Historical Figures Who Were Surprisingly Good Looking

History was full of important figures who made a difference in the world. Some even led revolutions made huge scientific discoveries or were part of prestigious royal families. While most people likely remember these figures for their achievements, they may not remember just how beautiful they were to look at. During their young adult years, history’s own Amelia Earhart, Buster Keaton, Marie Antoinette, and more were turning heads wherever they went. Now, look through these historical figures to see them in a new light.

Ernest Hemingway Created Quite A Stir On Facebook

ernest hemingway black and white photo when he was young
Mondadori via Getty Images
Mondadori via Getty Images

It was clear to thousands on Facebook that Ernest Hemingway was good-looking in his youth. Users created a group called “was ernest hemingway hot?” where all they talk about is how attractive he was. Hemingway was born in 1899 and became one of America’s most prolific writers and journalists.

Some of his most famous works include The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea. Before he started writing, he served in World War I as an American Red Cross ambulance driver. This photo shows a 19-year-old Hemingway in his uniform.

Thomas Edison Was The King Of Inventing

Professor Thomas Edison and his speaking phonograph
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Thomas Edison proved to be easy on the eyes during his youth. As a child, he underwent several unfortunate circumstances that left him deaf in adulthood. He is arguably one of history’s greatest inventors by developing motion pictures, electricity, sound recording, and more. According to Biography, he held over a thousand patents for his genius inventions.

This photo shows a 31-year-old Edison with his newest invention called the phonograph. It was a mixture of a telegraph and telephone that would transcribe messages through indentations on paper tape.

Eva Perón Was Born For The Spotlight

eva peron in black and white portrait
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

María Eva Duarte de Perón, otherwise known as Eva Perón and Evita, was one of Argentina’s most iconic historical figures. She was born in 1919 in a rural village as the youngest of five children and became a well-known actress in her early 20s.

Her marriage to Colonel Juan Domingo Perón changed everything and she soon became the First Lady of Argentina. During her early years, she could charm everyone she met and wore some of the most elegant outfits. Her signature look was her bright blonde hair, which matched her outspoken personality.

Charlie Chaplin’s Rags To Riches Story

charlie chaplin in a black and white portrait
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Charlie Chaplin’s fans rarely saw him out of his “The Tramp” character look of a bowler hat, thick mustache, cane, and heavy eye makeup. In real life, he was considered relatively handsome. He has one of the most famous rags to riches stories.

According to Biography, after his father abandoned the family, his childhood was very unpredictable. He noticed early on that he had a knack for performing and was known to light up a room. Chaplin became an important figure during the Golden Age of Hollywood for films such as Modern Times, The Great Dictator, and Easy Street.

Queen Nefertiti’s Bust Is Thousands Of Years Old

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark looks at the bust of Nefertiti
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

One of the few remaining artifacts from Queen Nefertiti’s lifetime is a 20-inch-tall bust. It shows her high cheekbones and other bold features. Absolute History found that the images that were painted of her on temple and tomb walls always included her in powerful poses such as riding a chariot or defeating her enemies.

Queen Nefertiti ruled during the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (around 1334-1353 BC) and was known as the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. There are many other famous masterpieces with Nefertiti as the subject, which can be found at the Louvre Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and more.

Charlotte Brontë Was A Strong-Minded Individual

Portrait of the writer Charlotte Brontë
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Readers may know British author Charlotte Brontë from classic novels including Jane Eyre and The Professor. She was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters, who all first published their works under pseudonyms. During her younger years, she was considered “the motherly friend and guardian of her younger sisters.”

The Brontë Society claims that she had a strong personality, a slight build, and was less than five feet tall. Others around her found her overly clever and ambitious. “She held high moral principles, and, despite her shyness in company, was always prepared to argue her beliefs.”

