Marilyn Monroe Reads at Home. She is wearing a black shirt and white capri pants in 1953.
Marilyn Monroe at her Hollywood home in 1953.Alfred Elsenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Marilyn Monroe Reads at Home. She is wearing a black shirt and white capri pants in 1953.
Steve McQueen and his first wife, TV actress Neile Adams, dress for a warm day at their Hollywood home in 1963.
Steve McQueen walks around his pool naked in Hollywood in 1963. He his holding a towel.
Jayne Mansfield combs her hair while bathing in the pink carpeted bathroom of her home, known as "The Pink Palace," in Los Angeles, 1960.
The Jacksons (clockwise left to right: Jackie, Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, and Michael) join parents Joe and Katherine in their backyard in Encino, California in 1970. Everyone is on a bike beside their pool.
Vivien Leigh takes home her Gone With the Wind Oscar
Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins cook eggs in Newman's kitchen in 1958 in Hollywood.
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, whose marriage would last 50 years (until his death in 2008), share a laugh as they get dressed in their Hollywood home in 1959.
Sophia Loren picks flowers at her Italian villa she shared with producer Carlo Ponti in 1964.
Bette Davis' Chauffeur Wheels Her Around in the Backyard in Beverly Hills in 1939.
The Irish-born actress Maureen O'Hara relaxes at home in Los Angeles in 1946.
Liberace dances on top of the keys of his piano shaped pool in California in 1954.
Oscar-winning actress Claudette Colbert poses in a two-piece evening dress in front of the fireplace in her home in Los Angeles' posh Holmby Hills neighborhood in 1939.
Ricky Nelson sits in shadow on the diving board of his family's pool in Hollywood in 1958.
Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland share a family moment as they look out over Beverly Hills from Fontaine's home in 1942.
Carole Lombard drinks a cup of coffee and talks on the telephone while lounging on the floor of her Hollywood home in October 1939.
Marilyn Monroe at her Hollywood home in 1953.
Alfred Elsenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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LIFE at Home With Showbiz Stars

Oct 20, 2014

Access. It's a big word in the media these days, when celebrity culture is the engine driving so much online content and so much offline conversation. Who has access to Celeb A? How did that magazine get access to Celeb B? Where on earth did that gossip site get those tawdry (and hypnotic) photographs of Celeb C?

In its prime, LIFE magazine — almost alone among all of the popular culture publications of its day — enjoyed the sort of access to A-list stars (and, admittedly, to lesser lights) that today's tabloids and paparazzi can only dream about.

Here, a fond look back at some of the 20th century's biggest, brightest entertainers, in the friendly confines of their own homes.

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