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Decade by Decade: Top Iconic Movie Stars

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Over the next few weeks, we celebrate the most-noteworthy celebs who defined their decades and generations, from the '50s to nowBy Sean NelsonSpecial to MSN MoviesSince the birth of movies, actors and actresses have helped define the eras in which they live. The way they look, talk, dress and behave on- and offscreen gives their audience a sense not only of the power of glamour and artistry, but a sense of what it means to be part of a greater population living through a given slice of history. Whatever our differences, we are bound together (sometimes against our will) by the movie stars who entertain us. That's what makes them icons. By looking backward, with photos arranged by decade, beginning in the '50s with the advent of the modern movie star, these galleries examine how things have changed in the popular consciousness — and how they haven't. A new gallery covering each subsequent decade will go live every two weeks until we catch up to the present day. A note about selection: These aren't necessarily the greatest actors and actresses who ever lived (though some of them are). They are instead the definitive stars of their times, the performers who best illustrate what it meant to be a movie star at that time in history, for good and ill. We know we can't please everyone, so we're very eager to read your comments about who we left out. Enjoy. This week: the 2000s.
© Columbia Pictures; Dreamworks; Paramount; Focus Features; New Line Cinema; The Weinstein Co./MGM
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