Sessue Hayakawa Made History In Hollywood

sessue hayakawa in black and white portrait
John Springer Collection/Corbis via Getty Images
John Springer Collection/Corbis via Getty Images

Sessue Hayakawa’s claim to fame was in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 silent movie The Cheat. He played the absurdly handsome villain who tricks a woman after she loses her money. He made a career out of playing similar movie villains until 1930.

Dazed found that female audiences were drawn to Hayakawa for his “brooding, masculine, and handsome” features. He became the first actor from Asia to be a Hollywood leading man during the era of silent movies. Media professor Karla Rae Fuller stated that he is virtually ignored when it comes to film history and early 20th century actors.

Nikola Tesla Rivaled With Thomas Edison

nikola tesla black and white portrait
ullstein bild/Getty Images
ullstein bild/Getty Images

Nikola Tesla may be one of the world’s greatest inventors, but he also knew how to strike a pose for a photo. He was born in Smiljan, Croatia in 1856 as one of five children. His interest in inventing was inspired by his mother who created small household appliances in her spare time.

When he was 28-years-old he moved to America to work with Thomas Edison, but they eventually parted ways over creative differences. Tesla went on to create a multitude of important inventions including X-ray technology, the basis of air conditioning, and the Tesla coil. According to Biography, the Tesla coil was major for radio technology.

Amelia Earhart Is An Aviation Hero

amelia earhart wearing her flying outfit
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Even under heavy flying gear, this photo of Amelia Earhart during early adulthood shows off her twinkling eyes and sincere smile. Also known as “Lady Lindy,” she made history by becoming the first female airplane pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

When she was 40-years-old she set out on her boldest flight yet. According to Biography, she purchased a Lockheed Electra L-10E plane and hired a crew of three men. She planned to be the first person to circumnavigate the earth around the equator, but her plane was lost over the Pacific Ocean.

How Cleopatra Met Mark Antony

cleopatra wax figure of elizabeth taylor
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

One of history’s earliest beautiful figures was Cleopatra. According to National Geographic, she was famous for her looks, being romantic, and knowing how to seduce any man she wanted. Some historians suggest that Cleopatra may not look like how she was portrayed in art and film, but Cassius Dio described her as “a woman of surpassing beauty.”

The first time she met Mark Antony she arrived on a boat with silver oars and was dressed as Aphrodite. She had people dress as sea nymphs to accompany her and made her servants spray perfume on the crowds.

Marie Antoinette Didn’t Say This Popular Phrase

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette with the rose
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although Marie Antoinette is often credited with the phrase, “Let them eat cake,” there is actually no evidence that she ever uttered these words. She went down in history as the last queen of France whose actions most likely led to the French Revolution.

Antoinette was born in Vienna, Austria, and was the 15th out of 16 children. According to Biography, her childhood was carefree and easy. She and King Louis XVI were pledged to marry each other when they were only 14 and 11. At the time, she was described as being “delicately beautiful, with gray-blue eyes and ash-blonde hair.”

Harry Houdini Was Known For This Iconic Trick

harry houdini posing for a black and white portrait
Library of Congress/Getty Images
Library of Congress/Getty Images

In the 1997 biography, Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss, the author described Harry Houdini as “happy-looking, pleasant faced, and good natured at all times.” He was “the young Hungarian magician with the pleasant smile and easy confidence.” Houdini was born in 1874 as one of seven children and immigrated to America with his family when he was a young boy.

His career as a famous magician and escape artist captivated audiences around the world. The tricks would get more advanced as the years went on. Houdini’s most iconic performance was escaping upside down from a locked glass container filled with water.

Buster Keaton Loved Pork Pie Hats

buster keaton black and white photo
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Famous silent film actor Buster Keaton was given the nickname “The Great Stone Face” because of his stoic and deadpan facial expression. Throughout most of his life, he was seen wearing his signature pork pie hat. His official website estimates he went through over one thousand of them.

Keaton never shied away from the spotlight. His parents were vaudeville performers, so he had been in show business since the age of three. He started his career in filmmaking when he was in his early 20s with movies such as The Butcher Boy and The General.

