15 Vintage Celebrity Passports
The jet-setting celebrity lifestyle seems so glamorous: wake up in New York one morning, fly out to London that night, and sign autographs all along the way. It’s a nice fantasy, but being famous doesn’t get you out of having to fly the old-fashioned way, and even award-winning actors, authors, and athletes have to make sure they have all their documents in line before showing up to board their flight. The way those documents look has changed over the years, so this look at fifteen vintage passports featuring famous faces is a little bit of history and celebrity gossip all in one.
1. Marilyn Monroe
Dated February 8, 1954, this particular legal document of Marilyn Monroe’s serves as a reminder that she was once—very briefly—married to New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio. It also notes the color of her hair as blonde and her eyes as blue, not that anyone needed to be reminded of that.
2. Muhammad Ali
Ali has surprisingly dainty handwriting for a boxing powerhouse. However, this World Heavyweight Champion proves that penmanship matters.
3. Ernest Hemingway
Notable American expatriate Ernest Hemingway was a seasoned traveler from about the 1920s onward. In A Moveable Feast, his memoir of his life in Paris with other illustrious artists like James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Pablo Picasso, he provides some succinct travel advice after learning his lesson on a long, frustrating car ride with a tipsy F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Never go on trips with someone you do not love.” His 1923 passport is kept in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
4. Janis Joplin
5. Ella Fitzgerald
The stamps on this well-traveled blues singer’s passport document her trips to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia, which makes you wonder even more why Hungary didn’t want to let her in.
6. F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s passport is a three-for-one: In the older tradition of American travel documents, a passport issued to a man would be eligible to cover his wife and children as well, so pictured here are Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their only child, “Scottie,” who would later become a writer and journalist who traveled the country of her own accord.
7. Virginia Woolf
Unlike Zelda Fitzgerald, who appears to have traveled to Paris and back on her husband’s documents, Virginia Woolf seems to have insisted on a passport of her own.
8. Walt Disney
Walt Disney’s passport features the signature—here inscribed over a photo of the mustachioed animator whose imagination we have to thank for Mickey Mouse and all his friends—that inspired his iconic company logo.
9. Audrey Hepburn
The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star appears to be wearing a white blouse, which disappears against the white background of her passport photo—maybe she should have gone with the little black dress that day instead.
10. Johnny Cash
The “Ring of Fire” singer looks like he means business in his 1968 passport photo.
11. James Joyce
James Joyce’s passport, which was issued to him by the British Consulate in Zurich after he fled Italy upon its entry into World War I, was valid from 1915 and covers almost the entire 7-year period he spent writing his epic Ulysses. It also claims his long-term partner Nora, featured in a photo with their children, as his “wife”—a sly untruth, as the two weren’t officially married until 1931, long after Joyce was granted his passport.
12. Albert Einstein
13. David Bowie
Speaking of tamed, does anyone else wonder how hard it was to get glam rocker David Bowie to look so clean and presentable for his passport photo?
14. John Lennon
You might say that John Lennon’s certified United States immigration document was his ticket to ride.
While not technically vintage, Beyoncé’s passport nonetheless gives us a glimpse at the singing superstar before her Super Bowl headliner days. These days, Queen Bey's passport seems capable of allowing her and fellow famous husband Jay-Z entry into Cuba despite the embargo on tourism: royal treatment indeed.