Betty White. Bob Ross. Martha Stewart. Drew Carey. Some celebrities are so iconic that you can perfectly picture their faces in your mind's eye as soon as you read their names. In fact, it's hard to imagine them ever looking any other way -- that is, older adults.
But the truth is, nobody is born 45 years old. We've combed the archives, only to discover with lusty shock that many famous folk are harboring a secret unbeknownst to the modern age: In their younger years, they were hot as hell.
NOTE: This article is safe for work, but you will get the vapors.
Conspiracy theorist/"character actor" Alex Jones literally shouted his way into pop-culture relevance. The never-not-yelling InfoWars host makes his living yelling about how the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax and fomenting dumb-ass conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, so it's with heavy hearts to tell you that Alex Jones was once the apotheosis of slam piece.
No, we're talking about photos like this:
Yes, this is a MySpace photo.
Be honest: Whatever your gender or inclination, if that man started talking to you about chemtrails at the gym, you'd just nod and let him do it so you can admire his pecs. Note that even when he's pumping some serious iron, Jones never once drops his rant face:
Jet fuel can melt our hearts.
For the love of God, never stop eating those big chili lunches, Alex Jones. The moment you're hot again, our world is doomed.
Before that whole thing where she was arrested and sentenced for securities fraud, it's fair to say that Martha Stewart was literally no-one's idea of a criminal mastermind. Hell, she still looks pretty harmless. What's she going to do, whisk someone to death?
The only risk here is diabetes.
She's one of the few celebrities where, if we saw her coming at us with a knife, we'd actually get more excited. If only there was something in her past that we could have used to predict her future as a bad girl ...
Presumably, this is how her friend Snoop Dogg sees her all the time through the sunglasses and the weed.
That's Stewart in her 20s, looking like a femme fatale who tries to shank Sean Connery in the dick. In fact, before she became a domestic goddess, Stewart had an ultra-successful career as a model, working for brands such as Chanel, whereupon she earned enough money to pay her way through college. She eventually retired young, settled down as a housewife, and stumbled ass-backwards into her current career. If Martha had kept going, she might have ended up being even more filthy rich than she is today.
We ran the numbers, and she'd be worth approximately 27 Canadas.
Helen Mirren is a hugely accomplished actress with so many fantastic roles that we couldn't possibly list them all here. So, we'll list a crappy one: she was also in the cinematic brain fart that was Collateral Beauty, because no one is perfect.
Helen Mirren: the Queen Elizabeth II of actresses (literally).
But early in her career, Mirren was the go-to actress whenever a production needed an attractive bit of posh to make people give a shit about their boring-ass historical epics or weird experimental movies (the second link is fraught with orgasmic sounds, watch it on mute if you're at work).
Analysis Film Releasing Corporation, BBC
"Too late for that." - Anyone looking at these pictures.
In 1979, she appeared in the Penthouse magazine-produced historical epic Caligula, where she helped get the movie banned for indecency and/or fear that the resulting boner-induced heart attacks could wipe out the planet. In fact, such was her reputation for going au naturel that she was forced to put one interviewer on blast for flat-out saying that she'd never make it as a serious actress until she stopped flaunting her "physical attributes." She rebuked the allegation by just, you know, being Helen Mirren.
Analysis Film Releasing Corporation
It is the best rebuttal in most if not all arguments.
What? Come on, really? Even in his heyday, the schlubby host of such comedic fare as Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Price Is Right has never been known for his smoldering looks:
He constantly looks like someone's cutting in line in front of him and he's taking it in good spirits.
You can just picture him as a dweeby teenager with big dork glasses and a deep familiarity with the inside of a locker. And that might have been true at one point, but it didn't last forever ...
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve
"Girl, you're not spayed, I'm not neutered. Let's do this until the sun burns out."
