talking back to Louis B. Meyer. However, Hopper managed to appear in over 100 films during his 50 year career. It was that rebel attitude that drew fans in, however.

He started off with stage work but then landed a role in Rebel Without A Cause.

Dennis Hopper, Hollywood bad boysDennis Hopper, Hollywood bad boys
Easy Rider via Insomnia Cured Here via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

On set, Hopper became pals with fellow bad boy actor, James Dean.

John Farr wrote in Huffington Post: “There’s always an intriguing danger lurking behind his lazy, laconic Midwestern drawl … He projects the spirit of a hellion- slightly erratic and unhinged perhaps, but also refreshingly honest, authentic and brilliantly alive.”

Marlon Brando

Whether you love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: Actor Marlon Brando lived a wild and fast life.

He’s likely best known as the Godfather in The Godfather series, but was a total Hollywood stud before that iconic role.

Marlon Brando, Hollywood bad boysMarlon Brando, Hollywood bad boys
Lou via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Brando made waves in films like A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront.

Besides being a heartthrob on-screen, Brando was known as a womanizer. There’s proof too — he was the father of 11 children. (And no, they don’t all have the same mom …)

Bruce Lee

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino drew some flack from Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon, for portraying the late actor (played by Mike Moh in the film) as “arrogant.”

Tarantino stands by the portrayal, saying that Lee really was arrogant in real life, reads a report in IndieWire.

Bruce Lee, Hollywood bad boysBruce Lee, Hollywood bad boys
ABC Photo Archive/American Broadcasting Companies Inc. via IMDb

Regardless, the martial arts master’s reputation has grown to mythological levels throughout the years.

He was a rebel in his own right, embracing his Hong Kong heritage. He embodied all the classic definitions of a star, however.

“Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him,” wrote biographer Matthew Polly.

Steve McQueen

Often called “the King of Cool,” Steve McQueen was known for his antihero persona.

McQueen’s first leading role was in The Blob (1958). He quickly rose to stardom, snagging mostly action movie roles. He was in The St. Louis Bank Robbery, Never So Few, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and more.

Steve McQueen, Hollywood bad boysSteve McQueen, Hollywood bad boys
Paramount Pictures via IMDb

McQueen was known for his love of racing, saying “racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.”

He tragically passed away at age 50 from a rare lung cancer. McQueen tried to cure it with various treatments (some unorthodox) to no avail.

Frank Sinatra

Singer and actor Frank Sinatra was the “original heartthrob,” writes Melina Glusac in a 2018 Insider report. Like Steve McQueen, Sinatra also had a nickname — “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” named so after his dreamy baby blues.

“The United States is now in the midst of one of those remarkable phenomena of mass hysteria,” reads a 1945 report in The Guardian.

Frank Sinatra, Hollywood bad boysFrank Sinatra, Hollywood bad boys
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. via IMDb

“Mr. Frank Sinatra… is inspiring extraordinary personal devotion on the part of many thousands of young people,” they continue. (Namely, teenage girls.)

Sinatra is also known for his ties to the Mafia — the FBI actually tracked the crooner for 40 years, reads an entry on (Now that definitely makes him a member of the Hollywood bad boys!)

Clint Eastwood

Actor Clint Eastwood first got his start starring in B movies like Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula and digging swimming pools to support himself.

It was the TV show Rawhide that made Eastwood recognizable to viewers but the A Fistful of Dollars movie series truly launched his career.

Clint Eastwood, Hollywood bad boysClint Eastwood, Hollywood bad boys
Universal Pictures via IMDb

Then of course there’s the Dirty Harry franchise where he stars as police inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan.

Eastwood is known for playing tough guy characters. Off screen, he stands out in Hollywood for his political views and opinions — rebellious for a “left-leaning” town!

James Dean

James Byron Dean was born in the small Midwest town of Marion, Indiana. His mother died when he was 9 years old, and Dean moved back and forth between Indiana and California.

Upon returning to California, Dean studied at UCLA and got into acting. He moved to NYC to pursue acting.

Getty Images photo

Dean was known for his brief yet spectacular career and well as being the embodiment of the film he starred in, Rebel Without a Cause (basically the king of Hollywood bad boys). He represented the rebellious 1950s youth, reads his licensing website.

He died tragically young in a car crash in September 1955.

Johnny Cash

The “Man in Black,” as he’s often called, had a long and storied career. He was known for his tough guy attitude, overcoming adversity, iconic songs like “I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire,” and relationship with fellow country star June Carter.

Johnny Cash’s rise to stardom wasn’t easy, however.

Johnny Cash, Hollywood bad boysJohnny Cash, Hollywood bad boys
ABC Photo Archives/American Broadcasting Companies Inc. via IMDb

Born to Arkansas sharecroppers in the midst of the Great Depression, his “hardscrabble life” informed his life and career, reads the bio on his website. Before breaking into Memphis’ music scene, Cash worked in the U.S. Air Force, a factory, and as a salesman.

Elvis Costello

There were some reports of singer-songwriter Elvis Costello having cancer in 2018 but those were — thankfully — severely overblown. The crooner is alive and well, having recently put out his new album Look Now.

