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List: Every Disney Star Named ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

Paperback People: 20 Years of Sexiest Man Alive Book

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For over 30 years, People magazine has been documenting the world’s “Sexiest Man Alive” on the cover of its yearly special issue. Despite what the title might imply, the honor is not attained by a perennial Hunger Games-style arena fight with past winners where the last man standing is, in fact, the “Sexiest Man Alive.” Instead, we are treated to the editor’s yearly musings on what is “sexy” and what man most embodies that term.

While what is considered sexy can and has changed over time, the men honored span the ranges of age, race, and body type. But, one thing many of these men have in common? The Walt Disney Company. Twenty of them, in fact, have had major roles in classic Disney properties.

So here they are: Disney’s Sexiest Men Alive.

1. Mel Gibson (1985)

36 of 36 1985: Mel Gibson

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Though Mel Gibson is now 66 years old, the actor was just 29 when he was named People‘s first-ever “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1985. Known for his role as the titular character in Mad Max, the article was published the same year as its sequel, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome came to theaters. And it was ten years later, in 1995 when Gibson lent his voice for John Smith in Disney’s animated classic Pocahontas. As a romantic lead, his deep voice and natural charisma brought Smith to life for the historical reimagining. Pocahontas is now available for streaming on Disney+.

John Smith's Arrival | Disney Video

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2. Mark Harmon (1986)

35 of 36 1986: Mark Harmon

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Like Gibson, Mark Harmon was also 29 years old when he won the title of “Sexiest Man Alive.” Now 70, Mark Harmon is perhaps best known for his staggering 18-season run as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on CBS’ NCIS. But in 2003, the same year NCIS first premiered, Harmon devoted his “leading man” charm to a Disney role. In Freaky Friday, Harmon played the prospective spouse of Jamie Lee Curtis and soon-to-be step-father of Lindsay Lohan. And while teen girls were distracted by pretty boy Chad Michael Murray as Jake, moms’ heads were turned by the calm and understanding character Ryan played by Harmon. Freaky Friday is available to stream on Disney+.

mark harmon in freaky friday | Ncis, Pauley perrette ncis, Ncis cast

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3. Sean Connery (1989)

32 of 36 1989: Sean Connery

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(Yes, this is technically Lucasfilm, but we’re counting it!) Since he first played the role of Secret Agent James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No, the late Sean Connery had been known as one of the sexiest men in Hollywood. Twenty-seven years after that film’s release, Connery demonstrated he was still a powerhouse by gracing the cover of People magazine at age 59, proving firsthand that age is just a number. 1989 also happened to be when Connery starred in the third installment of Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, as Indiana Jones’s father, Henry Jones. Sr. Connery was able to go toe-to-toe with Harrison Ford as a leading man. Unfortunately, none of the Indiana Jones films are yet available on Disney+.

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4. Denzel Washington (1996)

26 of 36 1996: Denzel Washington

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At 42, Denzel Washington earned the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” after dominating many leading roles throughout the early ’90s. Most recently, at age 67, Denzel has continued his career by playing the title role in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, based on the play by William Shakespeare. But in the year 2000, Denzel was the star of Disney’s Remember the Titans, a biographical sports drama based on the life of coach Herman Boone: a black football coach who integrated the high school’s football team in the early ’70s, and Denzel Washington brings sincerity to the role. Remember the Titans is available for streaming on Disney+.

Remember the Titans (2000) - IMDb

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5. George Clooney (1997, 2006)

George Clooney Jokes About Winning Sexiest Man Alive Twice | PEOPLE.com

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The first 2-time winner to be featured on this list (but not the last), George Clooney earned the title at age 36 and again at age 45. Prior to his first win, he was perhaps best known for his role in the television hospital drama E.R., and he was about to step out as the caped crusader in Batman & Robin. By his second win, he had stepped out as the lead in the successful Ocean’s trilogy, with Ocean’s Thirteen to be released in 2007. In 2015, the leading man offered his star power for 2015’s ill-fated Tomorrowland. A high-concept futuristic adventure based on the Magic Kingdom’s “Tomorrowland” had much promise but failed to deliver at the box office. But we got George in a Disney movie, and that’s the important thing, right? Tomorrowland is not available on Disney+.

George Clooney Tackles 'Has-Been' Character in 'Tomorrowland' - Front Row Features

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6. Harrison Ford (1998)

24 of 36 1998: Harrison Ford

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The year was 1998, and at age 56, Harrison Ford was the undisputed “Sexiest Man Alive” but a Hollywood living legend. His two most iconic roles, Han Solo in Star Wars (1977-1983) and the eponymous Indiana Jones (1981-1989), were already under his belt. Now at age 79, audiences still are not tired of his devil-may-care attitude and commanding screen presence. We have since seen Ford revisit his famous roles in the latest–albeit debated–Star Wars Sequel Trilogy: The Force Awakens (2015) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). We also reprise Indy for Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (2008), and we will see him again for an unnamed fifth Indiana Jones installment currently filming (2023). The Star Wars franchise is available for streaming in its entirety on Disney+.

