Warning: This collection of photographs contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some viewers
This collection of unedited photographs caught inside the doors of Studio 54 expose everything that these celebrities never wanted us to know.
To get the full disco-era experience, one needed only to step inside the doors of Studio 54, the 1970s most well-known disco dance club. Sure, Studio 54 helped to launch the careers of some of the greatest musical groups of the day, but it was also the place to be seen. The hottest movie stars, TV personalities, and entertainers made Studio 54 their hangout. It wasn’t just the music that attracted them. It was the drugs, sex, and dancing. In this collection of bizarre and salacious photos, we will get a behind the scenes look at the infamous Studio 54.
Disco and Debauchery…Dustin Hoffman in a daze. Look how tightly he is gripping his dance partner’s hands…
One of the most prestigious and notorious places of the disco era, Studio 54 was a bit of a latecomer to the dance club scene in midtown New York in the 1970s. The nightclub didn’t open its doors until 1977 when Steve Rebell and Ian Schrager opened a club in a building that formerly housed a TV studio on 54th Street in Manhattan. Very quickly, Studio 54 became the place to be for celebrities and wannabes of disco’s heyday. One reason why the club was so popular was that not everyone could get inside. The doormen only allowed the rich and famous – and the scantily dresses ‘pretty people’ – through the doors, For those lucky enough to get inside, the scene was one of trendy fashions, open drug use, heart-pounding music, and overt sexual activity.
Did Donald Trump Used to Dance the Night Away at Studio 54?
New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, shown here with his second wife Marla Maples, used to frequent Studio 54 in the late seventies, but no one can recall him ever dancing at the club. He did, however, make a surprise cameo appearance in the 1998 documentary, titled “Studio 54”. As a businessman with an eye for the next big deal, Trump kept tabs on the New York music scene. In this photo from 1992, we see Donald Trump hobnobbing with hip hop artists Shabba Ranks, Tony Terry, Cyndi Lauper, and Super Cat at an after-party for the 1002 Grammy Awards.
Cher Went From the Emergency Room to Studio 54.
Cher wasn’t going to let a little thing like an emergency hospital visit keep her away from Studio 54. That’s just how important it was to be seen at Studio 54. According to the stories, Cher choked on a vitamin one morning and was taken to the hospital to dislodge the pill. Once the issue was resolved and Cher got a clean bill of health, she continued on with her plans for the night … to meet up with bestie Liza Minnelli for drinks and dancing at Studio 54. Yes, Cher was trying to be healthy by taking her vitamins, but it nearly killed her.
An Eclectic Mix of Guests … The Village People, Bruce Jenner, Jane Fonda, and More Gathered at Studio 54.
One of the most exciting things about a night at Studio 54 was that you never knew who would be at the nightclub on any given night. On the night this iconic photograph was taken, the club was teeming with celebrities. The Village People, known for their hit songs “Macho Man” and “Y.M.C.A.”, showed up at Studio 54 and partied with a bunch of other A-listers, including Olympian Bruce Jenner, singer Michael Jackson, actress and activist Jane Fonda, and The Electric Horseman actress Valerie Perrine. In addition to the eclectic clientele, the interior of Studio 54 was also ever-changing. Lighting designers Brian Thompson, Jules Fisher, and Paul Marantz created a unique, movable lighting system in the club that could be periodically changed to keep the space dynamic.
John Travolta and Marilu Henner showing off their Night Fever on the Studio 54 dance floor.
In this Studio 54 photo from the late 1970s, we see John Travolta, one of the disco-era’s most famous dancers thanks to his starring role in Saturday Night Fever, on the Studio 54 dance floor with actress Marilu Henner. In the seventies, Travolta and Henner had an on-again, off-again relationship. The couple met when they were both in the national touring company production of Grease. In this show, John Travolta played the role of Doody, not Danny, and Marilu Henner had the role of Marty. In 1976 and 1977, however, John Travolta was romantically involved with actress Diana Hyland who was 18 years older than him. She even played Travolta’s mother in the made-for-TV movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. When she passed away from breast cancer in 1977, Travolta sought solace from his friend, Marilu Henner.