Pablo Picasso Created An Art Movement

pablo picasso colorized photo
adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images
adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images

The 20th century brought many prominent artists into the limelight. Pablo Picasso set himself apart from the others for his unique take on style, form, color, and more. He is credited for starting the Cubism art movement and re-invented himself during his various period pieces.

According to Biography, he was a relatively nervous child but could stare anyone down with his piercing dark eyes. He was also considered a “lifelong womanizer” with numerous relationships over the course of his adulthood. This colorized photo shows a 23-year-old Picasso in 1904 visiting Paris, France.

Queen Victoria’s Demeanor Shifted As She Aged

queen victoria portrait
Imagno/Getty Images
Imagno/Getty Images

Those who are familiar with Queen Victoria may only remember her in her later years. During that time she was mourning the passing of her husband Prince Albert, so she wasn’t too concerned with how she looked. HistoryExtra says that during her early adulthood things were much different.

“She was in fact once very vibrant and lovely, with an arresting personality and huge amounts of energy for music, dancing, and staying up late.” When she was born she was fifth in line to the throne, but by the time she turned 18, it was her turn to become the queen.

Coco Chanel Almost Became A Singer

Gabrielle
George Hoyningen-Huene/Condé Nast via Getty Images
George Hoyningen-Huene/Condé Nast via Getty Images

While Coco Chanel ran one of the most luxurious fashion and beauty brands in history, her early life wasn’t as glamorous. She was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in Saumur, France in 1883 and was sent to live in an orphanage after her mother lost her battle with life.

It was there where she learned to sew and spent her early adult years performing in clubs around France. She became a global style icon for coining the little black dress, the Chanel bag, Chanel suit, and Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Oscar Wilde Didn’t Shy Away From Fashion

oscar wilde posing for a photo
Napoleon Sarony/Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Napoleon Sarony/Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Oscar Wilde made a name for himself by becoming one of history’s greatest authors. The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest were some of his most popular works, but the author’s personal life was a whole different story.

Ties-Necktie claims he had an “exuberant” personality and quite a flair for fashion and style. It wasn’t rare to see Wilde donning a cape with hair down to his shoulders and covered in fabrics ranging from fur to velvet. Unfortunately, his life after his initial success was filled with a lot of despair with him dealing with court cases and spending time in prison.

Family Was Everything To Catherine Parr

catherine parr in an old portrait
The Print Collector/Getty Images
The Print Collector/Getty Images

Catherine Parr was the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII and had the most marriages out of all the English queens with four different husbands. According to Absolute History, most of her paintings detail her natural grace and beauty.

During her time with King Henry VIII, she was responsible for giving him a true family life. She got to know each of his kids and devoted her time to making sure they were well-educated. Her fourth and final marriage was cut short because she left the world at 36-years-old due to complications from childbirth.

People Aren’t Sure What Pocahontas Really Looked Like

pocahontas black and white illustration
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When colonist Captain Ralph Hamor was asked about Pocahontas, he used her father’s words that she was his “delight and darling.” Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, a leader of several Algonquian-speaking tribes in early America. Since she was born in the late 14th century, it has never been quite clear what she looked like.

There are several portraits of her with one of the most famous being Simon van de Passe’s engraving from 1616. Pocahontas will go down in history for being linked to Captain John Smith and the early settlers in Jamestown, Virginia.

Alexander Hamilton Was A Charmer

alexander hamilton illustration
GraphicaArtis/Getty Images
GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

According to TimeOut, Alexander Hamilton’s good looks often got him into trouble. Even though he was below average in height, women often noticed his handsome face. If it wasn’t clear from the Broadway smash hit by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this Founding Father knew how to make his presence known.

“He was evidently very attractive and must have possessed a great charm of manners, address, and conversation,” said Henry Cabot Lodge in his 1882 biography. He was able to accomplish a lot throughout his life such as authoring 51 out of the 85 Federalist Papers and setting the precedent for the U.S. Treasury.