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There’s a major difference between the celebrities of today versus the stars of old Hollywood: social media. Today, fans have direct access to their favorite actors and musicians, and nothing is off-limits. They share what they had for breakfast, where they’re vacationing, and what the insides of their closets look like. But the same can’t truly be said for old Hollywood stars, like Marylin Monroe, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Vincent Price, and Elizabeth Taylor, right? Well, yes and no.
While it was slightly easier for the stars of yesteryear to carry an air of mystery about themselves, these film and radio legends still managed to share a bit of their personal lives with adoring fans around the world, reminding everyone that behind the flashing bulbs of glamorous red carpet premieres, someone still needs to iron the clothes, cook meals, and sort through the mail.
These rare pictures of old Hollywood stars at home capture what their lives were like off set, from their hobbies to them baking and doing housekeeping tasks just like everyone else.
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The blonde bombshell cuddles up on her bed to enjoy a good book.
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The I Love Lucy star bakes in her Los Angeles kitchen.
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Hollywood’s Golden Girl sits at her desk as she sorts through mail and packages.
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Virginia Cherrill and Cary Grant
The newlyweds enjoy breakfast together in their Hollywood home.
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The Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Academy Award-winner prepares to show home movies in the living room of her Brentwood estate.
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The horror actor, star of House of Wax and House on Haunted Hill, relaxes with his son in the yard of his Beverly Hills home, circa 1946.
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Judy Garland and Mickey Deans
The Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland and musician Mickey Deans enjoy a cup of tea on the floor of their London home the morning of their wedding, March 15, 1969.
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The actress hits the road for a brief bike ride outside her home in Ireland, where she was filming The Lion in Winter, December 14, 1967.
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Elaine Barrie and John Barrymore
Actress Elaine Barrie puts a slipper on the foot of her husband John Barrymore (grandfather of Drew Barrymore), as they lounge on the sofa with a dog by their side.
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Elizabeth Taylor and William D. Pawley Jr.
A young Elizabeth Taylor and her then-fiancé William D. Pawley Jr. pose poolside at Pawley’s family home in Miami, circa 1949.
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The film star, who was a reported champion croquet player, sets up a croquet course on the lawn of her Hollywood home.
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The Some Like it Hot star reads a children’s book to the young daughter of a fellow Hollywood studio player.
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The original blonde bombshell poses poolside next to a small sailboat, circa 1920s.
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The former child star takes a moment to read some mail and enjoy an apple on the floor of her Los Angeles living room, circa 1944.
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Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher
The Hollywood star (mother of Carrie Fisher/grandmother of Billie Lourd) and her husband, musician Eddie Fisher, appear for a playful portrait in their Pacific Palisades abode.
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The Rear Window star relaxes with her poodle on the windowsill of her Fifth Avenue apartment shortly before departing to Monaco before her nuptials to Prince Rainier, circa 1956.
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The Academy Award nominee takes a break from the glamour of the red carpet to iron a few garments.
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The singer spends an evening organizing and listening to her record collection in her Los Angeles home in 1957.
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The English model enjoys a cup of coffee while her daughter, Kate Barry, helps feed her newborn baby, Charlotte Gainsbourg.
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The Spanish singer spends quality time with his young children, while he and his wife relax by the pool in the backyard of their home in Spain.
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The MGM Studios star gives her Cocker Spaniel, Amy, a bath on the patio of her Hollywood home.
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The comedian pulls out her paint set on a sunny day in the backyard of her California home.
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Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti
Complete with coffee and the morning newspaper, the Italian film star enjoys a leisurely morning on the terrace of her Roman villa with her director husband, Carlo Ponti.
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Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski
Actress Sharon Tate trims a few inches off of the back of her husband’s, director Roman Polanski, hair in the master bathroom of their London apartment.
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The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star shows off her green thumb as she repots a house plant in her New York apartment.
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The singer and actress checks on the meal that’s cooking in her oven while in her kitchen in 1940.
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Brigitte Bardot and Roger Vadim
Brigitte Bardot wraps her arms around her husband, French director Roger Vadim, while he works at their Parisian pad.
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Natalie Wood smiles as she enjoys a cup of tea from the couch of her Los Angeles living room in 1957.
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Jane Fonda curls up in an armchair and studies the lines for her upcoming part in Lee Strasberg’s acting program.
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The actress welcomes cameras into the foyer of her Los Angeles home, while looking chic in a floral full skirt dress.
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