Fake I.D.? Nope, The Studio 54 Bouncers Let in Regular Drew Barrymore at Age 12.
Actress Drew Barrymore had a less-than-conventional childhood as one of Hollywood’s hardest working child actors. She later explained that her mother treated her like an adult friend instead of an underage daughter. She quipped that she spent more time at Studio 54 than she did at school. But Studio 54 was not a good environment for a child. Drew Barrymore was exposed to drugs and alcohol, as well as a whole lot of adults that thought it was cute to get the 11 year old drunk. She has been open about her addiction issues that plagued her early teen years, as well as her struggles with recovery.
Supermodel Jerry Hall Used Studio 54 as Her Personal Runway.
All the gorgeous people flocked to Studio 54 and model Jerry Hall was leading the pack. Studio 54 was a place where fashion trends were set and a large part of that can be credited to Jerry Hall. Her fashion choices were cutting edge … and perfect blend of glamour and sexiness. While sexy Jerry Hall made her mark on the fashion world, using Studio 54 as a launching point, let’s not forget her influence on the 1970s music scene. As the girlfriend of Rolling Stones front man, Mick Jagger, the Texas beauty was one-half of the disco scene’s most popular power couple. With Studio 54 as their stage, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall demonstrated the lavish, hard-partying lifestyle of the late 1970s.
Andy Warhol and his entourage were among the regulars at Studio 54.
Iconic pop artist Andy Warhol was a frequent patron of Studio 54. Being seen at the trendiest nightclub in New York City helped boost the quirky artist’s public persona. Warhol cemented his connection to Studio 54 when he reproduced one of the club’s VIP tickets, with comp drinks, in a large oil painting on canvas. The oil painting was a gift to Andy Warhol’s good friend, In Cold Blood author Truman Capote. The two friends often partied together at Studio 54, so Warhol wanted to commemorate their good times by presenting Capote with a piece of art reflecting on their nights spent at the 1970s disco mecca. On the back of the painting, which is now in the collection at the New York Public Library, there is a message saying “To Truman Love Andy ‘78” in a black Sharpie.
Sexy Fashions and Cutting-Edge Outfits Were Standard at Studio 54.
For patrons to Studio 54, looks were everything. The New York party scene was a conglomerate of many things – music, drugs, celebrity status, and of course, fashion. Since Studio 54 was the pinnacle of the disco scene and a gathering place for trendsetters, patrons were eager to make an impression. The vibe of the club was one of provocative sexuality and many of the patrons dressed the part. Particularly the women. Outfits were low cut and showed a lot of skin, but no one seemed to mind. In fact, the sexier the outfit, the better.
That Time Jamie Lee Curtis Went Clubbing with her Mom, Janet Leigh, at Studio 54.
Studio 54 was known for its open sexual encounters and rampant drug use … not exactly the place you’d take your mother to. But that’s exactly what actress Jamie Lee Curtis did in the late 1970s. She showed up at the iconic disco club with her mother, actress Janet Leigh, for a night of drinking, dancing, and who knows what else. At the time, Jamie Lee Curtis was coming into her own as an actress after appearing in Halloween. Her mother was already a well-established actress and star of her own horror movie, the famous Psycho.
No One Died In Studio 54 as a Result of Drinking or Drug Use, But Plenty of People Seemed Determined to Try.
Everything at Studio 54 had to be bigger and wilder to exceed the patrons’ expectation. From the excessive drinking, open drug use, and uninhibited sexual rendezvous, the nightclub earned a reputation for debauchery as much as for the trendy dance music. Despite this – and despite what certain documentaries may say – the owners of Studio 54 maintain that no one overdosed inside the club. There was one tragic death that was reported. A person was so desperate to get inside the famous nightclub that he tried to crawl through an air conditioning vent and was killed. Overdoses and freak accidents aside, it was not uncommon to see patrons passed out from excessive drinking or drug use.
Underage Brooke Shields Partying at Studio 54.
