29 Wild Photos From The Drug-Fueled Heyday Of Studio 54

Published October 26, 2016
Updated November 8, 2023

These Studio 54 photos will take you inside the dance club that defined a generation and hosted celebrities from Andy Warhol to David Bowie.

Studio 54 Photos Dancing
Known for its raucous parties and A-list guests, the first three years of Studio 54's existence were the most exclusive and enticing — and that was by design.

As Rubell said, "the key to a good party is filling a room with guests more interesting than you."

On the left, Andy Warhol takes his camera out and mingles with Steve Rubell while Brooke Shields and Calvin Klein share a kiss in the DJ pit.
Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Woody Allen At Studio 54
Woody Allen and Michael Jackson, 1977.Getty Images/Russell Turiak

Dancing At Studio 54
Actor and author Chris Lawford shares a dance with Mick Jagger's wife, Bianca.Getty Images/Ron Galella

Warhol And Reed
Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, 1977.Getty Images/Rose Hartman

Birthday On Horse
Bianca Jagger appears on horseback for her birthday.Getty Images/Richard Corkery

Chatting At Studio 54
Sylvester Stallone and Sheryl Slocum, 1977.Getty Images/Images Press

Happy Birthday Cake Cutting
Actress and model Margaux Hemingway celebrates her 24th birthday in style.Getty Images/Michael Norcia

Jagger Walks In
Mick Jagger and his then significant other Jerry Hall entering the club.Getty Images/Michael Norcia

Warhol Trio Entry
Andy Warhol, mingling backstage with friends Bianca Jagger and fashion designer Halston.Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Men Chatting Sitting Down With Drinks
For many guests (celebrity or not), Studio 54 was a place to dance, discover, and dip into the unknown. Here, a woman twirls her hat and two men chat over drinks. STANLEY BARKER/Tod Papageorge Studio 54

Ballon Games
Revelers inside Studio 54.STANLEY BARKER/Tod Papageorge Studio 54

Women Sitting Down
Four women in shimmery dresses sit in the club's lounge area. STANLEY BARKER/Tod Papageorge Studio 54

Drag Ballerinas
Throughout its three-year lifespan under Rubell and Schrager, Studio 54 served as a lab to experiment with everything from illicit drugs to gender. Left, male partygoers sport dresses.Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

A nearly naked couple dances together on top of a speaker at the club's first Halloween party in 1977. Getty Images/Allan Tannenbaum

Smoking Masked Dancers
A woman wears nothing but pearls and a mask as she grinds on two men in jewels and makeup.Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Naked Outfits
A club-goer exposes a bare chest, garters (with keys attached to them), and a mask as a woman pops her gum and a man seduces the camera in his costume. Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

A woman throws her head back at the bar.STANLEY BARKER/Tod Papageorge Studio 54

Bathroom Cowboy
Studio 54 photographer Hasse Persson said of this photo: "This may sound unusual today, but if you wanted to make love with somebody, people were making love on the balconies, and they were making love in the bathrooms. This was taken in the ladies’ room. In the very, very far left you can see me – I didn’t know that I was in the picture.”Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Naked Horse Riding
Persson on this photo: "I think this is the same horse Bianca Jagger turned up on for her birthday in 1977. If you came on a white horse, with almost no clothes on, you were guaranteed to get in. What was interesting is that women felt secure enough to dance nude in the place. This is after the feminist movement of the 70s: if a woman wanted to be nude that was her privilege, no one would ever touch her or say anything. They were like queens on the dancefloor."Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Blurry Crowds In Line
Club attendees wait to enter.Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Four People Chatting With Garters
A man dressed up in leather and an NYU tank chats with his friend, decked out in pearls and garters as two other club-goers look on. Getty Images/Sonia Moskowitz

Smoking With Fur
A man dangles a cigarette inside Studio 54, 1977. It would be decades before New York City's smoking ban forbade smoking in indoor spaces.Getty Images/Rose Hartman

Egyptian Blurry Haze
A man wears a gold costume, eyeliner, and a headdress while dancing. Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Glitter Dancing Man
A glitter-covered go-go dancer sways in a G-string. Bokförlaget Max Ström/Hasse Persson Studio 54

Hot Couple Dancing
A couple dances intimately, 1977. Getty Images/Waring Abbott

Black And White Couch Lounging
A couple relaxes next to a comatose man, 1978. Getty Images/Sonia Moskowitz

Mod Leaving The Club
A woman in a bustier and garters finds her partner — the "punk" behind her, at Studio 54's 1977 Halloween party. Getty Images/Allan Tannenbaum

Man In Puffy Jacket
Studio 54's golden age came to an end when the federal government came after Schrager and Rubell for tax evasion. Ultimately, as the judge said, theirs was a crime of hubris.

"Your crime, I conclude, is one of tremendous arrogance. You assumed you achieved your success on your own and you owed nothing to fellow citizens and the economic system…”

After selling the club in 1980, Schrager and Rubell would spend 13 months in prison. And just like that, the party was over.
Getty Images/Charles Ruppmann

Drugs, drinks, and disco -- Studio 54 had it all.

Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager opened the legendary club in 1977, and while it only lasted under their management for three years, it quickly cemented itself as the quintessential enclave for celebrities, fashionable disco-lovers, and their favorite illicit activities.

Indeed, club regulars ranged from Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol to Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie. And on its last night under initial management, Diana Ross serenaded Rubell and Schrader -- of course surrounded by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Farrah Fawcett, and Sylvester Stallone, among others.

Relive some of Studio 54's most classic nights in the gallery above.

Enjoy these Studio 54 photos? For more New York drama, be sure to check out what the city looked like in the 1970s. Then, step inside the 1990s rave scene at its neon zenith.

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Cox, Savannah. "29 Wild Photos From The Drug-Fueled Heyday Of Studio 54." AllThatsInteresting.com, October 26, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/studio-54-photos. Accessed April 18, 2024.