It turns out Drew Carey wasn't just a military man: He served in the freaking Marine Corps Reserves for a large portion of the '80s. It was there that Carey started wearing his usual buzz cut, for obvious reasons, and first picked up his now classic horn-rimmed glasses (not pictured in any of these photos, so we're guessing he can't see shit).
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve
"Whose dong is it anyway? Stupid question, it's this guy's dong."
Ricky Gervais is best known for creating The Office and for behaving like a teenager who just discovered atheism on Twitter. It's hard to imagine him breaking into entertainment if he wasn't incredibly funny, seeing as how he devoted an entire episode of Extras to David Bowie calling him a pug-faced fatso.
Ricky Gervais: your fun uncle who will definitely die alone.
And speaking of Bowie, Gervais is also a huge fan, which makes his 1984 androgynous look so deliciously amazing. The British comedian was absolutely channeling The Thin White Duke in his massively successful (in the Philippines) pop duo Seona Dancing.
Can they reboot The Office with this guy in charge?
Gervais sang over slick, synth-heavy keyboards, and Seona Dancing quickly won their way into the hearts of Filipino teens with their two hit singles, "More To Lose" and "Bitter Heart." (Before you go check: Yes, there are videos, and they are extremely Eighties.) "More To Lose" was so damn popular, in fact, that a Filipino radio station would deliberately introduce the song under a fake name in order to make it impossible for rival radio stations to get their hands on. Gervais says he doesn't miss his time as a pop idol, preferring his podcasts, TV shows, and angry online arguments. So, you know, everything worked out in the end.
We're going to fudge the rules here a little, because we'd all be lying to ourselves if we said that Betty White isn't a hottie right now. It'd be cliche to compare her to a finely aged wine, and also inaccurate -- she's more like a finely distilled shot of vodka.
Because of her sophistication, attitude, and for being the cause of untold bar brawls.
That said, her younger self wasn't exactly unattractive either.
She looks like Madonna back when looking like Madonna was a good thing.
If you think so, then congratulations! You're officially more competent at beauty-spotting than the movie studios that called her "unphotogenic" and advised her to take up a career in radio, so as to shield the world from her hideousness. Guys, Hollywood doesn't know shit.
"Meanwhile, we'll keep giving Charles Bronson work for several more decades."
Gentle-voiced and epically afroed, anyone with access to PBS is a fan of the eternally optimistic Bob Ross. So, everyone.
He's like every cool art teacher in the world united into one Megazord of kindness.
The gifted yet tragically-stuck-in-the-70s painter had one of the most easily recognizable looks of any celebrity. One glance and you instantly know who it is that you're looking at. Except, maybe, if the picture you're looking at is this one:
US Air Force
Are we sure he didn't get his artistic talent from his personal genie?
That dreamboat photoshoot wasn't a fluke. Ross was a straight-up fox, even well into his 30s:
Though in this one, he kinda looks like he might start cooking meth with one of his students.
And yet, even in his hunky Air Force days, Ross still totally devoted himself to his art. Remember how quickly Ross could pump out fantastic works of art in under an hour, all while talking about happy little trees and rivers? That's because he was so dedicated to his craft that whenever he would take a lunch break, he'd race home and bang out a couple quickie paintings. True passion cannot be bridled by strict military schedules.
And speaking of celebrities who were in the army ...
Whatever your position is on holding on to monarchy in 2017, it's hard to argue Queen Elizabeth II is one of the world's classiest ladies. It's truly impressive that she manages to exude an aura of dignified regalness despite dressing no differently than any other senior citizen at bingo night.
WPA Pool/Getty Images
Elizabeth II: the Helen Mirren of Queens (literally).
It feels like the Queen has always been there, and for most people alive today, she actually has. She didn't always look like your grandma, though ...
Royal Archives, British Army
And if your grandma does, is she on Facebook or anything?
That's Queen Elizabeth back when she was just a princess in a military jeep ... because she was a legit mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. The future monarch demanded that she be enlisted when she turned 18, but the move wasn't some honorary bullshit awarded to royalty because royalty. Elizabeth turned out to be a damn good gearhead, earning the title of Junior Commander before her military stint was up.