Apparently, the bouncers at Studio 54 had no regard for age restrictions when letting patrons into the nightclub. Brooke Shields was not even a teenager when she first started frequenting Studio 54. The young actress and model had created a stir with her appearance as a child prostitute in Pretty Baby when she was hanging out at Studio 54 with her mother, Teri. Although Teri enjoyed the hard-drinking party scene at Studio 54, Brooke Shields claims she never drank, stayed drug-free, and made it home by her 10 p.m. bedtime. At the club, she rubbed elbows with celebrities like Andy Warhol, Grace, Jones, and Debbie Harry, as shown in this photo.
Robin Williams Looks Like He Partied Too Hard in this Pic with His First Wife, Valerie.
Robin Williams was a San Francisco bartender in 1976 when he began dating Valerie Velardi. She was at his side when his got his big break, a guest role on TV’s Happy Dayswhich led to his breakout moment when he was cast as the title character in the sitcom, Mork & Mindy. In fact, the couple got married in June 1978, the same year that Mork & Mindy debuted. With Valerie, Robin Williams had his first child in 1983, a son named Zachary. When Robin and Valerie divorced in 1988, rumors swirled that Robin was having an affair with Marsha Garces, Zachary’s nanny.
Liza Minnelli Was a Regular at Studio 54.
If you watched the Netflix series, Halston, you saw the celebrity designer living it up at Studio 54 with a group of friends nearly every night of the week. Among them were Liza Minnelli and her third husband, Mark Gero. In the Halston show, Liza Minnelli is often shown excessively drinking and indulging in drugs inside the club. In one memorable episode, Minnelli comes dangerously close to overdosing inside Studio 54. While there are no reports of the famous actress ODing in the club, we do know that Liza Minnelli had problems with drug and alcohol use. In the early 1980s, she checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment.
Out and Outrageous, Drag Queen Divine Was a Cult Icon of the 1970s.
Studio 54 was a place where the outrageous was expected. Perhaps that’s why drag queen Divine had such a great time at the famous seventies nightclub. After all, the 1970s was a time when LGTBQ issues were pushing themselves out of the closet and into the limelight. Divine was a symbol of this movement. Divine was the on-stage persona of Harris Glenn Milstead who took his character to the stage, the screen, and of course, the nightclub. Do you remember the 1988 film version of Hairspray? That was Divine in the role of Tracy Turnblad’s mother, Edna Turnblad, starting the quirky trend of casting a man in drag for this role.
Blondie’s Debbie Harry Brought a Unique Style and Sound to Studio 54.
Although Studio 54 was known as a disco club, punk rocker Debbie Harry of the group Blondie was a regular at the iconic seventies nightclub. With her bleach-blonde hair and sultry sexuality, Debbie Harry represented a new and modern fashion style and musical genre. Since Studio 54 was all about the newest trends, Debbie Harry was a hot commodity at the club. There, she met artist Andy Warhol who made her his muse. In 1980, Warhol produced a series of images from Debbie Harry that are still famous to this day.
Studio 54 Lasted Only 3 Wild, Drug-Fueled, Hard-Partying Years..
Studio 54 is a symbol of the 1970s but, in reality, the club lasted only about three years. It opened in 1977 and closed in 1980. During that short yet important period of time, the nightclub played host to the coolest, trendiest, wealthiest, and elitist clientele who mingled with New York’s music and dance lovers. The death of Studio 54 was caused by an IRS raid and the arrest of the club’s owners for tax evasion. When Studio 54 closed, it marked the official end of the disco era. Perhaps the most infamous nightclub in the United States was really a short-lived, but quite memorable experience.
The Paris Version of Studio 54 Included Public Baths.
With a nightclub as popular and prestigious as Studio 54 is it only natural that copycat clubs sprang up around the U.S. and abroad. Les Bains Douches in Paris was perhaps the most notorious version of Studio 54. The name translates to “shower baths” and in keeping with this theme, the nightclub boasts thermal baths for guests to cool off in … or do other things in. In was opened as a swanky nightclub in 1978 and combined new music and hot fashions with the baths. Les Bains Douches was a meeting place for the ultra-famous of Europe but attracted American visitors as well. David Bowie, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, and Mick Jagger were guests at Les Bains Douches, as well as Europe’s hottest celebrities, like Julie Delpy, Brigitte Nielsen, and Roman Polanski.
