15 Vintage Celebrity Passports

iStock.com/PeopleImages
iStock.com/PeopleImages

The jet-setting celebrity lifestyle seems so glamorous: wake up in New York one morning, fly out to London that night, and sign autographs all along the way. It’s a nice fantasy, but being famous doesn’t get you out of having to fly the old-fashioned way, and even award-winning actors, authors, and athletes have to make sure they have all their documents in line before showing up to board their flight. The way those documents look has changed over the years, so this look at fifteen vintage passports featuring famous faces is a little bit of history and celebrity gossip all in one.

1. Marilyn Monroe

Dated February 8, 1954, this particular legal document of Marilyn Monroe’s serves as a reminder that she was once—very briefly—married to New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio. It also notes the color of her hair as blonde and her eyes as blue, not that anyone needed to be reminded of that.

2. Muhammad Ali

Ali has surprisingly dainty handwriting for a boxing powerhouse. However, this World Heavyweight Champion proves that penmanship matters.

3. Ernest Hemingway

Notable American expatriate Ernest Hemingway was a seasoned traveler from about the 1920s onward. In A Moveable Feast, his memoir of his life in Paris with other illustrious artists like James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Pablo Picasso, he provides some succinct travel advice after learning his lesson on a long, frustrating car ride with a tipsy F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Never go on trips with someone you do not love.” His 1923 passport is kept in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

4. Janis Joplin

The Queen of Rock and Roll is smiling in her passport photo, just less than seven months before she died of a heroin overdose in a Hollywood hotel room in 1970.

5. Ella Fitzgerald

The stamps on this well-traveled blues singer’s passport document her trips to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia, which makes you wonder even more why Hungary didn’t want to let her in.

6. F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s passport is a three-for-one: In the older tradition of American travel documents, a passport issued to a man would be eligible to cover his wife and children as well, so pictured here are Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their only child, “Scottie,” who would later become a writer and journalist who traveled the country of her own accord.

7. Virginia Woolf

Unlike Zelda Fitzgerald, who appears to have traveled to Paris and back on her husband’s documents, Virginia Woolf seems to have insisted on a passport of her own.

8. Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s passport features the signature—here inscribed over a photo of the mustachioed animator whose imagination we have to thank for Mickey Mouse and all his friends—that inspired his iconic company logo.

9. Audrey Hepburn

The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star appears to be wearing a white blouse, which disappears against the white background of her passport photo—maybe she should have gone with the little black dress that day instead.

10. Johnny Cash

The “Ring of Fire” singer looks like he means business in his 1968 passport photo.

11. James Joyce

James Joyce’s passport, which was issued to him by the British Consulate in Zurich after he fled Italy upon its entry into World War I, was valid from 1915 and covers almost the entire 7-year period he spent writing his epic Ulysses. It also claims his long-term partner Nora, featured in a photo with their children, as his “wife”—a sly untruth, as the two weren’t officially married until 1931, long after Joyce was granted his passport.

12. Albert Einstein

The theoretical physicist’s hair is fairly well tamed for his Swiss passport photo, but other photographs of him prove that wasn’t always the case.

13. David Bowie

Speaking of tamed, does anyone else wonder how hard it was to get glam rocker David Bowie to look so clean and presentable for his passport photo?

14. John Lennon

You might say that John Lennon’s certified United States immigration document was his ticket to ride.

15. Beyoncé

While not technically vintage, Beyoncé’s passport nonetheless gives us a glimpse at the singing superstar before her Super Bowl headliner days. These days, Queen Bey's passport seems capable of allowing her and fellow famous husband Jay-Z entry into Cuba despite the embargo on tourism: royal treatment indeed.

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

Show Houseguests Who's in Charge With This Game of Thrones Doormat

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

If you’re prone to houseguests who shed crumbs on your sofa and use all the toilet paper without replacing it, it might be time to demand a little respect. This Game of Thrones doormat from the merchants at ThinkGeek offers some guidance. Emblazoned on the mat is an order to “bend the knee” before entering your home.

A doormat from the HBO series 'Game of Thrones' is pictured
ThinkGeek

The 17-inch long by 29-inch wide mat arrives in time for the eighth and final season of the popular HBO series, which is set to debut April 14. Chronicling the lives of disparate characters vying for control of the Iron Throne, the show has often depicted Daenerys Targaryen, also known as the Mother of Dragons and played by Emilia Clarke, ordering subjects to “bend the knee” before addressing her. In season seven, King in the North Jon Snow famously refused to do so before eventually capitulating. Had she laid out the doormat, it’s possible he wouldn’t have taken as long.

The mat retails for $24.99 and can be purchased online here.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER