The best thing about hot dead guys is that for the most part, they died before they could get ugly. Or, if they did get ugly and old, their death instantly erased that portion of their lives from our memory, forever immortalizing them as handsome youths. Let us begin.
1. Paul Newman: Despite the omnipresence of his elderly, lined face on nearly every household product (avoid the wine! Avoid the wine!) we remember him fondly as the handsome blonde cowboy of yore.
2. Ian Curtis: Who doesn’t love a wide-eyed, tormented poet torn between loyalty to the family and life he was raised to have and seduced by the possibility of an entire new world unfolding in front of him? Or someone who writes ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ to the wife who will never understand him but whom he still loves?
3. Sid Vicious: It’s a bad idea, but there’s not a punk rock chick on earth who would deny it. His eyebrows were verging on unibrow status, but he was the style icon for every guy who wanted to bang aforementioned punk rock chicks, so he was doing something right.
4. Kurt Cobain: Yes, he has the tragic rock god thing going on, but that’s not what makes him hot. Neither is his status as a depressed, bad grunge poet. Because let’s face it, the so-called Voice of A Generation didn’t actually make any sense at all. But he was exceptionally attractive. Give that boy a bath and a bowl of soup, stick him in warm pajamas, watch him smile, and it makes you feel all glowy inside. He’s the grown-up, doomed future Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.
5. River Phoenix: Granted, the more the years grow between us, the creepier I feel about my crush on River, since he died before he could fully evolve out of the youthful fetus phase. Still, he was exceptionally attractive, with more delicate bone structure than his brother Joaquin, who’s a handsome guy when he’s not doing stupid hillbilly hip hop hipster side projects. And he was another rescue project: raised in the Children of God cult and forced to act to pay for his parents’ bullshit.
6. Cary Grant: I think we all know that Grant was batting for the other team at this point, but I’d still toss him a grounder or whatever. Hey, cut me a break here, I know nothing about baseball. Also, check out this hot French guy doing Cary Grant movie commentary.
7. Clark Gable: Men, let me break it down. Dumbo ears aside, Clark Gable is quite possibly the only man who can saturate a mustache in sexiness. I’m sorry.
8. Sir Laurence Olivier: My first silver fox crush in Rebecca. I don’t know what happened to strong jaws like his. They seem to have been eradicated from the gene pool.
9. Marlon Brando: Yeah, he got fat. But let’s forget that Brando and focus on the one from Cat on A Hot Tin Roof.
10. Brad Renfro: Poor Brad Renfro, or as he was eternally immortalized, Brad Redfro. His career went to shambles thanks to his drug addiction, but prior to that, he was a pretty attractive dude. Remember Apt Pupil? Or even Ghost World, where you could see that it was going downhill, but he was holding on.
11. Lewis Powell: Who? You ask. Good question. This strapping young lad was part of the conspiracy to execute Abraham Lincoln, so he was probably a racist douche. Still hot.
12. James Dean: You know, I’m going to say it. He was hot, but his hair sucked. Stop emulating that five-head, rockabilly boys.
13. Young Elvis: Undeniably smooth, in his suits and tattered shoes, worn thin from forbidden dance moves. And even more so when he popped out of the army, fresh in leather. Then someone started handing him painkillers. Basically, this is Christina Aguilera’s path now.
14. Johnny Thunders: Sort of rat faced, terrible heroin problem, incredibly small, and probably smelled bad, but that’s what legends are made of! He was like Prince but fucked up and cool! Note: Prince is not cool. Sorry. You may love his music but any interview with him and his bat shit crazy, surprisingly homophobic for a man who used to wear fishnet butt pants, Christian rhetoric makes him crazy.
15. Lux Interior: Whatever, American Horror Story, Lux made the gimp suit bring out the dark side of a lot of us long before you thought about sticking Tate in one. Sexy, handsome, and had an epic, wonderful relationship with his wife. Basically, if he’d marketed a few more products, he’d be the psychobilly answer to Paul Newman.
16. Houdini: Diminutive, sure, but surprisingly handsome before he started to unfortunately look like PT Barnum.
17. Rudolph Valentino: Valentino was so handsome that he didn’t need to prove a modicum of talent to flood the streets of New York with grieving women when he died.
18. Layne Staley: His death rivals with Johnny Thunders’ for most tragic: left to rot in his apartment for days after overdosing. And his drug addiction left him barely able to contribute to Alice in Chains in his last years, but he was a good looking guy, despite all the wrong ingredients: weird potato nose, that creepy cotton candy blonde hair, gross goatee. Kind of the same reason some of us were like ‘you know, Mr. Tumnus is kind of hot in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.’
20. Salvador Dali: The pin up of the art world.
21. Basquiat: Poor beautifully doomed Basquiat, whose fame happened too fast and who never found his niche anywhere. He meets all the standards of our favorite dead artists. Handsome, talented, and tragic.
22. Joe Strummer: I hate putting him on here, because I hate realizing he’s dead.
23. Johnny Depp: he’s not actually dead, but he’s been dead to me for about a decade. Still, we’ll always have the rockabilly rebel of Crybaby and the grungy What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.