1 of 12
"I'm waiting for Dax Shepard to come out, and that it's an episode of Punk'd," Cooper says of being named PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive of 2011. But what really earned the modest 36-year-old actor this year's honor? A combination of box office appeal (who hasn't seen The Hangover movies?), undeniable good looks and the lengths he'll go to for romance. Asked the sexiest thing he's done to woo a woman, Cooper tells PEOPLE, "Getting on a plane to go get them."
2 of 12
American fans can thank Hemsworth's big brother Chris for luring the 21-year-old Aussie to Hollywood. "I saw my brother doing it and thought I could do it better," Hemsworth told Interview magazine of following his sibling into acting. While Hemsworth ultimately lost the lead in Thor to Chris, his buff physique landed him an even more sought-after role – that of Gale in the much-anticipated The Hunger Games franchise.
3 of 12
He's made a lasting impression on fans of The Wire, earned an Emmy nomination for his devilish turn in the BBC's Luther and showed off his 6-foot-3-inch form to very good advantage in Thor. So what's the British-born actor's weakness? "A woman who has really nice, looked-after skin is such a turn-on for me," Elba, 39, told Essence. "It's always sexy."
4 of 12
"I'm extremely lucky, and I'm extremely happy," Jennifer Aniston said a month after she and Theroux began dating in May. So how did the 40-year-old motorcycle-riding, leather-loving, screenwriter-actor nab Hollywood's most lovable Friend? The Bennington grad "is not Mr. Hollywood; he's quirky and hip and kind of like Jen that way," says a pal in Theroux's circle of friends.
5 of 12
Though Evans jokes that he looked pretty scrawny for most of his life, the 30-year-old lead of the summer blockbuster Captain America made star-spangled Spandex a uniform women could get behind. Even more endearing: He's a mama's boy. "We're incredibly tight," Evans tells PEOPLE of his mother, Lisa. "Mom can hang – she's on the level."
6 of 12
How does the 44-year-old singer-actor stay Country Strong in real life? Two hundred push-ups and crunches each day – and he credits his 15-year marriage to fellow country superstar Faith Hill and being dad to three daughters (Gracie, 14, Maggie, 13, and Audrey, 9) with keeping him grounded. "I'm inspired by watching him as a father and husband," Hill tells PEOPLE.
7 of 12
"I'm not interested in playing a character and having him be called 'likable,'" Charles, who plays enigmatic lawyer Will Gardner on The Good Wife, tells EW. It's precisely that mystique that has made the 39-year-old actor so irresistible to Julianna Margulies's character, Alicia – and to audiences who tune in Sundays to the hit CBS drama.
8 of 12
"I made it because there were a lot of people who were out of town," McHale, 40, says of his inclusion on PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive list. Clearly The Community star's humor earned him a sexy badge of honor – and a sizable social network of fans. His PEOPLE.com Funny Is the New Sexy video has already earned him over 500,000 likes – just for watching the comic brew a mean cup of Joel.
Watch Joel McHale's Funny Is the New Sexy video here!
9 of 12
Aloha, abs! The Honolulu-born Game of Thrones actor endured six-hour workouts – and bulked up his 6-foot-4-inch frame from 210 to 230 lbs. – to play Conan the Barbarian in the remake of the '80s film. So how did the 32-year-old actor celebrate the movie's wrap? "I flew straight to Rome and just [ate] pasta," Lisa Bonet's offscreen leading man said.
10 of 12
He's a real-life good Samaritan, he loves dogs and he finally showed off his funny bone (and hot abs!) in the summer hit Crazy, Stupid, Love. Even his costars aren't immune to the Canadian actor's boyish charms. "He's a good-looking guy. I did notice that," Gosling's Crazy, Stupid, Love costar Steve Carell tells PEOPLE.
11 of 12
His scene-stealing turn as 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy for the past six seasons has rebranded the '90s box-office leading man into one of TV's funniest stars. "Everybody thinks I'm funny. I'm fooling everybody," the 53-year-old actor said recently. Now he gets to share the laughs with a new love in his life: yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas. "My girlfriend is very important to me," Baldwin said of his one-year relationship.
12 of 12
McDermott put the fear factor back in prime time with his new FX series American Horror Story, but thrillers and chillers weren't exactly the shows he tuned into while growing up. "I used to watch I Dream of Jeannie after school," the 50-year-old star tells PEOPLE. "I was fascinated by her in that outfit, and I wanted to live in that bottle with her."
From Della Reese to Hugh Hefner: Remembering The Stars We've Lost in 2017