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Gene Tierney: Her Old Hollywood Timeless Beauty Captured in These Rare Photos

See why she was considered one of the most stunning stars of Hollywood's Golden Age

As the star of classic ’40s films like Heaven Can Wait, Laura, Leave Her to Heaven and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Gene Tierney was known for her stunning beauty and powerful performances.

Tierney was born into a high society family and quickly decided that she was more interested in acting than being a debutante. She then studied acting in New York City, and began her career with small Broadway roles. In 1940, she made her screen debut in the Western The Return of Frank James.

The actress in 'Laura' 1944
The actress in Laura (1944)Donaldson Collection/Getty

With her delicate bone structure, blue-green eyes and full lips, Tierney was considered one of the most beautiful actresses of her day, and she quickly rose to stardom. She became best known for playing the mysterious title character in the 1944 film noir Laura, and her unforgettable performance as a femme fatale in the 1945 Technicolor thriller Leave Her to Heaven earned her an Oscar nomination.

Gene Tierney was a tragic beauty

Tierney seemed on the surface to have a charmed life, but she experienced much trauma offscreen. While pregnant with her daughter with fashion designer Oleg Cassini in 1943, she contracted measles from a fan who broke quarantine to see her at a public appearance. The sickness led her daughter to be born disabled, and she was institutionalized for most of her life.

On top of that, Tierney struggled from severe depression throughout her career, and was made to stay at inpatient facilities and receive shock treatment. She stepped away from acting in the ’50s, and even began working a retail job at one point, in an attempt at finding a sense of normalcy, but made a return to Hollywood in the ’60s, with roles in Advise & Consent (1962) and The Pleasure Seekers (1964).

In 1979, Tierney published a memoir in which she talked unapologetically about her mental health issues. She made her final appearance in the 1980 miniseries Scruples, and died in 1991 at age 70.

A look back at Gene Tierney

While it’s heartbreaking to know about the pain Gene Tierney endured, her films still captivate viewers today, and she stands apart as one of the few Old Hollywood beauties who was open about the struggles she faced. Here’s a look back at some of the images that best capture her ’40s glamour.

A striking Gene Tierney headshot

Gene Tierney in 1940
The star in 1940Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney could hold a close-up like few other actresses of her era, as evidenced by this 1940 headshot.

Bathing beauty

Gene Tierney in 1940
Gene Tierney in 1940Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney looked sunny yet dramatic in a striking coral and yellow swimsuit, complete with a sweeping sarong and matching sandals.

Poolside chic

Gene Tierney in 1940
Gene Tierney in 1940Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney made for a stylish poolside pinup.

All smiles

Gene Tierney in 1942
Gene Tierney in 1942Screen Archives/Getty

Tierney was known for her pout (often painted in the bright red lipstick of the Technicolor era), but she also had a lovely smile.

’40s finery

Gene Tierney in 1945
Gene Tierney in 1945Screen Archives/Getty

With her hair styled in victory rolls and a royal blue dress topped with a smart coordinating bolero, Tierney looked like the very height of ’40s fashion.

Sunhat sweetheart

Gene Tierney in 1945
Gene Tierney in 1945Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney was known for her striking eye color and intense gaze, and in this shot, the green ribbon on her hat perfectly complemented her eyes.

Lounging in style

The actress in 1945
Gene Tierney in 1945Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney often played film noir femme fatales, and she definitely looked the part in this lacy slip dress.

Elegant in fur

Gene Tierney in the '40s
Gene Tierney in the ’40sBettmann/Getty

Tierney’s poshness is on full display in this ’40s formalwear shot.

Flower girl

Gene Tierney in 1950
Gene Tierney in 1950Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Tierney looked radiant posing with fresh yellow flowers.

Leopard luxury

The actress with a leopard in 1954
Gene Tierney in 1954Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Nothing captures the transporting glamour of classic Hollywood quite like this photo shoot of Tierney coordinating with a leopard.

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