Free from Ike and Ready to Launch her Solo Career, Tina Turner Celebrated by Dancing the Night Away at Studio 54.
When this photo of Tina Turner dancing the night away at Studio 54, the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll was nearly 40 years old and in the midst of reinventing herself. In 1976, she split with her husband and partner, Ike Turner, in part because of his cocaine use and in part because of his physical abuse. That year, she launched her solo career with Rough and Love Explosion, a disco album, before returning to her rock roots. We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about her stunning legs. Even at 40, Tina Turner’s legs were enviable.
Model Jerry Hall Feeling Frisky in her Lacy Cat Suit.
Sexual naughtiness was part of the appeal of Studio 54 and Jerry Hall was all about using her hot bod to keep all eyes on her. The supermodel had an eye for fashion and knew just how to push the boundaries for shock value. Many of the outfits she wore to Studio 54 were cutting edge and quite provocative. Perhaps her most iconic look was this lacy, see-through, skin-tight cat suit she wore while prowling around the disco club one night. As you can see, the cat suit left little to the imagination. For Jerry, who also showed up at the club nearly topless on several occasions, this cat suit was the perfect blend of deliciousness and provocativeness.
Father-Daughter Dance. Texan John Fawcett on the Studio 54 Dancefloor with his Famous Daughter, Farrah.
In the 1970s, one of the hottest television actresses was beautiful Farrah Fawcett. The gorgeous girl-next-door, with her feathery blonde hair, was the subject of every teenage boy’s fantasy. Alas, she was a married woman. She first married actor Lee Majors and then Ryan O’Neal. And in this photograph, taken at Studio 54 in 1978, Farrah Fawcett is seen dancing with her dad, James Fawcett of Texas. He was visiting his daughter, who had shot to stardom after one season on TV’s Charlie’s Angels and created a hairstyle fad with her bouncy, layered locks.
Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler Joined Studio 54 Co-Owner Steve Rubell for a Memorable Night at the Disco-Era’s Most Notorious Nightclub.
In this vintage photograph, we see Steve Rubell, one of the owners of Studio 54, enjoying laughs with Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at the famous NYC club. Michael Jackson had recently gone solo when this photo was snapped. In 1979, he released his first solo album, Off the Wall, which spawned two number-one singles, “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” Aerosmith had been together since d1970. Around the time this photo was taken, Steven Tyler and Aerosmith were coming off the tour for their fifth album Draw the Line. Tyler and his bandmate, Joe Perry, were known as the “Toxic Twins” because of their rampant drug use. Surely, spending time at Studio 54 was probably not a good idea for someone who reportedly spent more than $60 million on drugs.
Bianca Jagger’s 30th Birthday Party at Studio 54 Was Wild!
Actress Bianca Jagger, who at the time was married to Rolling Stone’s front man Mick Jagger, had her 30th birthday party at Studio 54 on May 2, 1977, and by all accounts, it was a wild and crazy evening. Although this photograph shows the Nicaraguan-born actress with a pair of live doves that were brought into the club for the festivities, it was another animal that caused a stir. Bianca was also photographed riding a beautiful white horse inside the club. Animal rights activists were aghast over reports that Bianca made her grand entrance on horseback, a claim she vehemently denies. As an animal lover herself, Bianca agreed that it was a bad idea for the horse to be in the club but she claims she only rode it for a few minutes.
Playboy Mogul Hugh Hefner with One of His Favorite Bunnies at Studio 54.
When magazine publisher Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame decided to start a cable television network in the late 1970s, he opted to have his launch party at Studio 54. Joining him at the event was his then-girlfriend, Sondra Theodore. The former Sunday School teacher turned centerfold was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for July 1977. Sondra lived at the Playboy Mansion and started a relationship with Hugh Hefner that lasted for several years. At the time, it seemed like Sondra Theodore was living the dream life, but she recently spoke out about her days in the Playboy Mansion for the 2021 Docuseries, Secrets of Playboy, in which she claimed that Hefner was into some pretty freaky stuff.
Robin Williams dancing with his wife, Valerie Velardi, at Studio 54 in New York City, 1979.