Although he insists he’s “not a rockstar,” he’s known for bangers like “Allison” and “Pump It Up.”

Elvis Costello, Hollywood bad boysElvis Costello, Hollywood bad boys
Jeff Simpson/BBC_Jeff Turner via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Born Declan Patrick Aloysius Macmanus (say that three times fast) in London, U.K., he got into the music industry via London’s pub scenes.

He became known as the “angriest man in music,” writing songs critical of society like “Radio Radio.”

Sean Connery

Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery is known for his distinguishable accent as well as being the original actor to play the womanizing spy James Bond in the 007 franchise.

Connery came from a humble background, having been born in Edinburgh, Scotland to a cleaning lady and factory work/truck driver.

Sean Connery, Hollywood bad boysSean Connery, Hollywood bad boys
Marnie trailer via Wikimedia Commons/public domain

He started to pursue acting at age 23 and scored his first major movie role in No Road Back (1957), reads his IMDb profile. Connery’s breakthrough was, of course, playing James Bond in Dr. No (1962).

Connery’s storied career awarded him various accolades, like being knighted.

Humphrey Bogart

Actor Humphrey Bogart was famous for the swagger and tough guy attitude his characters that he radiated on screen.

When he was young, Bogart got expelled from his high school Philips Academy (as Hollywood bad boys often do) and joined the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Humphrey Bogart, Hollywood bad boysHumphrey Bogart, Hollywood bad boys
kate gabrielle via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Bogart started his acting career with stage performances and acted in minor films. He started making waves in 1941, says his IMDb page, with iconic movies like Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and Key Largo.

Bogart usually appeared as a gangster or a brooding, mysterious character in his films.

Mickey Rooney

“Mickey Rooney (Joseph Yule) was an enfant terrible, brilliant, talented, but driven and erratic,” Stuart Lenig wrote in the Columbia Daily Herald.

After being catapulted into stardom with Boy’s Town and Young Tom Edison, Rooney made more than $12 million. However, he blew it all after making unwise life choices like gambling in Vegas.

Getty Images photo

Rooney was also married eight times, had nine kids, 19 grandchildren, and then who knows how many great-grandchildren.

Aljean Harmetz wrote in the New York Times that he was “impulsive, recklessly extravagant, mercurial and addicted to playing the ponies and shooting craps, he attacked life as though it were a six-course dinner.”

Errol Flynn

“Perhaps no one was better known in Hollywood for playing a swashbuckling hero than Errol Flynn, the original Robin Hood circa 1938,” writes Melina Glusac in Insider.

Unlike the hero he portrayed on screen, actor Errol Flynn led a lavish lifestyle often rife with excessive drinking.

Errol Flynn, Hollywood bad boysErrol Flynn, Hollywood bad boys

A TCM biography describes Flynn having had a “tumultuous marriage,” affairs outside of his marriage (with both genders), and “tabloid-scented biographies.”

Sounds like Flynn was busy both on screen and off screen during his heydays — namely the 1930s and 1940s.

David Bowie

Ah yes, the mysterious “man who fell to Earth.”

Singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie hailed from the United Kingdom, but seemed like an unearthly being to his fans and critics. He was best known for hits like “Ziggy Stardust” and “Rebel Rebel” as well as movies like Labyrinth.

David Bowie, Hollywood bad boysDavid Bowie, Hollywood bad boys
Svensk Filmindustri via IMDb

The late singer always kept fans guessing, whether it was who he was attracted to, what his politics were, what his religion was, etc.

Bowie also shocked audiences with his gender-bending, tight get-up worn for performances, music videos, and on the street. “Rebel Rebel” indeed!

Warren Beatty

“The Prince of Hollywood,” “the Pro,” “Boss” — whatever you want to call him, the fact is that Beatty was one of the most seductive actors in 20th century Hollywood.

Warren Beatty is famous for movies like Bonnie and Clyde (in which he played Clyde Barrow), Bulworth, and Reds.

Warren BeattyWarren Beatty
Globe via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Beatty, who was known for his playboy antics and womanizing ways, shocked the media when he settled down with his co-star from the film Bugsy — Annette Bening.

Their long time marriage garnered a lot of controversies, seeing as there is a shocking 21-year age difference between the two.

Jim Morrison

“I am the lizard king. I can do anything./Whoever controls the media, controls the mind./No one here gets out alive,” singer and poet Jim Morrison once crooned.

Not necessary part of the “Hollywood bad boys” club but definitely a “bad boy, fans loved Morrison’s unique singing voice and spellbinding lyrics but also romanticized the “live fast die young” lifestyle.

Jim Morrison, Hollywood bad boysJim Morrison, Hollywood bad boys
Image via Ed Caraeff/Getty Images

Often an abuser of psychoactive substances, Morrison and his longtime partner Pamela Courson embodied the spirit of the sixties. Angie Pamela writes of that hedonistic lifestyle in Cultura Colectiva: “a life of excess that focused on the present without showing any concern for the future, and above all, the pursuit of pleasure.”

