With her star-turning role in 1946's The Killers, North Carolina native Ava Gardner went from pin-up girl to iconic film actress. Although she was considered curvaceous during her day, it is estimated that she would be a women's size 0 today.
Sure, she's tried a juice fast or vegan-ism from time to time in her efforts to slim down, but you don't hear Beyoncé saying she wants to get rid of the curves that helped catapult her into the spotlight. Rather, she is proud her body is bootylicious.
One of the most recognizable sex symbols of the '50s and '60s, French actress Brigitte Bardot gifted the world with timeless fashion trends like bedhead, the Bardot neckline (wide neck that shows off both shoulders) and the bikini.
It wasn't just the show that became a hit when Mad Men premiered in 2007. Actress Christina Hendricks, who plays wily secretary Joan Harris, enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence too — as much for her amazing body and self-confidence as for her immense talent.
Considered one of the greatest actresses of Hollywood's "Golden Age," Elizabeth Taylor brought her curves to the big screen in famous films like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Cleopatra in the late '50s and early '60s. Although her hourglass shape earned her the label curvy, she was actually only a size 4 by today's standards.
Jane Russell's voluptuous figure helped herald a new era of acceptance in Hollywood for curvier women. While the actress' dress size remains unknown, her measurements were reportedly 38-27-37, and she was said to be more curvaceous than Marilyn Monroe.
During her heyday in the '50s, Jayne Mansfield's claim to fame was her exaggerated hourglass figure — most notably her ample natural bust (her measurements have been reported as 40-21-35). Today, her beauty lives on through her daughter, Law and Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay.
Who can forget the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2000 when rising star Jennifer Lopez showed up on the arm of Sean "Diddy" Combs rocking a body-baring, plunging green-and-blue Versace gown? "Jenny from the Block" has never been shy about showing off her curvy figure. It was her pronounced booty that helped created a cultural shift in favor of the derriere.
One of England's best known models, Kelly Brook is frequently included among the "sexiest" women in polls held by men's magazines and sites. Why? Nearly every such nomination includes reference to the beauty's ample curves.
With her role in 1983's Never Say Never Again opposite Sean Connery, Kim Basinger successfully (to say the least) made the transition from TV to film. In the process, she became one of the '80's hottest commodities.
If the Kardashians go down in history for one thing, let it be that sisters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe helped herald the comeback of curves. Known as "the Tush," Kim clearly takes pride in her backside. And for all the criticism Khloe has gotten about her weight, she has handled it impeccably and looks amazing.
A stage-turned-screen actress during the '30s, Mae West never apologized about her dangerous curves — or anything else, it seemed. The stunner once served time in jail for "corrupting the morals of youth."
Although there exists much debate over what size Marilyn Monroe would actually have been — the famous notion is that she was a size 12 through 16 — the bottom line is she was an actress whose beautiful, womanly curves still resonate with people. For what it's worth, one of her dress makers quoted her measurements as 35-22-35, with a 36D bra size and weight of 118 pounds.
Along came the '90s and, with it, a little show called Baywatch. And thus, the era of Pamela Anderson began. The good news for women? Anderson made being voluptuous "in" in a big way. Bad news for women? Her curves came in the form of obscenely large (fake) boobs.
When you think of Raquel Welch, you probably think of a doe-skin bikini — which would be weird, except that was the outfit she wore in One Million Years B.C. that launched her into super-stardom in the late '60s and early '70s. Well, that and her curvy bikini bod.
Sadly, Sharon Tate's beauty and talent is overshadowed these days by the tale of her demise: she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she and four others were murdered in her home by the Manson family. During the late '60s though, Tate was known for roles such as Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls.
Hailed as Italy's most beloved actress, Sophia Loren set a standard of glamour in Hollywood during the late '60s that many actresses still measure themselves against. Today, at 79, she is still a sex symbol.