Funnyman Robin Williams, shown here with his first wife Valerie Velardi, was on the cusp of superstardom when this photo was snapped of him at Studio 54 in 1979. Immensely talented and quick-witted, Williams, who dropped out of Julliard, was doing stand-up comedy in California when he was cast for a one-time appearance as a wacky space alien on the hit TV sitcom Happy Days. Williams’ hilarity and infectious energy caught the attention of studio bigwigs who cast the relative newcomer in his first starring role in the Happy Days spin-off, Mork and Mindy, which started its run in 1978.
David Bowie and Bianca Jagger Enjoying an Evening at Studio 54.
Bianca Jagger was the undisputed Queen of Studio 54. She was such a regular patron of the notorious nightclub that it was almost like she was hosting her own private parties at the club every night. That was particularly true when her birthday party was held at Studio 54. Bianca knew how to work the crowd and was astute enough to be photographed alongside some of the biggest stars of the day, including David Bowie, shown in this photo. At the time when this snapshot was taken, David Bowie was transitioning from his “Ziggy Stardust” glam punk stage to his “Plastic Soul” stage.
Jawbone Alert: Chiseled John Travolta and Equally Chiseled Sylvester Stallone Raised the Temperature inside Studio 54.
John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone were both becoming big names in the 1970s so it was almost inevitable that the flashy dancer/actor from Grease and Saturday Night Fever would cross paths with the Rocky star. In fact, the two worked closely together on the sequel toSaturday Night Fever, Staying Alive, which starred Travolta and was co-written, co-produced, and directed by Stallone. Staying Alive was a bit of a flop compared to the box office success of Saturday Night Fever, but the film started a lifelong friendship between John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone that continues to this day.
Mick sitting beside his then-wife Bianca Jagger, 1979.
Rocker Mick Jagger was only (legally) married once. That was to the sexy Nicaraguan actress Bianca Jagger, to whom he was married from 1971 to 1978. The couple met in France. After they married and were living back in the U.S., Bianca and Mick were regulars at Studio 54. In fact, Bianca got a reputation for being a jet-setting party girl and a fixture at the iconic nightclub. There, she befriended pop artist Andy Warhol and engaged in all the debauchery you would expect from a place like Studio 54. You know who else spent a lot of time at Studio 54? Model Jerry Hall. Mick and Bianca had met her in London but it seemed as though Mick couldn’t forget the leggy Texas beauty. Mick and Bianca divorced over Mick’s affair with Jerry Hall.
Tanya Tucker partying at Studio 54, July 1979.
Source: Getty Images
Country cutie Tonya Tucker was barely 20 years old when she showed up at Studio 54 in this skin-tight, curve-hugging catsuit in 1979. Since she first hit the country music charts in 1972 when she was just 13 years old, Tanya Tucker had a slew of fans fixated on her age, especially since her breakthrough hit, “Delta Dawn” dealt with a more mature subject matter. Tanya spent her teen years in the spotlight and demonstrated her outlaw spirit with her fierce independence and smoldering sexuality. She was one of only a few child singing stars to successfully transition to adulthood under the glare of the paparazzi.
Sylvester Stallone and actress Joyce Ingalls pose for the camera at New York at Studio 54, 1978.
Sylvester Stallone and model-turned-actress Joyce Ingalls were photographed together at Studio 54 in 1978. This was the same year that Joyce appeared with Stallone in the drama, Paradise Alley. She played the prostitute that comforts Stallone’s character. That was also the same year that Joyce’s name was listed on the divorce papers that Stallone’s wife, Sasha, served him. According to the gossip magazines of the time, Stallone used money from a joint account with his wife to go on a lavish vacation with Joyce shortly after filming wrapped up on Paradise Alley.
Pop singer Elton John, Lana Hamilton, wife of actor George Hamilton, and rock singer Rod Stewart at New York’s Studio 54, 1978, to celebrate at a party given by RCA Records
Elton John may have represented the first wave of the British Invasion, but Rod Stewart led the second wave. With so many British entertainers flooding into the U.S., it was only natural for some of them to form close friendships with each other. That was true of Elton John and Rod Stewart. As this photo shows, the two British rockers frequented Studio 54 together. In this photo, which was taken at a 1978 party thrown by RCA Records, Elton John and Rod Stewart were joined by Lana Hamilton, who was married to actor George Hamilton at the time.
