Archive for WW 2 Pin Up Girls
The World Book Dictionary defines pinup as: “Noun 1. A picture of a very attractive or famous person, pinned up on a wall, as in a barracks, usually by admirers who have not met the subject. 2. A very attractive girl, especially one considered attractive enough to be the subject of such a picture.”
Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped by her father several times until her mother took him to court. Ginger’s mother left her child in the care of her parents while she went in search of a job as a scriptwriter in Hollywood and later to New York City. Mrs. McMath found herself with an income good enough to where she could send for Ginger. Lelee became a Marine in 1918 and was in the publicity department and Ginger went back to her grandparents in Missiouri. During this time her mother met John Rogers. After leaving the Marines they married in May, 1920 in Liberty, Missouri. He was transferred to Dallas and Ginger (who treated him as a father) went too. Ginger won a Charleston contest in 1925 (age 14) and a 4 week contract on the Interstate circuit. She also appeared in vaudeville acts which she did until she was 17 with her mother by her side to guide her. Now she had discovered true acting. She married in March, 1929, and after several months realized she had made a mistake. She acquired an agent and she did several short films. She went to New York where she appeared in the Broadway production of “Top Speed” which debuted Christmas Day, 1929. Her first film was in 1929 in “A Night in a Dormitory” (1930). It was a bit part, but it was a start. Later that year, Ginger appeared, briefly in two more films, “A Day of a Man of Affairs” (1929) and “Campus Sweethearts” (1930). For awhile she did both movies and theatre. The following year she began to get better parts in films such as “Office Blues” (1930) and “The Tip-Off” (1931). But the movie that enamored her to the public was “Gold Diggers of 1933″ (1933). She did not have top billing but her beauty and voice was enough to have the public want more. She suggested using a monocle and this also set her apart. One song she popularized in the film was the now famous, “We’re in the Money”. In 1934, she starred with Dick Powell in “Twenty Million Sweethearts” (1934). It was a well received film about the popularity of radio. Ginger’s real stardom occurred when she was teamed with Fred Astaire where they were one of the best cinematic couples ever to hit the silver screen. This is where she achieved real stardom. They were first paired in 1933’s “Flying Down to Rio” (1933) and later in 1935’s “Roberta” (1935) and “Top Hat” (1935). Ginger also appeared in some very good comedies such as “Bachelor Mother” (1939) and “5th Ave Girl” (1939) both in 1939. Also that year she appeared with Astaire in “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle” (1939). The film made money but was not anywhere successful as they had hoped. After that studio executives at RKO wanted Ginger to strike out on her own. She made several dramatic pictures but it was 1940’s “Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman” (1940) that allowed her to shine. Playing a young lady from the wrong side of the tracks, she played the lead role well, so well in fact, that she won an Academy Award for her portrayal. Ginger followed that project with the delightful comedy, “Tom Dick and Harry” (1941) the following year. It’s a story where she has to choose which of three men she wants to marry. Through the rest of the 1940s and early 1950s she continued to make movies but not near the caliber before World War II. After “Oh, Men! Oh, Women!” (1957) in 1957, Ginger didn’t appear on the silver screen for seven years. By 1965, she had appeared for the last time in “Harlow” (1965/II). Afterward, she appeared on Broadway and other stage plays traveling in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. After 1984, she retired and wrote an autobiography in 1991 entitled, “Ginger, My Story” which is a very good book. On April 25, 1995, Ginger died of of congestive heart failure in Rancho Mirage, California. She was 83.
Bettie Page’s life was filled with cult myth, mystery, and sadness. Her image captured the imagination of a generation with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality, during an era of 1950s sexual repression. She was the quintessential pin-up, tacked up on walls in military barracks and garages; five decades later, some feminists still hail her as a pioneer of women’s liberation. It has been estimated that over 20,000 photographs of Bettie were taken, and new generations of fans still buy copies by the thousands.
Page was born Betty Mae Page on April 22, 1923 in Nashville, Tennessee to a part-Cherokee mother, she grew up in a family so poor “we were lucky to get an orange in our Christmas stockings.” The family included three boys and three girls, and Page later said her father molested all of the girls. Her father eventually stole a police car for a cross-country trip. He was sent to prison, and for a time Betty lived in an orphanage. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old.
In her teens Bettie acted in high school plays and was a straight-A student. She graduated from the Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville on a Daughters of the American Revolution scholarship in 1944, and went on to study drama in New York. Her notorious career began one day in October 1950, while on a break from her job as a secretary in a New York office. On a walk along the beach at Coney Island, an amateur photographer admired the 27-year-old’s curvy body and asked her to pose. Nudity didn’t bother her, she said, likening it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Her modeling career took off, and she was the centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine.
In 1951, Bettie fell under the influence of Irving Klaw, a photographer who specialized in S&M. He cut her hair into the dark bangs that became her trademark, and posed her in spiked heels and little else. Bettie began to attain renown as the “Queen of Bondage,” known for her bangs, saucy come-hither looks, and controversial sadomasochistic poses. At the time, most of these photos were sold on a lucrative subscription basis, where the customers made specific requests as to the scenes and layouts. She also appeared as a performer in over 50 burlesque films. The photos and films were publicly denounced as perversion. Klaw was later arrested for “conspiracy to distribute obscene material” though the U.S. Mail, and Bettie was called to testify in a private session. Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, her home state, even launched a congressional investigation against her.
Believing that her days as a pin-up were over, Bettie retreated from public view, later saying she was hounded by federal agents. Her early marriage to her high school sweetheart had ended in divorce; she moved to Florida in 1957 and married a much younger man, but that marriage also failed, as did a third, and she suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1959, she was lying on a sea wall in Key West when she saw a church with a white neon cross on top. She walked inside and became a born-again Christian. After attending Bible school, she wanted to serve as a missionary but was turned down. Instead, she worked full-time for evangelist Billy Graham’s ministry.