Besides being England's longest-reigning monarch, she also had the world's first "sexy mechanic" photo shoot.
Jim Varney, the late star of the Ernest Does Whatever movies, isn't the first person that springs to mind when you think about hot celebrities from yesteryear. He also isn't the second, third, fourth, or hundredth.
We'd put Vern ahead of him, and we don't even know what he looked like.
While he spent business hours single-handedly killing the denim industry, however, Varney's true self looks like he could become your stepfather with only five minutes, a bottle of three-dollar whiskey, and your mom.
"The whiskey's for you. Now leave us alone for five hours."
His younger self was also something else. If anyone wants us, we'll be reporting Javier Bardem for stealing his smoldering looks.
Slinky from Toy Story wasn't the only thing he made go "shwing."
That photo was taken shortly after Varney arrived in LA, looking to make it as a stand-up comedian and actor. Honestly, we're surprised it took him ten years (and several wrinkles) to end up making movies. Perhaps the world simply wasn't ready for Ernest Goes To Town.
Maya Angelou was a world-famous, well ... everything: poet, author, civil-rights activist, screenwriter, director. If there was anything that could be done, she did it with aplomb and badassitude.
Katy Winn/Getty Images
And she rocked that hairdo way better than Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd.
What many people don't know is that she was born Marguerite Johnson. So where did the name "Maya Angelou" come from? Well, that's easy: It's from her days as a calypso dancer.
More like Maya Ange-WOO.
Throughout the early 1950s, Angelou toured Europe as a dancer with a traveling production of Porgy And Bess. On returning to the U.S., she opened her own calypso show, eventually going on to record an album of calypso hits, a term which means nothing in this day and age. Unsurprisingly, all those energetic dance routines resulted in the sort of figure that ... you're already looking, aren't you?
And don't give us the ol' "we were just looking for a photo of her National Medal of Arts" excuse. We've heard it a million times before.
For decades and decades, TV ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her sidekick, Lamb Chop, were the secret weapon that parents would wheel out whenever they wanted their children to go to sleep. There was just something about her dulcet tones, her playfulness, and her-- holy shit the lovable sheep was called Lamb Chop.
The Los Angeles Times
And is she wearing a wool sweater? What the fuck is this show?!
Of course, that's not the Shari Lewis you would have known if you were a child in the '50s or '60s. This cutie is:
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Lamb Chop went through some changes, too. (Just kidding, that's her other sidekick, "Dog Carcass.")
This was in her early days as a children's presenter ... and sitcom actress, advertising model, talent-show host, and, well, whatever else was available. Here's Lewis, singing a wholesome song in her night gown, apparently:
Her main talent, however, lay with puppetry. Admittedly, we only considered that a career for up-and-coming members of Batman's rogues gallery, but we're starting to come around to it now, for some reason.
When you think about it, James Earl Jones got a pretty shitty deal. His two biggest roles were a cartoon lion and a heavily armored space wizard, neither of which allowed us, the viewers, to see what he really looked like.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images
This is why that fact hurts us so much:
Carl Van Vechten
"Luke, I am your father. Also, I'm everybody's father."
Yup, that's J.EJ. back in his college days. This was only three years before he played one of the pilots in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove -- another role where you don't see much of him, because of his bulky helmet (in fact, many of you found out that was him just now, reading this).
Carl Van Vechten
What other essential information have you been hiding from us, Hollywood? What else?!
We know it wouldn't get a great deal of sense, but we're begging you, Disney. Go back into the prequels and digitally replace Hayden Christensen with a young James Earl Jones. Hell, neither of them would mind and it'd probably wind up being the biggest thing to happen to the franchise since the invention of lightsabers. Do it for the fans. You have the technology.
For more awesomeness famous people hid from us, check out 11 Celebrities Who Were Secretly Total Badasses and 7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About.
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