Lady Divine at Halston’s party for Bianca Jagger, 1977.
When Halston threw a birthday party at Studio 54 for Bianca Jagger in 1977, one of the special guests was drag queen, Lady Divine. Lady Divine was the stage name of Harris Glenn Milstead, who grew up in a conservative Baltimore family. As an adult working as a hairdresser, Milstead became interested in drag. With the help of John Waters, an independent filmmaker, Milstead created his Lady Divine persona and fully immersed himself in the counterculture scene of New York City. Lady Divine appeared in several films in the late 1960s and 1970s which helped increase his notoriety. Of course, hanging out at Studio 54 also helped Lady Divine’s PR.
Even Classy Liza Minnelli Went for a Low-Cut, Braless Jumpsuit For a Night at Studio 54.
Liza Minnelli was photographed at Studio 54 in 1977 as she hit the dancefloor in a lavender silk jumpsuit. The acclaimed singer and actress was there to attend a birthday party, but may also have been celebrating the release of her 1977 musical drama movie, aptly named New York, New York. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film starred Minnelli as a jazz singer and Robert De Niro as a saxophonist who had a tumultuous relationship. Although the movie was not a huge hit, the theme song was, especially after it was covered by Frank Sinatra.
Bianca Jagger Earned Her Party Girl Image After Nights Like This at Studio 54.
When Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger started their relationship, Bianca embraces the new celebrity lifestyle. She was all glamour and glitz on the red carpet, at elegant events and premiers, but she certainly had a wild side. Numerous photos exist of her at Studio 54 where she was known as a party girl. Despite pics like this one that seem to highlight her wild side, Bianca Jagger claimed she helped hubby Mick kick his cocaine habit. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get him to give up his other vice … women. Bianca filed for divorce because of Mick’s infidelity.
Spandex … the Favorite Fabric of the Disco Days.
Although spandex was invented in 1959, it took the gaudy glitz of the disco era to make it the go-to fabric. The patrons of Studio 54 wanted clothing that accentuated their figures, cling to their curves, and advertised the fact that they weren’t wearing bras. Spandex was just the fabric for the job. As we can see with the Studio 54 patron, the clingy, stretchy nature of the material meant it would stay in place (most of the time). Since it was an artificial fabric, it could be made in bright colors and shiny metalics. Spandex’s stretchiness allowed the dancers to use their craziest moves without fear of ripping their pants.
Confident and Androgynous, Grace Jones Was Bold in her Fashion Choices.
Jamaican model, actress, and singer Grace Jones was always someone who liked to push the envelope. She was bold and confident with a bizarre mix of femininity and androgyny. As a top fashion model, which face graced the cover of Vogue and Elle, Grace Jones was a favorite of designers like Yves St. Laurent. About the time this photograph of her at Studio 54 was taken, Grace Jones was in the middle of a career shift. She transitioned from modeling to singing and later, to acting. For a time, she dominated the disco scene of New York City with her musical branding but she shifted to a new wave funk after the closing of the iconic club signaled the end of the disco era.
Bianca Jagger Risked Exposure with Her Risque Studio 54 Outfit.
Studio 54 was the place to see and be seen in New York in the 1970s and no one understood this more than Bianca Jagger. It was the gathering place of the talented, wealthy, and fashionable. It was the ideal place for someone like Bianca Jagger. A former model understood fashion and made it a point to wear outfits that were cutting-edge and eye-popping. Although many of her outfits had a Latin American flair, this one she wore for the sheer shock value of it. The fascinator-like headband failed to distract people from the open bodice which was dangerously close to revealing a lot more.
The Party Didn’t Last Too Long. Studio 54 Closed After its Owners Were Arrested for Tax Evasion.
For all its fame and notoriety, Studio 54 was a short-lived cultural experience. It was the club’s owners that inadvertently brought about its downfall. In December of 1978, Steve Rubell, the flashier, more outspoken, and braggadocios of the two partners, was interviewed by a reporter for one of New York City’s newspapers. In the interview, Rubell bragged that Studio 54 brought in $7 million in its first year in business. He added, “only the Mafia made more money.” The IRS saw that quote and decided to take a closer look at Studio 54 and its finances. The club was raided and Rubell and his partner, Ian Schrager, were arrested for tax evasion and cooking their books. Both men spent just over a year in jail.
