Marilyn Monroe: sexiest star of the century?

The late screen siren tops the latest take on the ever-popular "100 best" list, Playboy magazine's "Sexiest Stars of the Century"

This being Playboy, "stars" refers strictly to the female variety, including actresses, models, strippers and porno stars, many of whom have doubled as centerfolds.

The list, appearing in the January issue, was compiled by the editors of the pinup periodical with heavy input from founder Hugh Hefner (who must have dated his fair share), and like the year's other Top 100 lists (AFI's Top 100 movies, the Modern Library's Top 100 novels), the Playboy rundown is bound to provoke plenty of argument--and some blank stares from the under-30 set.

Most of the Top 10 are glamour girls of previous generations. Three--the eternal icon Monroe, supercurvaceous blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield (2) and slinky platinum blonde Jean Harlow (10)--died tragically young. Others are past their prime and, like animal activist Brigitte Bardot (4) or AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor (7), no longer known for the shape they're in.

Italian siren Sophia Loren (6), Raquel Welch (3) and Bo Derek (9) are also no longer bikini material. Only supermodel Cindy Crawford (5) and ex-Baywatch babe and home-video starlet Pamela Anderson (8) are still hot enough to trot their stuff.

Bringing up the, um, rear at No. 100 is Lillian Muller, a Playmate of the Year. In between there are a fair share of women who've hung around Hef, including Barbi Benton (56) and the late Dorothy Stratten (55).

Candy Loving (39), a Playmate of the Month in 1979 rates higher than the similarly monikered Candy Barr, aka Juanita Slusher (48), star of such films as My Tale Is Hot and onetime paramour of Lee Harvey Oswald-killer Jack Ruby, and stripper Tempest Storm (57), who reportedly wore "pasties the size of yarmulkes," but below Linda Lovelace (34) of Deep Throat fame, who happens to rank one slot above Madonna.

Those turned on by a classier kind of gal can take pleasure in the inclusion of Grace Kelly--she's at 26, two places below Sharon Stone--French beauty Catherine Deneuve (45), Greta Garbo (51) Michelle Pfeiffer (64) and Halle Berry (47).

Other odd choices on the all-comers sex kitten, love goddess, stripper list: spy Mata Hari; Wheel of Fortune spinner Vanna White (54); and Olympic ice skater and Playboy poser Katarina Witt (95).

Complete list of Playboy's "Sexiest Stars"

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