Disney Plus Changes 'Star Wars: a New Hope' Han Solo and Greedo

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7. Ben Affleck (2002)

Affleck 'Sexiest Man Alive' | News, Sports, Jobs - Lawrence Journal-World: news, information, headlines and events in Lawrence, Kansas

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Ben Affleck had already taken Hollywood by storm when he was named “Sexiest Man Alive” at the age of 30. In 1997 he became the youngest ever recipient of the Oscar for “Best Screenplay” for his film Good Will Hunting(25), a record which he still holds. The following year, he starred in Disney’s Touchstone picture Armageddon. Affleck brought a lot of his charm to the romantic lead opposite Liv Tyler, and The Michael Bay blockbuster was a smash hit. The film’s single “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the film even inspired a Disneyland Paris attraction that remained in the Park until 2019. Armageddon is not available on Disney+.

Ben Affleck was made to 'run in the gym' for his 'Armageddon' role

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8. Johnny Depp (2003, 2009)

19 of 36 2003: Johnny Depp 13 of 36 2009: Johnny Depp

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Now we turn to Captain Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp first earned “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2003, upon the release of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl, which first introduced Jack Sparrow to the world and launched the Pirates franchise. The sequels Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and At World’s End (2007) arguably paved the way for his second nomination in 2009. While Depp’s situation is drenched in controversy, the cultural impact of Captain Jack speaks for itself, most especially in the redesign of the Disney ride for which the movie was based to include his character. Johnny Depp’s swaggering performance demonstrated a chaotic mixture of comedy and sex appeal that audiences loved. The Pirates franchise is available for streaming in its entirety on Disney+.

Presenting Captain Jack Sparrow – The Looking Glass

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9. Jude Law (2004)

18 of 36 2004: Jude Law

Now have our first member of the MCU on this list. Jude Law was named 2004’s “Sexiest Man Alive” at age 32. At the time, he was mostly known for his roles in dramas and romantic comedies. However, 2009 marked his foray into action, taking part in the Blockbuster Sherlock Holmes as John Watson, alongside fellow MCU star Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock). In 2019, at age 47, Law co-starred in Captain Marvel as Yon Rogg, Kree Empire Commander and leader of Starforce, and he brought his alluring nature to the part in an unforgettable way. Captain Marvel is available for streaming on Disney+.

Deleted Captain Marvel Scene With Yon-Rogg Sounds Amazing | The Mary Sue

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10. Matthew McConaughey (2005)

17 of 36 2005: Matthew McConaughey

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Alright, alright, alright. 2005’s “Sexiest Man Alive” was Matthew McConaughey, and his Disney connection came in 1994 when he stepped up to the plate in Disney’s Angels in the Outfield. McConaughey was featured in the family film based on the 1951 film of the same name, and longtime fans of the actor should re-watch the movie. You will be particularly happy about his shirtless locker room scene. Though he is now 52, McConaughey barely looks like he has aged a day and, in this writer’s opinion, is way overdue for his next Disney flick. Angels in the Outfield is not currently available on Disney+.

Matthew McConaughey's Five Most Alright Performances

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11. Matt Damon (2007)

15 of 36 2007: Matt Damon

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Matt Damon got the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” when he was 37. The year marked the release of Ocean’s 13 and the end of the Ocean’s trilogy, which he starred in with fellow “Sexiest Men Alive” George Clooney and Brad Pitt. 2007 also marked the final film in the original Bourne trilogy: The Bourne Ultimatum, in which he played runaway spy Jason Bourne.

These franchises proved Damon as a star capable of action and comedy, which is perhaps what led to his cameo appearance in the MCU during Thor: Ragnarok. We see Damon on Asgard acting out the tragic “death” of Loki before the god himself, in disguise as his father Odin, in one of the many hilarious moments of the film. And it looks as if we have not seen the last of him as he is also credited in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). Thor: Ragnarok is available for streaming on Disney+.

Matt Damon Confirmed Thor: Love and Thunder Role as His Family Flies to Australia | Entertainment News

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12. Hugh Jackman (2008)

14 of 36 2008: Hugh Jackman

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Hugh Jackman’s history with Disney goes as far back as 1995 when he played Gaston in Disney Broadway’s Melbourne production of Beauty and the Beast. He was named “Sexiest Man Alive” at 40 years old. He began his iconic role of Logan AKA Wolverine in Marvel’s X-Men franchise in 2000, wrapping up the original trilogy in 2006 with X-Men: The Last Stand. And his “Sexiest Man Alive” cover made a cameo appearance in “Sexiest Man Alive” Ryan Reynolds’ film Deadpool in 2016. The X-Men films are available on Disney+.

Hugh Jackman Says His X-Men Audition for Wolverine Was '20 Seconds Long' | PEOPLE.com

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13. Ryan Reynolds (2010)

12 of 36 2010: Ryan Reynolds

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Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, his time as “Sexiest Man Alive” came at age 34. The title was likely solidified when he played the romantic lead the year previous in Touchstone Picture’s The Proposal. He originated the role of Marvel’s “Merc with a Mouth” Deadpool alongside Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And this was followed by 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster standalone film Deadpool. Reynolds can most recently be seen in the 2021 comedy Free Guy, once again lending his leading man charm to the action-comedy genre. Free Guy is now available for streaming on Disney+.

