The Life, Times, Stars, and Strangers of Studio 54

Easily one of the most infamous clubs of all time, Studio 54 was THE place to be between 1977 to 1979. Created by club owner Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager (and Jack Dushey as a financial backer) in 1977, the club was notorious for its debauchery, excess, and free acceptance of the oddities that walked into the door. Actually, the more unique you were, the better chances you had to get in! Or if you were famous, because ALL of the stars had to make a stop in it’s short 33 months of business. Let’s take a look at the Life, Times, Stars, and Strangers of Studio 54.

Known for it’s widespread acceptance of the crossdressing, drag, and LGBTQ communities of New York, Studio 54 was a haven for all walks of life… if you could get in.

The line normally was 6 blocks long, and that only amplified the mystique of the club.

…but once in, it was like no other place at the time. For instance, there was a resident white stallion that lived in club. Pictured here is Dolly Parton with said horse.

…or Diana Ross casually hanging out at the DJ booth.

Andy Warhol was a frequent patron as well. Some said he would make mandatory weekly visits.

There were even reports that the clubs “special cocktails” were laced with all sorts of drugs. Anything from Cocaine to LSD to Ketamine.

The feeling of love was constantly flowing. Here are Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta “practicing” for their icon roles in the film “Grease.”

Stars of all walks of life would come out to party with each other. Here is Gene Simmons being fed a donut by Cher.

Talk about a group of legends! Pictured here is John Belushi, Keith Richards, and James Brown have a jolly ol’ time.

Studio 54 was also known for their waitstaff and their… minimalist outfits.

Studio 54 also was known to have notoriously outlandish events. Here is a couple from the 1977 halloween party.

The club was also a hangout for Saturday Night Live showrunners at the time. Pictured here is Gilda Radner and Dan Akroyd partying it up.

Elton John was a frequenter of the club as well.

No matter what day you were in the club, you were bound to recognize someone famous. Here is club owner Steve Rubell with a young Michael Jackson and Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler.

In 1977, The Temptations threw a party celebrating their signing with Atlantic Records. Pictured here is Bette Midler congratulating the Temptations at the party.

With an opius amount of alcohol and drugs flowing through the club, oddities were bound to occur. Here is design Ray Halston feeding Elizabeth Taylor.

Madonna also loved to frequent the club. Note that this is pre solo-artist Madonna when she was still in the band “The Breakfast Club.”


Grace Jones would use the club to debut and show off her one-of-a-kind fashion pieces.


… and also spend time with great friends. Her and Tina Turner would regularly hit the club together.


Here is a young Brooke Shields appearing smitten with clothing designer Calvin Klein.


The male queen of rock Freddie Mercury also frequently showed up when he was in New York.


Robin Williams was gaining popularity at the time and loved to spend nights out on the town with then wife Valerie Velardi.


Even the Terminator has to let out some steam. Here you can see Arnold Schwarzenegger getting his groove on.



A night out to the Studio would be something that people would go to great lengths to attend. If you got an invite to go, you would go, no questions asked… even if you were in a full facial cast.

Or if you broke your leg. Nothing a little glitter can’t cover up.


Unfortunately the club was raided by the FBI in 1979 and shut down immediately. Apparently the club owners skimmed 2.3 Million USD of the top of their business and went to jail for just a little over a year. The club eventually opened back up as a dinner club, and while it’s had MANY transformations and periods of closure, it’s actually open today. Studio 54 now operates as a theater run by the Roundabout Theater Company and has been doing so since 1998.

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