People magazine may have the “Sexiest Men Alive” market covered, but what of those super-studs who have already shuffled off this mortal coil? Fear not, dear readers! In the hearts of history nerds, they shall live on. Given that tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S., I perhaps should do some kind of post about thankfulness. But you know what? I’m thankful that these guys existed, so I think that counts.
In no particular order, I give you …
The Sexiest Men … Not-Alive
1. C.S. Lewis
Oh please, like I was going to put anyone else first?? Many of us first encountered C.S. Lewis (“Jack” to family and friends) by reading his captivating Chronicles of Narnia as children, so it may be awkward to think of him as a sexy figure. But after all, brainy is the
new old always sexy, and this Irish academic had dry wit and intelligence in abundance. His work knew no boundaries in style and genre, and his poetry, essays, novels, and letters in sci-fi, fantasy, satire, and myth have dazzled minds and stomped on hearts around the world and over decades. He even has appeal if you’re the shallow type:
Face it: young C.S. Lewis was hott.
That’s right, I said it.
2. Thomas Jefferson
An educated and talented political radical, farmer, and avid reader with violin-playing skills and a bitchin’ house? Sign me up. Although he remains, like many of the Founding Fathers, a controversial-to-say-the-least figure, there is no denying that Thomas Jefferson was a man of many skills and long-lasting influence. I have a soft spot for tall guys and political radicals, so I couldn’t leave good ol’ TJ off the list. (The phrase “A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing” is enough to earn my favor.) Plus, he favored nullification and distrusted banks. Huzzah!
3. Anthony Perkins
Though best known as Norman Bates in Psycho, Anthony Perkins found success in theatre and film, and even romantic roles before Alfred Hitchcock changed all that. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen more than two other films he was in, but I had to include him in this list because seeing Psycho at age 13 left a major imprint on my psyche. I am pretty sure he’s responsible for my preference for the classic “tall, dark, and handsome” cliche, my fascination with serial killers, and my love of villains (though I might also blame Scar in The Lion King for that). Now that I think about it, the fact that I could watch the movie, aware that he murdered several women and kept his mother’s corpse in the basement, and still go, “Mmm, hawt” when he’s on screen, probably should have earned me a little time in therapy as an adolescent.
4. William Shakespeare
If mysterious is a sexy trait, then poet and playwright William Shakespeare is one of the English language’s sexiest masters! We may know little about this literary genius’ personal life, but there is a reason why his works have remained classics throughout the centuries. This entertainer was not bound by genre. What are you in the mood for? Take your pick of love poems, mythology, historical legends, screwball comedy, or action/adventure—there is something for everyone! Not only do his poems and plays stand on their own, but they’re infinitely adaptable to a variety of periods and societies, and have been influential in the careers of countless other artists. Allow his clever turn of phrase to sweep you off your feet, whether you’re listening to Sonnet XVIII or watching the unfolding of the Battle of Agincourt.
5. Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB, was more than the inspiration for C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower. This larger-than-life naval hero remains one of English history’s proudest figures. Nelson’s leadership and tactics earned him accolades from his superiors and the adoration of the public, but his deeds of derring–do cost him his right eye, his right arm, and, in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, his life. His brilliance, calculation, and bravery makes Nelson one sexy Brit—not to mention that he totally pulls off that goofy hat.
6. Fredric March
If you’ve been following this blog for a couple years, you may already know about my love for Fredric March. The only actor who ever won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice in his lifetime, this brilliant actor is now sadly obscure. His talent is deserving of much wider appreciation, though. I first saw him in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (for which he won his first Oscar) and was absolutely mesmerized by his performance. His role as Death in Death Takes a Holiday is also wonderful in spite of material that seems a bit cheesy to modern eyes and ears. He was also capable of taking on comedic roles in films such as Design for Living and Bedtime Story. Anyone who has never seen a Fredric March film is missing out on some good old-fashioned talent (and good old-fashioned sexy, amirite?).