Studio 54 Was a No-Judgment Zone.
It is often argued that disco got its roots in the New York City gay clubs of the early 1970s. So it should be no surprise that Studio 54 was a meeting place for gay and lesbian people at the time. The owners of Studio 54 advocated for acceptance of all people so many couple felt a sense of freedom inside the walls of the nightclub. There, they could set their inhibitions aside and be their authentic selves without fear of judgment. Like the two women in this photo, public displays of affection between same-sex couples were a common sight at Studio 54. It could be said that Studio 54 was a safe place for people who may have felt pressure to conform to societal norms outside the club.
Andy Warhol Snapping Selfies with Bianca Jagger.
In the 1970s, polaroid cameras allowed A-listers to take selfies and immediately see the results without waiting to get film developed and prints made. Even though there were often photographers on hand at Studio 54 to capture the exploits of the rich and famous, some people preferred to use their own polaroid cameras. One of these people was pop artist Andy Warhol, shown in this polaroid selfie with Bianca Jagger. We don’t often consider polaroid snapshots are art, but this pic and a series of other ones snapped by Andy Warhol, are now part of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
The Studio 54 Space Often Played Host to Zany NYE Parties.
You could say that Studio 54 was destined to be a place of depravity. Before it was a disco club, the space was used as CBS’s Studio 52. For New Year’s Eve, 1968, the studio hosted a wild and crazy party. They even brought in dancing girls who danced all night in a giant champagne glass. After the space became Studio 54, New Year’s Eve parties were just as raucous. For one such NYE party, four tons (yes, TONS) of glitter was sprinkled onto the dance floor and periodically rained down on guests throughout the night. People left with glitter in their hair and clothing and stick in every nook and cranny.
Would Paris Hilton Given Bianca Jagger A Run For Her Money as the Unofficial Queen of Studio 54 Had She Been Born in the Right Era?
The rich and famous of the 1970s loved to spend their time and money at crazy, ritzy parties. But that wasn’t a trend that ended with disco. In this photograph for W Magazine, we see socialite Paris Hilton partying it up with pal Andreja Pejic in LA. Paris Hilton was born in 1981, just as the disco era and Studio 54 were coming to an end. We are sure that if she were alive during the 1970s, Paris would have been a frequent patron of Studio 54. She may have even rivaled Bianca Jagger as Queen of Studio 54.
Photographer Bill Bernstein’s Pics of Studio 54’s Heyday Helped Capture to True Feel of the Influential Nightclub.
Studio 54 had only been open for a few months when a New York publication send photographer Bill Bernstein to cover the party scene at the club. What he found was an electric energy, racially inclusive, judgment-free environment where patrons were free to let their inhibitions run wild. Bernstein was fascinated by the sights he saw inside the doors, so he returned many times, camera in hand. The images he photographed, like this pic he titled “The Couch”, give us a candid view of the beautiful people and hedonistic vibe that made Studio 54 so famous.
Bianca Jagger’s 30th Birthday Party was Infamous, Thanks in Part to a Pretty White Horse.
Mick Jagger’s beautiful, foreign-born wife, Bianca Jagger, was working as a model for Halston and living the life of a top celebrity in NYC. To celebrate her 30th birthday, Halston threw her a lavish, over-the-top birthday party at her favorite hangout, Studio 54. With the help of Studio 54 owner, Steve Rubell, the party was a memorable event. It included celebrity guests such as Andy Warhol, Victor Hugo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and of course, Bianca’s husband, Mick Jagger. A white horse and some doves were even brought in for the occasion. The horse provided a photo opp for Bianca, one that cemented her party girl image.
Rod and Alana Stewart Demonstrating How Blondes Have More Fun.
