As we celebrate Beckham’s latest award honoring his Derek Zoolander-style Magnum poses, we also look back at some of the actors and musicians who made the cut in the previous 29 years, and what they’re up to today.
While many of them fell on hard times, either through controversy, or, in a few cases, death, most of those who made the list over the past three decades still reign supreme in Hollywood, having racked up a long list of starring roles since, and some have even arguably gotten more handsome.
The first Sexiest Man Alive, Mel Gibson, was named in 1985, which means Beckham’s time in the spotlight marks the 30th anniversary of the feature. Follow us below as we take a tour through People’s Sexiest Men, past and present.
David Beckham (2015)
Known for his time as a pro footballer in his home country of England, 40-year-old Beckham retired in 2013 after almost two decades on the field. His signature good looks have led to many modelling contracts as well, the most recent with H&M. He has been married to former Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria Beckham (“Posh Spice”) since 1999. He most recently purchased a football expansion team in Miami with other investors, with plans to begin in 2016 or 2017, and continues as a UNICEF UK ambassador, a role he has held for the past decade.
Chris Hemsworth (2014)
The Australian managed to snag the title last year, arguably due in large part to his bicep-bearing role as Thor, which he reprised this year in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He also played his hand in comedy with a part in Vacation, the latest National Lampoon’s flick, and will (interestingly) play the receptionist in the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters movie. Hemsworth will be appearing next in In the Heart of the Sea.
Adam Levine (2013)
Of course, the musician is still in the spotlight today, both as a frontman for his band Maroon 5 and as a long-time judge on NBC’s The Voice. Aside from a short stint of baldness (what was he thinking?), Levine remains as sexy as ever.
Channing Tatum (2012)
Reprising his buff-bodied, fancy footworking role in Magic Mike XXL, Tatum has also taken on some more serious roles since being named the Sexiest Man, including his role in the Oscar-nominated flick Foxcatcher opposite Steve Carell. He’s currently in post-production with a number of upcoming projects, including a 23 Jump Street, the third in the popular movie franchise.
Harrison Ford (1998)
With a career spanning decades, it took until 1998 for Harrison Ford to be recognized by the mag. At the time, he was already in his 50s, and fresh off the heels of his role in Patriot Games. But, of course, Ford had big-time roles under his belt from long before that, as the iconic title character in the Indiana Jones films, and Han Solo in the original Star Wars films. He will reprise the latter role for the upcoming flick, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set to be released in theaters next month.
Brad Pitt (1995, 2000)
A Sexiest Man Alive list would be folly without Brad Pitt. In fact, he topped the list not once, but twice! At the time of his first cover shot, the actor was known for films like Legends of the Fall and Interview with the Vampire. When he reigned supreme again just five years later, it was on the heels of his role in Fight Club. Since then, he’s appeared in a long list of top-grossing and Oscar-buzzed films, from Snatch, to Ocean’s Eleven, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He’s, of course, now notably married to the equally sexy Angelina Jolie. He’ll be next seen in Netflix’s War Machine, a satirical film about the American war with Afghanistan.
Patrick Swayze (1991)
Those dance moves. The long, flowing locks. It’s no surprise that the late Swayze made the list at the height of his career, when he was starring as every woman’s dream in movies like Dirty Dancing and Ghost. Sadly, the actor passed away in 2009 after a battle with cancer.
Tom Cruise (1990)
Now more infamous as the face of Scientology and couch-jumping on Oprah, Cruise was the object of many womens’ affections in the ‘80s and ‘90s through iconic roles in films like Top Gun and Risky Business. Indeed, he’s still got leading man status, recently starring in films like Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Jack Reacher, and is currently filming Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Sean Connery (1989)
It’s no surprise that a Bond made the list. What’s most telling is that Connery got the coveted title when he was 60 years old, making him the oldest man ever to earn the status. He was also named People’s Sexiest Man of the Century. Now 85, Connery has been absent from the acting scene since 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from Hollywood.
Harry Hamlin (1987)
Named Sexiest Man Alive while appearing on L.A. Law, Hamlin was most recently seen as the dapper ‘60s businessman in Mad Men, in a recurring role on GLEE, and in the reality series, Harry Loves Lisa, with his wife Lisa Rinna.
Mark Harmon (1986)
As the second Sexiest Man Alive ever named, Mark Harmon made the cut while he was starring in popular series St. Elsewhere. The actor is still working hard, starring in long-running CBS TV drama NCIS. And, at 64, has still held on to his signature good looks.
Mel Gibson (1985)
Gibson paved the road for all the men who followed as the inaugural Sexiest Man Alive. At the time, he was best known as the star of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. While he’s faced waves of controversy since then, the actor (now pushing 60) went on to star in some of the biggest action roles of all time, including Braveheart and the Lethal Weapon films.
Finally, here’s a look at some other men who made People’s list: John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1988), Nick Nolte (1992), Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford, named the first (and only) sexiest couple (1993), Denzel Washington (1996), George Clooney (1997, 2006), Richard Gere (1999), Pierce Brosnan (2001), Ben Affleck (2002), Johnny Depp (2003, 2009), Jude Law (2004), Matthew McConaughey (2005), Matt Damon (2007), Hugh Jackman (2008), Ryan Reynolds (2010), and Bradley Cooper (2011). There was no Sexiest Man named for 2004, perhaps to take a break after the unpopular switch to a couple naming the year prior. Last year, People began naming the Sexiest Woman alive. The inaugural winner: Kate Upton.