Marilyn All-Time Great Hollywood Sex Symbol

A new Turner Classic Movies (TCM) poll reveals how modern movies, stars and filmmakers stack up against Hollywood icons.

The results show that Johnny Depp fills Errol Flynn’s shoes, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt capture some of the glamour of power couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. 

But, when it comes to sex symbols, no one is quite like Marilyn Monroe.

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TCM’s survey – conducted during the week of Oct. 18 – is part of the build-up to the Monday, Nov. 1, premiere of the new, seven-part documentary series MOGULS & MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD. 

The survey included 1,000 adults, with 43% who identified themselves as “classic film enjoyers.” 

The findings include the following:

  • 41% said Johnny Depp’s performance in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is today’s best example of the swashbuckling tradition that was the trademark of stars like Errol Flynn.  
  • Denzel Washington is one of today’s top box-office draws. An overwhelming 71% also chose Washington as the contemporary figure who carries on Sidney Poitier’s tradition as a pioneering black actor.
  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were chosen by 36% as the most iconic Hollywood couple in the tradition of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
  • When it came to choosing a contemporary counterpart to Marilyn Monroe, 33% chose none of the options.
  • Steven Spielberg was the choice of 61% of respondents in terms of directors with the level of influence exercised by Alfred Hitchcock.
  • “None of the above” was the #1 or #2 choice on six of the 10 survey questions, indicating that many fans see legendary stars and filmmakers as without compare.

TCM will tell the comprehensive story of the men and women who built the American film industry in the seven-part documentary series premiering Monday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. (ET).

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MOGULS & MOVIE STARS features rarely seen photographs and film footage; clips from memorable American movies; and interviews with distinguished historians and major Hollywood figures, says TCM.

TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company.

Turner Broadcasting System creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

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Rakesh Raman