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The Secretive and Legendary Studio 54 Nightclub

Updated: Apr 5

Studio 54 was a legendary nightclub in New York City that was the epicenter of elusive celebrity culture in the 1970s, perfectly coinciding with the disco era. The club was open for three years, during which anyone who was anyone would make an appearance. There are so many stories about the goings-on of the nightclub, but how much of that lore is fact and how much of it is myth? Take a glimpse into this exciting and secretive world.

Ride In Style

Studio 54 had a notoriously exclusive entrance policy, with people lining up in desperate hopes of getting in. If you were not famous, it was pretty difficult to get in. That’s why this guy came in riding a horse in order to try to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Disco Diva

In the 1970s, Cher’s career was at its zenith, having already released ten successful albums, both as a solo artist and with then-husband Sonny Bono. By the late ’70s, she had begun to transition to acting and would later win an Oscar as well. Here she is dancing the night away at Studio 54.acting and would later win an Oscar as well. Here she is dancing the night away at Studio 54.

Amazing Show

One of the most exciting aspects of Studio 54 was the many performances and shows that were put on. Here two trapeze artists dangle from the ceiling along excited club goers. Some of the crazy things that went on would be unbelievable without the photos that show proof.

Famous Couple

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and then-wife model Bianca Jagger were frequent guests at Studio 54. The two were an unstoppable power couple that was always welcome at the exclusive nightclub.

Child Stars

Brooke Shields became a household name when she was very young after appearing at age 12 in Pretty Baby and later in the film The Blue Lagoon and TV show Suddenly Susan. Here she is with Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of the acclaimed author, Ernest Hemingway. Mariel, also an actress, was nominated for a Golden Globe award when she was only 14 for her role in Lipstick. She also appeared in Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

Live Doves

There was no telling just what wild scenes you’d encounter at each visit at Studio 54. It was pretty commonplace to see live exotic animals, adding to the already general mystique and excitement of the place. Here is Bianca Jagger among some white doves. Next to her is Steve Rubell, the owner of the club.

The Village People

The Village People were an unstoppable force during the 1970s, with mega-hit songs like “YMCA” and “Macho Man” topping the charts. They became icons for the LGBT community and were known for their flamboyant outfits that always made them stand out.

Funny Man

Comedian and actor Robin Williams was already a household name during the 1970s, particularly after he played Mork in the hit TV show Mork & Mindy. Here he is with Valerie Velardi, his then-future wife, who he would go on to have a son with named Zachary Pym Williams.

Hollywood Heavyweight

Here we see a truly impressive collection of guests that would often be seen at Studio 54. Accomplished boxer Muhammad Ali is pictured alongside Bianca Jagger and fashion designer Calvin Klein. It was very normal to see the stars mingle while at the nightclub.

Carolina Herrera

Fashion designer Carolina Herrera elegantly dressed for her night out at Studio 54, donning a silk cape gowns on nights out at Studio 54 in 1977.

Beverly Johnson

Model Beverly Johnson enjoyed some time at Studio 54. Johnson is best known for becoming the first African-American model to grace the cover of Vogue in August 1974.

Smiles All-Around

The 1970s proved to a difficult time in American history, both politically and economically. Studio 54 gave people a release and a chance to enjoy pure hedonism during these hard times. Here is fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo laughing with singer Tina Turner.

Stevie Wonder and Steven Stills

Iconic singers and musicians Stevie wonder and Steven Stills joined forces for a live performance during a birthday party for 300 guests held at the nightclub. The intimate performance was surly quite entertaining

Far Out-fit

Supermodel and fashion icon Grace Jones was known for her incredible outfits that certainly made her stand out. Fans and photographers would always see what she would bring each time she showed up to Studio 54.

Joe Namath

As is the case today, sports stars are just as high profile as Hollywood celebrities. Joe Namath, an NFL star who played for the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams, also relaxed during some time off and enjoying drinks at the famed nightclub.

Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso

Here’s an incredible grouping of artistic stars: pop artist Andy Warhol, model Jerry Hall, singer Debbie Harry, writer Truman Capote, and fashion designer Paloma Picasso all pose together while attending a night out at Studio 54. What an incredible combination of talent.

