Getting into Studio 54 in the 1970s was a nearly impossible endeavor. Marc Benecke, doorman for the disco club, would stand on a stepping stool and select club candidates from the crowd. He compared this process to “mixing a salad.” Nevertheless, “54” lured celebrities, socialites, athletes, and artists from around the globe. Andy Warhol once said, “The key of the success of Studio 54 is that it’s a dictatorship at the door and a democracy on the dance floor.” For the 40th anniversary of the club’s opening, we’re giving you a peek at the lucky few (celebrities, of course) who actually made it inside.
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Liza Minnelli rocking a shimmering purple jumper while out on the town.
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Andy Warhol and his stuffed bear make an appearance at Studio 54. Mr. Warhol was a frequent visitor of the nightclub, as he enjoyed the eclectic atmosphere. “People weren’t particularly interested in seeing me,” he said, “they were interested in seeing each other. They came to see who came.”
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Olivia Newton-John dressed to impress at the “Grease” Premiere Party in 1978.
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Cher and Liza Minnelli
Best buds Cher and Liza Minnelli take on the dance floor at Studio 54. Cher still made it out that night, even though earlier that day she choked on a vitamin pill and was dragged to the hospital.
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Shirley MacLaine and Bella Abzug
Shirley MacLaine and Bella Abzug pose for a picture at Abzug’s 57th birthday party.
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Sylvester “Rocky” Stallone
Mr. Stallone and his wife, Sasha, sharing a moment on one of the Studio’s couches.
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Tina Turner shares a laugh with famous fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo.
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Olivia Newton-John and Allen Carr
Olivia Newton-John dancing with British author, Allen Carr.
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Brooke Shields and Calvin Klein
Here Brooke Shields and Calvin Klein pose for a photo with the club owner, Steve Rubell.
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Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso
The pop artist, model, Blondie lead singer, writer, and fashion designer all bonding at Studio 54.
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The former NFL quarterback enjoyed a drink while at a Studio 54 party.
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Actress and singer Grace Jones comes fully prepared to party in a crazy purple getup.
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The model playfully acknowledges the camera during a party in 1981.
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Rock singer Rod Steward points at Studio 54’s owner, Steve Rubell as the two make their way inside.
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Ara Gallant and Diane von Furstenberg
Legendary hairstylist Ara Gallant and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg sit back at a book launch party.
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Cher walking down steps at the “Opium” Perfume Launch Party.
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Woody Allen and Michael Jackson
Studio 54’s iconic disco scene naturally brought in the likes of Michael Jackson… and Woody Allen?
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Patti Smith and Clive Davis
Friends and business partners, singer Patti Smith and record producer Clive Davis share a moment in front of the camera.
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The rock n’ roll superstar having way too much fun at his sister’s birthday party.
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Bianca Jagger famously rode a white horse into the nightclub for her birthday party.
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Stevie Wonder and Steven Stills
Mr. Wonder and Mr. Stills playing for 300 guests at a birthday party.
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Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol
The celebrity-infused nightclub was packed for its New Year’s Eve party in 1978.
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Olivia talking to a guest at the “Grease” premiere party.
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This is what the crowd looked like at the beginning of its reign. It’s a wonder how they stayed behind velvet ropes.
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