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14. Bradley Cooper (2011)

11 of 36 2011: Bradley Cooper

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Bradley Cooper was named “Sexiest Man Alive” when he was 36, the year after Reynolds and the year before he played the role of Templeton Peck, AKA “Face” in 20th Century Studios’ blockbuster reboot of The A-Team, which makes sense to this writer. He is the epitome of the “face” of an action flick, giving plenty of eye candy for viewers.

But in 2014, it would be his voice, not his pretty face, that would officially enter the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy. Cooper provides the voice of the beloved character Rocket Raccoon. Guardians, of course, became such a success that it inspired a refurbishment of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disneyland into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, which sits at one of the entrances to Marvel’s Avengers Campus. Cooper continued to voice the role in every iteration of Rocket within the Guardians and Avengers films, and we can only hope he will be doing the same thing for Cosmic Rewind, which is set to open at EPCOT later this year. Guardians of the Galaxy is available on Disney+.

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15. Channing Tatum (2012)

10 of 36 2012: Channing Tatum

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At 32, in 2012, Channing Tatum was declared the world’s “Sexiest Man Alive” after starring in his breakout roles for Summit Entertainment’s Step Up (2006) and Step Up 2: The Streets (2008). However, the role that paved the way to his title was his lead role in the action-comedy 21 Jump Street. Its sequel, 22 Jump Street, came out in 2014, the same year that he voiced the role of Joaquin in the animated movie musical The Book of Life. The Book of Life is available for streaming on Disney+.

Channing Tatum's Daughter Refused to Watch the Film Responsible for Her Very Being | Vanity Fair

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16. Chris Hemsworth (2014)

8 of 36 2014: Chris Hemsworth

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The God of Thunder himself. Chris Hemsworth has been gracing our screens as Thor of Asgard since 2011’s Thor introduced him to the MCU. We saw him reprise the role in The Avengers (2012) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) before being declared the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2014 at age 31. He has gone on to star in all subsequent Avengers on-screen team-ups. Seven years later, he is just as sexy as ever. But we will never quite have the same feeling that we did when we first saw him step out shirtless in the hero’s first film. Thor is available for streaming on Disney+.

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17. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (2016)

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson named People's Sexiest Man Alive

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has starred in several Disney live-action family films over the years. There was the sports comedy The Game Plan (2007), the young-adult sci-fi film Race to Witch Mountain (2009), and, most recently, the adaption of the classic Disney Parks attraction Jungle Cruise (2021). But probably his most notable role was when he lent his voice to demi-god Maui in 2016’s Moana, solidifying his place in a true Disney classic. Moana is available for streaming on Disney+.

Disney depiction of obese Polynesian god in film Moana sparks anger | Moana | The Guardian

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18. Idris Elba (2018)

4 of 36 2018: Idris Elba

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Actor Idris Elba won the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2018 at 46. He is the only actor on this list who has the distinction of being a key figure in the MCU as well as the voice of more than one animated Disney character. He played the reoccurring role of Heimdall, the watchmen of the gods, in Marvel’s Thor franchise (2011-2018). And in 2016 alone, he voiced Cheif Bogo in Zootopia, Shere Khan in the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, and the sassy seal Fluke in Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory. All of Elba’s aforementioned movies are available for streaming on Disney+. Someone is definitely working for that “Disney Legend” status.

Chief Bogo, Zootopia

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19. Michael B. Jordan (2020)

2 of 36 2020: Michael B. Jordan

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Michael B. Jordan was declared People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2020 at age 33, 2 years after his role as the MCU villain Killmonger in Black Panther. Jordan’s performance not only challenged the types of villains that had previously been featured in Marvel’s films but the core morality of the world around him. And he looked good while he did it! More recently, he reprised Killmonger for Marvel’s Disney+ animated series What If in the episodes “What if Killmonger Saved Tony Stark?” and “What if the Watcher Broke His Oath?”

Is Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan Interested In Returning As Killmonger? Here's The Latest | Cinemablend

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20. Paul Rudd (2021)

1 of 36 2021: Paul Rudd

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Last but not least, we have another one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. At age 52, Paul Rudd was declared 2021’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” After originating the role of Scott Lang/Ant-Man for Ant-Man (2015) for the MCU, Rudd officially became a part of the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Scott Lang most recently appeared in the flesh in Avengers: Endgame and is due to be seen again in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania in 2023. He also lent his voice to Marvel’s What If series in the episode, “What if…Zombies?!” All of the aforementioned content is now available to stream on Disney+.

That time Paul Rudd had a shirtless scene in Ant-Man : r/marvelstudios

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And those are the 20 Disney men that have been declared People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” Are there any who surprised you? Which of these men do you want to binge-watch on Disney+ now?

About Maggie Koch