6 unbelievable celebrity throwbacks, from Dolly Parton to George Takei

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It can be sometimes easy to forget that fan-favourite elders haven’t always looked the same. But, much like a fine wine, they really have only gotten better with age.

From queen Dolly Parton to the amazing Jodie Foster and even president Joe Biden, take a trip down memory lane and see just how these six LGBT+ celebs and allies looks have evolved over the years.

Dolly Parton

Side by side images of Dolly Parton from the 2019 CMA Awards and then a picture of the iconic singer from 1965
In the left image, Dolly Parton poses at the CMA Awards in 2019. The second image shows the iconic country singer as she poses for a portrait in 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty/Taylor Hill/Michael Ochs Archives)

Topping the list is, of course, the queen herself, Dolly Parton. She isn’t just a hugely popular country singer – she is an institution and icon within the LGBT+ community.

While she’s best known for her music and staunch allyship, Parton has been very private about her personal life. But photos of the young icon do exist, and it’s heartwarming to see that she’s always had a thing for big hair.

This portrait is from 1965 which was the same year she signed onto her first label, Monument Records, as a pop singer. She wouldn’t transition back into country music until years later.

Ian McKellen

Side by side images of Ian McKellen with one image showing the actor sttending Paris Fashion Week in 2020 while the other shows McKellen in his flat in 1969
The picture on the left shows Ian McKellen from Paris Fashion Week in 2020 on the left while the image on the right depicts the actor in his West London flat in 1969. (David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty for Paul Smith/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix)

Sir Ian McKellen wasn’t always the wise Gandalf figure that we know and love today. In fact, in his younger years, McKellen would have made a stunning elf to rival Legolas or even a dashing ranger like Aragorn.

Before he was a Hollywood legend, McKellen launched his career in the theatre – which he routinely returns to for fantastic performances that the public can still enjoy today.

This gorgeous picture captures a young McKellen staring soulfully into the camera while he lounged in his West London flat in 1969.

Jodie Foster

Side by side images of Jodie Foster with one image showing the actor at the Cannes Film Festival while the other is a picture of Foster from 1987 to promote her movie
In the image on the left, Jodie Foster poses during an event at the Cannes Film Festival in July 2021. The other photo shows Foster posing for a photo in June 1987 to promote “The Accused”. (Toni Anne Barson/FilmMagic/Getty/David Hume Kennerly)

Foster began her storied career as a very young child in TV, appearing in shows like Gunsmoke, My Three Sons and Paper Moon. She later broke into the silver screen as Iris in the 1976 film Taxi Driver, which won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

The Silence of the Lambs star came out as gay in an open, honest speech at the Golden Globes in 2013. Just a year later, Foster married her now-wife Alexandra Hedison, a photographer and former actress.

Honestly, these pictures of Foster show that she is a truly ageless queer beauty, and I desperately need to learn her skincare routine.

President Joe Biden

Side by side images of Joe Biden from a recent press conference and an Instagram photo from when he was 26 years old
President Joe Biden has occasionally shared pictures of himself from when he was younger much to the delight of the internet. (Getty/Al Drago/Instagram/@potus)

Biden built his presidential campaign in part on LGBT+ inclusion, and since he came into office in January, his administration has continuously come out swinging for LGBT+ rights.

While there wasn’t much to get thirsty about on the campaign trail, pictures of young Biden in a snug red shirt and with gently tousled hair have occasionally broken the internet. The now-president originally shared the photo of himself at age 26 on his personal Instagram a few years ago, and he brought it back again this year to encourage young people to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

Obviously, someone on his social media team is aware of the power of thirst to do good.

George Takei

Side by side images of George Takei from a recent press event and from the
George Takei has said multiple times that “Naked Time”, the Stark Trek episode where his character wields a sword while shirtless, is one of his favourite episodes. (Getty/Rodin Eckenroth/YouTube/IGN)

The legendary actor and LGBT+ activist is world-renowned for his role as Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the fictional starship the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. There is one groundbreaking episode that showed off not only Takei’s acting prowess but also his physical capabilities.

In the sixth episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, titled “Naked Time”, the Enterprise crew are infected with a virus that removes people’s inhibitions and causes them to behave irrationally. Sulu rips off his shirt, revealing his impressive abs, and begins to run about with a sword – like he’s one of the Three Musketeers.

Even Takei enjoyed being able to show off his abs as well as his “swashbuckling prowess” in the episode. He added in an interview with the RadioTimes that “Naked Time” has “always been my favourite” episode as he “got liberated” from being “chained” behind the console of the ship.

BD Wong

Side by side images of BD Wong from the 74th Annual Tony Awards and then a picture of the iconic actor at the performance of
In the left image, BD Wong appears at a performance of “M. Butterfly” in 1988. The second image shows the actor attending the 74th Annual Tony Awards in September 2021. (Getty/Arturo Holmes/Ron Galella)

The openly gay actor made his name and won a Tony Award for his role as Song Liling in M. Butterfly before going down in pop culture history as the voice of Li Shang in Disney’s Mulan and Dr Henry Wu in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Wong’s effortless style and glamorous looks have stood the test of time. And honestly, the circle glasses and turtleneck combo that he wore at this performance of “M. Butterfly” in 1988 could be seen worn on any queer person casually walking around a trendy LGBT+ spot today.

Earlier this year, the out actor revealed he believed that Li Shang, who has long been revered as a queer Disney icon, was ‘sexually fluid’ as many of his actions and emotions could be seen “through the lends of fluidity”.

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