If you were a mover and shaker in the entertainment industry back in the late 1970s, THE place to be seen was New York’s fashionable Studio 54 night club in Manhattan. The vision of co-owners Steve Rubell and Ian Shrager, Studio 54 first opened its doors on April 26th, 1977. It quickly became the most popular night club in New York, and it wasn’t long before the stars of stage and screen, alongside artists, designers, producers, athletes and models were flooding into the club to dance the night away to the grooviest tunes of the disco era.
The party ended abruptly in 1980 when Rubell and Shrager were convicted of tax evasion. For the thirty three months before their conviction, Studio 54 was the hottest ticket in town. Here are twenty celebrities who sure had a whole lot of fun in the legendary New York night club.
Michael Jackson And Steve Tyler
Taken in 1977 during Studio 54’s first year of business, here we see the club’s owner, Steve Rubell, with Michael Jackson and Steve Tyler, the hell-raising lead singer of Boston rock band, Aerosmith. From the start, the club was a mecca for some of the biggest stars of the 1970s, and Rubell reveled in the famous company he kept. In 1977, Studio 54 was THE place to be!
Keith Richards And Chuck Berry
Here’s Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards enjoying a drink with rock ‘n’ roll legend, Chuck Berry back in 1980. Richards was a regular at the club. Indeed, it was here that he met his wife, Patti Hanson. The two married in 1983 and went on to have two children together.
Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Jamaican-born model, actress and singer Grace Jones was hot property. The fiery-tempered Bond Girl was known for her outrageous fashion sense and elaborate make-up. She fit right in in the heady atmosphere of Studio 54, which was certainly no stranger to colorful characters!
Dan Aykroyd And Gilda Radner
Taken a year before Dan Aykroyd’s career went global with the release of the first Ghostbusters movie, here’s the Blues Brothers star on the dance floor with fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus, Gilda Radner. Radner would go on to marry the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory star Gene Wilder. Tragically, she died in 1985 from ovarian cancer at the young age of forty two.
Mick And Bianca Jagger
If there was a party going on in the ’70s, you could rest assured Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger would be there! Here’s Mick with his first wife Bianca, alongside the owners of Studio 54, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. Shortly after this photo was taken, the Jaggers would divorce.
Known more for his terminating and governing skills than his dancing feet, it’s a lesser-known fact that the Austrian Oak was once to be seen strutting his stuff on the New York disco scene in Studio 54. Here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the late ’70s busting a move with a female companion.
The Hollywood legend Tony Curtis was in his fifties when the New York’s newest club opened its doors for the first time in Manhattan in 1977. But age didn’t stop Curtis attending what was then the hottest club in North America. Here’s Tony enjoying a night out at Studio 54 with his wife Leslie.
Gene Simmons And Cher
Rolling Stone magazine described Studio 54 as an ‘unprecedented mix of glamorous sophistication and primal hedonism’. That pretty much encapsulates this shot of the legendary Cher sharing a chocolate eclair with the front-man of ’70s glam rock mega-band, Gene Simmons. There really was a time when everybody who was anybody was to be found at Studio 54!
She was the daughter of Hollywood legend Judy Garland who would go on to become a superstar in her own right. Here we see Cabaret star Liza Minnelli with club owner Steve Rubell and the celebrity fashion designer, Roy Halston. Minnelli and Halston were both frequent visitors to the club in its debauched ’70s heyday.
The British singer / songwriter Elton john was a frequent visitor to the club whenever he was in New York. Often seen strutting his funky stuff alongside the likes of flamboyant Queen front-man Freddie Mercury, John was famously captured on film pulling his flared trousers up and tucking them into his waistline so he could dance better!
Bette Midler And The Temptations
As well as being New York’s number one night spot, Studio 54 played host to many parties during its barnstorming original thirty three-month run. For example, here we see the club playing host to The Temptations, who were celebrating their new contract with Atlantic Records. Here, Broadway and Hollywood star Bette Midler congratulates the group on their new contract. The photo was taken in May 1977.
Curtis Lee Mayfield
All life was to be found at Studio 54. Those lucky enough to pass through its hallowed doors could turn their heads one way and spot The Village People chatting away to Elton John and Steve Tyler, and turn the other way and see designer Tommy Hilfiger deep in discussion with pop artist Andy Warhol. Here we see R&B legend Curtis Lee Mayfield strutting his funky stuff on the Studio’s famous dance floor.
David Bowie And Debbie Harry
The club played host to the coolest of the cool of Seventies music stars. As well as firmly established musicians such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Stevie Wonder, Studio 54 also played host to those young stars who defined mid-70s to early-80s era rock and pop. For example, here’s David Bowie and Debbie Harry, at the time very much the King and Queen of popular music.
Hanging around the DJ booth has always been a clubber’s favorite, and that applies to celebrities too. Here’s disco diva Diana Ross getting down and dirty in the DJ booth, singing along to the funky tunes they played night after night during the thirty three months Studio 54 took New York by storm.
As if wall-to-wall celebrities wasn’t weird enough for the patrons of Studio 54 to witness, there was also plenty of other strange stuff going on on a pretty regular basis. Like the time somebody brought a horse into the club. Don’t worry though. Country legend Dolly Parton was on hand to make sure the horse was OK. Because of course she was!
Freddie Mercury And David Johansen
If there was a party going on and Freddie Mercury was in town, you could be guaranteed the flamboyant Queen front man was there. Famously described as ‘a good time who was had by all’, here we see Mercury with New York Dolls singer-songwriter, David Johansen. We WILL rock you!
Liz Taylor And Roy Halston
As well as hosting the brightest and the best from the world of music, fashion, design and acting, Studio 54 attracted bona-fide Hollywood royalty. Here, the fashion designer Roy Halston feeds screen legend Liz Taylor a tasty treat. No wonder the paparazzi were falling over themselves to get the perfect picture!
Keith Richards, James Brown And John Belushi
Most celebrity spotters are lucky if they see just one of their idols in the flesh at any given time. At Studio 54, they were literally everywhere! It wasn’t unusual to spot the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards having a chinwag with soul legend James Brown and Saturday Night Live and Blues Brothers comedy genius John Belushi. Firm friendships were made within the walls of the legendary Studio 54!
Elton John, Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall And Ahmet Ertegun
Here’s the legendary pop artist Andy Warhol enjoying the company of future Mrs. Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and the singer-songwriter, Elton John. The man on the right is the record executive – and founder of Atlantic records – Ahmet Ertegun. He may not have been as famous as some of the people you could spot back in the day at Studio 54, but to his peers he was a living legend.
Stevie Wonder And Teddy Pendergrass
Many acts performed at Studio 54 over its thirty three months as the number one spot on the New York club scene, from The Village People to Donna Summer, from Gloria Gaynor to James Brown. Here, the legendary Stevie Wonder performs alongside Teddy Pendergrass from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Shortly after Studio 54 closed its doors, Pendergrass left the band and forged a highly successful solo career.
It was no surprise that notorious hell-raiser Robin Williams was a huge fan and frequent visitor to Studio 54. Here he’s taking to the dance floor with then-wife, Valerie Velardi. There’s was a turbulent relationship, not helped by Williams’ out-of-control cocaine addiction. The marriage ended in 1988.
After just thirty-three months, Studio 54 in its original iteration closed its doors after its owners were convicted of tax evasion on a massive scale. The patrons of this incredibly popular New York nightclub weren’t going to let the club fizzle out though. They held a star-studded, pre-prison party for Steve Rubell and co-owner Ian Shrager that lasted all night long. It was a fitting send-off for the funkiest club in New York!