Peter Tosh

Again, not really part of the “Hollywood bad boys” club per say, reggae musician Peter Tosh still possessed that rebellious spirit!

He came onto the world stage as both an activist and artist via Jamaica. You can guess what one of the causes he fought for was judging by the name of his 1976 release — Legalize It! The herb in question was A-OK for Rastafarians but illegal elsewhere.

Getty Images photo

“Peter was no stranger to oppression in his homeland and knew the fight for legalization and equal rights well,” reads the bio on his website. “His music served as a catalyst for a generation to fight for what they believed in.”

John Lennon

British musician John Lennon is best known as one fourth of rock band, The Beatles and for his solo work.

Lennon had a rough upbringing which generated anger “that he sublimated with brilliance and difficulty and an intense need for human connection” reads an entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

John Lennon, Hollywood bad boysJohn Lennon, Hollywood bad boys
Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Lennon was separated from his parents at age 5 and his biological mother died when he was an adolescent.

Lennon began making his political leanings known, particularly his anti-war and feminist sentiments. Because of his anti-Vietnam War activism, the administration at the time wanted to deport him.

Bob Dylan

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been active in music since the 1960s. Well into his 70s, he’s now embarking on a tour in 2020. Good for you, Bob!

Dylan is responsible for a lot of well known protest songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Hurricane.”

Bob Dylan, Hollywood bad boysBob Dylan, Hollywood bad boys
Steve Morley/Redferns via Getty Images

Starting out, Dylan mostly stuck to the folk music scene. But he wasn’t afraid to piss off his fans by “going electric,” making country when psychedelic was popular, or turning to religious music.

Clearly, Dylan’s gonna do what Dylan’s gonna do.

Iggy Pop

Let’s just say that Iggy Pop (born James Newell Osterberg, Jr.) was punk before punk was punk!

Singer Iggy Pop was known not only for songs like “Success” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” but for his wild onstage performances. Shows were awash with frightened excitement, as fans never knew what he would do next.

Iggy Pop, Hollywood bad boysIggy Pop, Hollywood bad boys
Peter Noble/Redferns via Getty Images

An electric lead singer, Iggy Pop didn’t care about landing singles on the radio and once partied so hard he landed in the mental hospital.

Iggy Pop is still going strong today, even getting more commercial and earning the money he didn’t make back in the day.

Joe Strummer

“Joe Strummer spent his life smashing musical and cultural boundaries both as the singer of The Clash and as a solo artist,” reads the bio on his website.

Strummer and his band put out some of the most iconic protest songs — much like Bob Dylan in slide number 22 — like “Know Your Rights.”

Joe StrummerJoe Strummer
@joestrummerofficial via Instagram

“It was Strummer’s politically charged lyrics that helped bring punk to the masses,” reads his bio on his website. “Calling out social injustices and giving a voice to the struggles of the working class, his lyrics struck a chord with legions of fans and the press alike.”

Keith Richards

“It’s a miracle the notoriously debaucherous Rolling Stones guitarist made it into old age,” writes Ryan Bort in a 2014 report in Esquire.

Much like Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, Richards also partied hard and had a great many lady friends and love children.

Getty Images photo

Richards and the rest of the Stones shocked prim and proper England with their dress — long hair, earrings, tight pants, and scarves — and anti-authority, rebel attitude.

Richards was the true punk though: When Jagger was knighted, the guitarist scoffed.

“It’s a shoddy award,” he was reported saying.

Clark Gable

As most Hollywood bad boys would say: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

(Side note: How could Scarlett O’Hara dump Clark Gable’s character Rhett Butler again and again for Leslie Howard? I support Rhett’s dramatic mic drop at the end of the flip.)

Clark Gable, Hollywood bad boysClark Gable, Hollywood bad boys
Warner Home Video. via IMDb

Clark Gable starred in some of the biggest movies of our time, like Gone With the Wind, making women swoon (except for Scarlett O’Hara).

Doris Day put it best: “He was as masculine as any man I’ve ever known, and as much a little boy … it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women.

William Holden

It was actor William Holden’s role in the 1939 movie Golden Boy that would take him to stardom, reads his 1981 obit in the Los Angeles Times. He later took up playing some “hard-bitten” characters in The Bridge On the River Kwai and Stalag 17.

William Holden, Hollywood bad boysWilliam Holden, Hollywood bad boys
Paramount Pictures via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain; Edited by History 101

Holden ended up serving in World War II. He didn’t see action but became a first lieutenant upon graduation from Army Air Force Officers School.

He dipped out of the public eye, living in his homes in Switzerland and Kenya. Holden was a conservationist, helping to preserve big game habitats in Africa.

Rick Moranis

He’s baaaaack!

After taking a leave of absence to raise his children as a single father, Rick Moranis is returning to acting for Shrunk, the sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Although he stepped away from onscreen acting, he still did voice over work.

Rick MoranisRick Moranis
The Geffen Film Company/Warner Bros. via IMDb

(Perhaps you heard him in Disney films like Brother Bear and The Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie?)

He first became a household name with appearances in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Little Shop of Horrors (featured in this photo here).


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