What Makes A Duo Iconic?
There’s no shortage of ‘couplings’ in Hollywood, especially if you count celebrity couples who are powerhouses in their own right. But an iconic duo isn’t just a coming together of famous individuals – these partners are usually greater than the sum of their parts. What this means is that iconic duos are usually better together than they are apart.
We considered a wide range of twosomes, from iconic female duos in history to popular two-person acts in both music and showbiz for this list. Only a few made the cut, and for very different reasons, but they all have one thing in common: history and pop culture wouldn’t be the same without them.
Famous Duos In History
Real-Life Famous Pairs
Sonny & Cher
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Sonny & Cher ruled the music and entertainment industry. Their hits “I Got You Babe” and “Baby Don’t Go” got major air time, and they transitioned into TV with their shows The Sonny & Cher Show and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. They may have gotten a divorce, effectively ending their professional partnership, but they remain one of the biggest classic duos in music history.
Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen
When it comes to famous female duos, very few have ever reached the level of the Olsen twins. Mary Kate and Ashley were just little girls when they basically had their own media empire. They appeared in dozens of TV shows and films, eventually becoming the most famous twins in Hollywood history.
Bonnie & Clyde
Unlike the other entries on this list, Bonnie and Clyde weren’t Hollywood stars or media personalities. But they were celebrities – just of the criminal kind. Their string of robberies and murders resulted in a media frenzy, turning the partners-in-crime into a pop culture symbol. Tons of songs, shows, books, and films have been made about the historic crime duo.
Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
Even though it’s been almost 70 years since their last film together, Fred and Ginger are still one of the most iconic movie duos of all time. Individually, they were known as some of the most talented dancer-actors in the business. Together, they were an unstoppable box office force.
Abbott & Costello
Funny duos of today have one pair to thank: Abbott and Costello. This American comedy double act paired up the ‘straight man’ Abbott with his humorous foil Costello in ‘Odd Couple’-type situations. They’ve been referenced a lot in popular culture, and several comedians (like Jerry Seinfeld) consider them as influences.
Tom & Jerry
When talking about top ‘90s duos, no pair comes close to the impact and influence of Tom and Jerry. The animated series delighted young kids all over the world for decades, becoming a major childhood staple across generations. The timeless cat-and-mouse dynamic is played up to comedic effect with energetic chase scenes, elaborate ‘revenge’ plots, and their on-and-off-again friendship.
Bert & Ernie
Even if you didn’t watch Sesame Street, you probably know the names Bert and Ernie. The two roommates had polar opposite personalities, and their Odd Couple dynamic was fun to watch. The chemistry and banter were so good, people started joking that the two characters were more than just roommates….
Chewie & Han Solo
Undeniably one of the best movie duos ever, Chewbacca and Han Solo were inseparable from day one. Across several sequels (and one prequel), the two best friends embarked on many wacky adventures. When (spoiler) Han Solo died in The Force Awakens, we mourned Luke and Leia’s loss – but it was Chewie’s grief that brought us over the edge.
Sherlock & Watson
Male duos don’t get any more iconic than Sherlock and Watson, a partnership that has survived and thrived across several mediums. From the original books to the popular BBC TV adaptation to countless other movies, shows, and even video games, it’s obvious that we can’t still haven’t had enough of this crime-solving duo.
Rick & Morty
It’s too soon to say if Rick and Morty will go down in TV duo history, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The Dan Harmon-penned adult cartoon is full of sci-fi hijinks and adventures, largely driven by the two main characters: the cynical, alcoholic mad genius Rick and his anxious grandson Morty.
It takes more than two talented people to make a good duo – they need to have the right chemistry too. The entries on this list are proof that when the right people come together (and the stars align), great duos can make magic together.