Rod Stewart and his soon-to-be wife, Alana Hamilton (who was once married to actor George Hamilton) proved that blondes have more fun during a night at Studio 54 in 1978. Ironically, Blondes Have More Fun was the title of Stewart’s newly released album which spawned such hits as “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Dirty Weekend.” Together, Rod and Alana looked the part of the beautiful, happy couple, but behind the scenes, things were a mess, especially after the couple married in 1979. Rod later admitted that he was too young and immature for marriage and that he wasn’t ready to give up the hard-partying nights of drunks, drugs, and dancing.
Elton John, Riana Ross, and Cher Co-Hosting the Rock Music Awards in 1975.
As disco music was bursting onto the scene and pre-Studio 54 dance clubs were taking over Manhattan, a new music awards show was started. The Rock Music Awards was a short-lived awards show, starting in 1975 and lasting only three years. Elton John, Diana Ross, and Cher, shown in this photo, hosted the first awards ceremony in 1975. At the time, only country music has its own genre-specific awards show. In the Grammys, the new disco sound was lumped in with rock music and many people in the rock industry felt that their music was being overshadowed by disco. The Rock Music Awards was an attempt to recognize rock music and rock artists.
Jerry Hall’s Cat Suit Left Nothing to the Imagination.
In case you were wondering, no, model Jerry Hall didn’t wear undergarments beneath her sexy, slinky cat suit. Although the outfit had long sleeves and full-length pants, it was made entirely of lace. See-though lace. As you can tell from this photograph snapped inside Studio 54, even when Jerry Hall turned her back on people, all eyes were on her. Open sexual activity was common at Studio 54 with couples – even same-sex couples – engaging in tristes while everyone else looked on. When you consider that, it kind of makes Jerry Hall’s peekaboo cat suit seen rather tame. Or not.
Did Andy Warhol Have an Affair With Mick Jagger’s Wife?
Pop artist Andy Warhol spent a lot of his nights at Studio 54 in the company of sultry Bianca Jagger, wife of Rolling Stone’s lead singer, Mick Jagger, the two were not having an affair. Warhol was gay and has been romantically linked to some of the artists with whom he collaborated, including Jed Johnson, John Giomo, and Edward Wallowitch. Many of Warhol’s more intimate friends claimed he was into voyeurism. What is clear is that his interest in some of Studio 54’s regulars, such as Bianca Jagger was not sexual in nature but rather a true friendship.
Studio 54 Owner, Steve Rubell, Took a Nap on the Bosom of Rod Stewart’s Wife.
Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell was a wannabe celebrity himself, so he used his prestige as the nightclub owner to hobnob with the famous folks who frequented his establishment. It is not uncommon to see him posing for photographs with the stars that came to play at Studio 54. In this photo, Rubell is resting his head on the shoulder of Alana Hamilton as she sits next to her new husband, British rocker Rod Stewart, at Studio 54. This photo was taken in 1979 shortly after the couple got married. They couldn’t marry until Alana’s divorce from actor George Hamilton was finalized.
Pony Rides at Bianca Jagger’s Studio 54 Birthday Party.
Bianca Jagger wasn’t the only person to ride a horse inside Studio 54. For the model’s 30th birthday, her husband, Mick Jagger, and her boss, Halston, teamed up with Steve Rubell, the co-owner of Studio 54, to throw the biggest, wildest birthday party ever. In their effort to give Bianca an over-the-top birthday, Rubell arranged to have a horse brought in. Bianca mounted the horse for her entrance into the party and shared the saddle with some of the other Halston models, as shown in this photograph. Bianca Jagger’s birthday party became one of the more memorable moments at Studio 54, in part because it was an outward display of the hedonistic lifestyle that attracted people to the club.
Saturday Night Live actors Bill Murray dancing with Gilda Radner at Studio 54 in 1978.
Shoot Saturday Night Live, then head over the Studio 54 to dance the rest of the night away. That was often the routine for the actors and guest stars on Saturday Night Live. In this photo from 1978, we see wacky Gilda Radner on the dancefloor with her SNL co-star Bill Murray. A few years later, Nick Nolte was slated to be the guest host of SNL but he spent the night before at Studio 54. He was reportedly too hungover the next day to host the show. Comedian Eddie Murphy, who was an SNL cast member at the time, had to step in to host the show. It was the only time a current cast member also hosted the show.