Great post, Thomas. At one time, Hollywood stars really did carry weight, with the public. When Clark Gable removed his shirt, in It Happened One Night, 'the king,' was bare chested. Sales of undershirts, plummeted. During A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando showed his athletic build, underneath a tight, white tee shirt. Sales of white tees, went through the roof.
Audrey Hepburn was a style icon, to many women, albeit a difficult silhouette. Somehow, perhaps in part because of the time in which 'old Hollywood,' thrived . . . these stars turned their singularity into maxims, by which ordinary people judged themselves. Not sure that's part of our culture, today.