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The 10 Most Notorious Sex Scandals in Hollywood History

We can learn a lot about shifting mores by charting the careers of those caught in the spotlight with their zippers down.

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Ingrid Bergman

5) THE STAR: Ingrid Bergman

THE SCANDAL: In the 1940s, Bergman was one of the most-loved stars in America, partly because she struck so many people as a nice family girl who, in such movies as Notorious and Casablanca, was able to suggest a raving slut under the surface: what range! All that changed overnight when Bergman, who had a husband and a daughter, got pregnant by the Italian director Roberto Rossellini, for whom she'd gone off to Europe to make some weird flick that wasn't hardly in English, even. People felt so personally betrayed that Colorado Senator Edwin C. Johnson took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to denounce Bergman as "a powerful influence for evil." It's hard when your favorite movie actress busts up her family for someone other than you.

THE FALLOUT: Bergman and Rossellini married in 1950; the marriage, which produced two daughters (including the actress Isabella Rossellini) ended in 1957. In 1956, Bergman won a Best Actress Oscar for Anastasia but tactfully sent Cary Grant to pick it up for her. When she appeared at the Academy Awards as a presenter the next year, the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Still, as late as her 1974 appearance in Murder on the Orient Express, many in the press felt the need to mention the way that the country had turned its back on her, if only to note that the time had come to make amends. In her later years, all was forgiven, and the sense that she had been gravely wronged added a touch of nobility to her glamour.

liztaylor The 10 Most Notorious Sex Scandals in Hollywood History

6) THE STAR: Elizabeth Taylor, the Angelina of her day crossed with the Princess Diana of her day, with a little Paris Hilton thrown in for flavor

THE SCANDAL: In 1957, Taylor, already twice-divorced, exchanged vows with the producer Michael Todd, whose death in a plane crash a year later guaranteed he'd forever be cited as the one man with whom she could have been happy. The public was deeply moved by the sight of the beautiful, grieving young widow being comforted by Todd's friend, the popular singer Eddie Fisher. They were less moved by the news that Taylor had permitted Fisher to comfort her all the way to the aisle, a development that required him to divorce his own wife, Debbie Reynolds. The newlyweds would co-star in Butterfield 8, the movie for which Liz won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

THE FALLOUT: General consensus has always held that Taylor was given the Oscar because she'd fallen ill and nearly died, so that everybody felt guilty for shunning her as a homewrecker and a black widow. Taylor permitted her rebound husband to hang around pulling her chair out for her at dinner for five years, until Richard Burton sent a man down to the lobby with a card informing him that his services would no longer be required. In the end, the scandal was folded into the ongoing extravaganza that is Elizabeth Taylor, but Fisher never escaped his position as national shmuck.

7) THE STARS: Sarah Miles and Burt Reynolds

THE SCANDAL: In 1972, Miles and Reynolds, both of whose careers were just taking off, co-starred in the Western romance The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. In the movie, the rough outlaw played by Reynolds abducts and eventually wins the heart of the flinty English beauty played by Miles, in the course of a story that requires her to suffer at the hands of crueler, less photogenic men. Midway through filming, Miles herself was physically attacked by her business manager, David Whiting, and sought sanctuary by fleeing to Reynolds' quarters; the next morning, Whiting was found to have committed suicide.

 
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