Leading Ladies

It was very common to see all of the famous faces of the day gather together while at Studio 54. Here we see Liza Minelli, Elizabeth Taylor, and First Lady Betty Ford. What a combination! We wonder what these ladies were discussing while this photo was being snapped.

Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx

Iconic songstresses Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx first became known for being members of Labelle, who were later named the Blue Belles. The two went to Studio 54 before their night of hosting the One to One Telethon in 1982.

Total Knockout

Sylvester Stallone is best known for the Rocky film franchise. Many have said that he was inspired to write the screenplay after watching Muhammad Ali fight Chuck Wepner. Here is Stallone at Studio 54 with Sheryl Slocum circa 1977.

Fleur Thiemeyer and Elton John

Elton John was unimpressed by this cotton candy while attending the premiere party At Studio 54 for the film Grease in 1978. He was joined by costume designer Fleur Thiemereyer, who was equally unimpressed.

Music Legends

In the 1970s, musicians Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler, pictured here together, were on top of the world. This was a bit before Jackson’s solo career took off, and it’s said that the time he spent at Studio 54 help shape his signature sound that would take over the music world during the 1980s.

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Michael Caine

Actor Michael Caine is known to younger generations as Bruce Wayne’s butler in the Batman film series. At a much younger age in 1980, he was dancing the night away with his wife Shakira.

The Manager

Steve Rubell was the co-founder and owner of Studio 54 who was known for being the manager of the famous club as well. He held very exclusive standards for entrance and would often be the one deciding who was allowed in and who was not. He always wanted to ensure that the celebrity clientele were well treated. Here he is with Brooke Shields, Calvin Klein, and Andy Warhol.

Dancing Queen

While Cher was known for her singing, she was also quite fond of dancing the night away, especially while at Studio 54. Here she is with Howard Himelstein. Before her career as a songstress, Cher started out her career as a dancer, working at clubs on Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

The Stage

Studio 54 was known for drawing huge crowds of people who wanted to get in, but also for the crowds that did manage to make it inside the exclusive club. People were happy to cram into the club for the chance to rub shoulders with the famous stars that frequented the club.

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Friends In High Places

Studio 54 was known for bringing together many famous people. For some reason, it’s fascinating to see famous people mingling together. Here are Tina Turner with Rod Stewart and his then-wife Alana. Tina Turner famously impersonated Stewart at the Ritz, where she wore a blonde wig and sang his songs.

Studio 54 was so exclusive that only celebrities would easily be able to get in, while the rest of the “mere mortals” had to wait in a long line outside to maybe have a chance to get in. You would have to impress the doorman to be let in.

Wild Horses

Studio 54 was known for its wild antics, which is what led it to its legendary reputation. Bianca Jagger is seen here riding a white horse, which is what may have inspired the Rolling Stones song, “Wild Horses.” Jagger said that “It was a beautiful white horse that reminded me of mine.”

St. Jacques & Jagger

Studio 54 allowed celebrities to let their hair down and relax without having to worry about being mobbed. Here we see actor Sterling St. Jacques dancing the night away along with Bianca Jagger. He starred in the film Eyes of Laura Mars and was also a model working for Givenchy.

Two’s Company

Suzanne Somers rose to fame when she appeared on the hit sitcom Three’s Company. The show, on which she portrayed the character of Chrissy, made her a star, which granted her easy access to Studio 54. Later in life, she turned to writing. Here she is with her husband Alan Hamel.

The Space

Although Studio 54 was extremely exclusive, it was still able to fit a large amount of people inside. The club was inside what used to be an old theater and had a capacity of over 1000. Even when it was jam-packed, there was still a line outside the door of hopeful people who were desperate to get in.

A Grand Show

One of the things that made Studio 54 so special was the fact that it was not just a nightclub, but also a source of entertainment. Lavish productions were put on.

Liz’s Birthday

Elizabeth Taylor was an absolute superstar, which is why she was a regular at Studio 54. Here we see her celebrating her birthday alongside fashion designer Halston. An incredible birthday cake can be seen behind her, which impressively captured her countenance.

Even though celebrities had easy access entry to Studio 54, it was a totally different story for the general public. In order to get into the exclusive club, you really had to wow the bouncers, which led to many creative and outlandish outfits. These kinds of outfits were known for helping people get into the nightclub.