Written By: Olivia B. Waxman, Liz Ronk

Friends are the best. In good times, in bad times… in these times. Here’s a survey of some of the best friendship photos from LIFE Magazine’s archive of iconic 20th-century photography. Along with some ordinary folks on a fence and some improbable inter-species bonds, you’ll find evidence of friendship among some of the greats of film, stage and song.

For Rita Hayworth in 1940, friendship meant packing up jelly sandwiches for a bicycle picnic. For Lauren Bacall, it meant being  gabbing with girlfriends in her hotel suite at the Gotham in Manhattan—a meaningful location, as LIFE explained in 1945, because she and her friends had gone there as teens to gawk at celebrities. They had once followed Bette Davis into an elevator and had also been thrown out for trying to sneak into a party, which drove Bacall to announced that when she was famous, she would stay there. (“She not only did that when she and Bogart came to New York in February,” the article noted, “but brought along her dog Droopy, an elderly spaniel, despite a house rule prohibiting dogs in the hotel.”)

For Jimmy Stewart, friendship meant returning to his roots, bass fishing with a friend in for a 1945 series on the entertainer coming home to Indiana, Pa., after four years as an Army bomber pilot during World War II. Jimmy “did not catch any fish but enjoyed himself anyway,” LIFE reported.

And for renowned jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Carter, recognizing their friendship was even easier, thanks to a signature handshake that, as LIFE noted in 1948, was often imitated by the devotees of their music. It’s no wonder: the rituals of friendship give you the reassuring feeling that you’re all in this together.

Actress Rita Hayworth (2R) riding bikes with her friends Minerva Griswold, Jane Hopkins and Virginia Hovey, 1940.

Actress Rita Hayworth (2R) rode bikes with her friends Minerva Griswold, Jane Hopkins and Virginia Hovey, 1940.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Friends sat on a fence and sang along to the guitar, 1941.

Friends sat on a fence and sang along to the guitar, 1941.

Hansel Mieth The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Stallion trying to make friends with a barn cat, 1943.

A stallion tried to make friends with a barn cat, 1943.

Hansel Mieth The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Jimmy Stewart (R) bass fishing with his friend Clyde "Woodie" Woodward, upon his return from WWII, 1945.

Jimmy Stewart (right) went bass fishing with his friend Clyde “Woodie” Woodward, upon his return from World War II, 1945.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Kindergarten children playing in Hawaii, 1945.

Kindergarten children played in Hawaii, 1945.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Lauren Bacall with friends at the Gotham Hotel, 1945.

Lauren Bacall with friends at the Gotham Hotel, 1945.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Boy And His Dog, Oskallsa, LA, 1945.

A boy and his dog, Oskallsa, LA, 1945.

Myron Davis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Joan Caulfield (C) and friends enjoying the sun while a reporter interviews her, 1946.

Actress Joan Caulfield and friends enjoyed the sun while a reporter interviewed her, 1946.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Suzy Creech and friend, typical 10 year-old girls known as "pigtailers" playing "Red Riding Hood," 1946.

Suzy Creech and a friend played “Red Riding Hood,” 1946.

Frank Scherschel The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Teenagers dancing and socializing at a party, 1947.

Teenagers danced at a party, 1947.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

War veteran Donald Sonius (R), an Iowa Univ. student, holding the hand of his daughter Karen with his friend and fellow veteran student Charles Smayda.

War veteran Donald Sonius (R), an Iowa Univ. student, held the hand of his daughter Karen, along with his friend and fellow veteran student Charles Smayda.

Margaret Bourke-White The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

"Bebop" jazzman Dizzy Gillespie, showing his friend Benny Carter how to do a special handshake greeting, 1947.

“Bebop” jazzman Dizzy Gillespie showed his friend Benny Carter how to do a special handshake, 1947.

Allan Grant The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

DONALD, THE DOG-LOVING DUCK

Donald, the dog-loving duck, rode on the back of his swimming pal Rusty, a cocker spaniel, 1949.

Loomis Dean The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Good friends Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift having fun on a studio lot, 1950.

Good friends Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift had fun on a studio lot, 1950.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Young Richard Dale (L) beginning to adjust to his new environment when he finds a new friend, Ernest, during chapel services at boy's ranch.

Young Richard Dale, left, began to adjust to his new environment when he found a friend, Ernest, during chapel services at a boy’s ranch.

Ed Clark The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Friends from the Children's School of Modern Dancing, playing at the beach, 1953.

Friends from the Children’s School of Modern Dancing played at the beach, 1953.

Lisa Larsen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Former Confederate soldier John Salling, estimated to be 106 years old, with some friends in Scott County, 1953.

Former Confederate soldier John Salling, estimated to be 106 years old, sat with friends in Scott County, 1953.

Allan Grant The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Baby chimpanzee holding a kitten at Dr. Albert Schweitzer's hospital, 1954.

A baby chimpanzee held a kitten at Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s hospital, 1954.

W. Eugene Smith The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Archery providing entertainment for a group of friends at a teenage party, 1956.

Archery provided entertainment for a group of friends at a teenage party, 1956.

Yale Joel The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Two young girls playing and washing their doll clothes, 1957.

Two young girls washed their doll clothes, 1957.

John Dominis The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Hempstead High School seniors roaring with laughter as they look over pictures in their newly published yearbook, 1958.

Hempstead High School seniors roared with laughter as they looked over pictures in their newly published yearbook, 1958.

Gordon Parks The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Judge John D. Voelker relaxing with friends in a tavern, 1958.

Judge John D. Voelker relaxed with friends in a tavern, 1958.

Al Fenn The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Sophia Loren with her pal, LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1961.

Sophia Loren with her pal, LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1961.

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Friends taking a walk on a typical summer day, 1962.

Friends walked on a summer day, 1962.

Robert W. Kelley The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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