In Pictures: Blonde bombshells at the movies
The blonde, dumb or not, was once considered a pernicious stereotype.
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By contrast today, on the London stage, Legally Blonde, the musical based on the 2001 Reese Witherspoon film about a dizzy Californian who outsmarts legal eagles at Harvard, has been attracting rave reviews and bonanza business in the West End (its run has just been extended to February 2011). Denise Van Outen presented a one-woman-show, Blondes, at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, and both productions have been a magnet for the self-indulgent girls' night out.
Just as female theatre-goers today cheer for Sheridan Smith's brainy airhead in Legally Blonde, so women watching these classic Hollywood films find fresh cause for celebration – even, and often especially, in works that had always been thought blatantly misogynist. "Blondes make the best victims," Alfred Hitchcock once said, in one of his trademark provocations. "They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints."
Here, we celebrate ten of Hollywood's most iconic blonde actresses.