A move to Southern California in 1979 brought more troubles. There she had a nervous breakdown and had an altercation with her landlady. The doctors that examined her diagnosed her with acute schizophrenia, and she spent 20 months in a state mental hospital in San Bernardino, California. After a fight with another landlord she was arrested for assault, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed under state supervision for eight years. She was released in 1992 from Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County.
Her mysterious disappearance from the public eye only fueled the public’s fascination. In fact, for two decades no one was sure where she was, or if she was still alive. She resurfaced in the 1990s after being tracked down for a documentary. She occasionally granted interviews and sold autographs, but refused to allow her picture to be taken in her old age. In a 1993 telephone interview, she told a reporter that she was “penniless and infamous.” She later hired a law firm to help her recoup some of the profits being made with her likeness. She spent her final years living in Los Angeles with her brother.
According to long-time friend and business agent Mark Roesler, on December 6, 2008, Bettie Page was hospitalized in critical condition. Roesler was quoted by the Associated Press as saying Page had suffered a heart attack and by Los Angeles television station KNBC as claiming Page was suffering from pneumonia. A family friend said Page was in a coma, a claim not denied by Roesler. Her family eventually agreed to discontinue life support, and she died at 18:41 PST on December 11, 2008.
Measurements (during her glamour modeling career): 36-24-36 1/2 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
Height: 5′ 5Â½” (1.66 m)
Became a born-again Christian in the 1960s and served as a Baptist missionary to Angola.
Her favorite drink was Hires Root Beer.
Born in Los Angeles, California, on August 8, 1921. Sometimes called “America’s Mermaid,” Esther Williams helped popularize synchronized swimming through a string of hugely popular films in the 1940s and 1950s. The youngest of five children, she suffered a great personal at an early age when her older brother, Stanton, a promising actor, died at the age of sixteen. Soon after his death, Williams found a respite from her sadness by learning to swim. She even got a job at a local swimming pool near her house to earn free swimming time.
As a teenager, Williams was a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team. She won several national swimming competition events in 1939 and hoped to compete at the 1940 Olympic Games. But the Olympics were canceled because of World War II. Disappointed, she took a job at an upscale department store. But she did not stay on land for long. Producer Billy Rose asked to audition for his swimming and diving show called “Aquacade” in San Francisco. She landed the lead role opposite Johnny Weissmuller, best known as Tarzan in the popular Tarzan film series.
After the show ended, Williams returned to Los Angeles and eventually landed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios. Around this time, her brief first marriage to Leonard Kovner ended. She made her film debut in Andy Hardy’s “Double Life” with Mickey Rooney in 1942. Williams made a bigger splash, however, with her first swimming movie, 1944’s “Bathing Beauty” with Red Skelton. To film the elaborate synchronized swimming scenes, a special pool was built with all sorts of cranes and lifts to capture the action on film. It became one of the most popular films of that year. The next year she married singer and actor Ben Gage.
Although not an especially good actress, Williams was a sight to see in the water. She starred in a number of aquatic musicals, including “Thrill of a Romance”, “Neptune’s Daughter”, and “Million Dollar Mermaid”. People around the world flocked to movie theaters to see the graceful Williams work her magic on screen, making her an international superstar. Unfortunately, her life–both professionally and personally–hit a rocky period in the late 1950s. Her marriage to Gage ended in divorce, and she had some misses at the box office.
In the 1960s, Williams had almost completely stepped out of the limelight. At request of her third husband, actor Fernando Lamas, she stopped acting. The couple stayed together until his death in 1982. Instead of performing, Williams focused business interests. After endorsing swimsuits in 1940s and 1950s, she designed her own swimsuit line, the Esther Williams Swimsuit Collection. She also put her name on a line of backyard swimming pools. Both businesses are still thriving today.
Now in her eighties, Williams remains active despite a recent health setback. In 2007, she told Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer during a television interview that she had suffered a stroke, but that did not slow her down for long. In time, she recovered and returned to swimming.
Esther Williams lives in Beverly Hills, California, with fourth husband Edward Bell. She has three children from her second marriage to Ben Gage.
Measurements: 36-26-36 (as a champion swimmer), 38-27-34 (filming Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Height: 5′ 10″ (1.78 m)
Three step-children, from Lamas: Cristina, Alexandra “Alex,” and Lorenzo.
Ida was born on February 4, 1914, Camberwell, London, England to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was “Her First Affaire” (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. “Peter Ibbetson” (1935) was one of her few noteworthy movies and it was not until “The Light That Failed” (1939) that she got a chance to get better parts. In most of her movies, she was cast as the hard, but sympathetic woman from the wrong side of the tracks. In “The Sea Wolf” (1941) and “High Sierra” (1941), she played the part magnificently. It has been said that no one could do hard-luck dames the way Lupino could do them. She played tough, knowing characters who held their own against some of the biggest leading men of the day – Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Colman, John Garfield and Edward G. Robinson. She made a handful of films during the forties playing different characters ranging from “Pillow to Post” (1945), where she played a traveling saleswoman to the tough nightclub singer in “The Man I Love” (1947). But good roles for women were hard to get and there were many young actresses and established stars competing for those roles. She left Warner Brothers in 1947 and became a freelance actress. When better roles did not materialize, Ida stepped behind the camera as a director, writer and producer. Her first directing job came when director Elmer Clifton fell ill on a script that she co-wrote “Not Wanted” (1949). Ida had joked that as an actress, she was the poor man’s Bette Davis. Now, she said that as a director, she became the poor man’s Don Siegel. The films that she wrote, or directed, or appeared in during the fifties were mostly inexpensive melodramas. She later turned to Television where she directed episodes in shows such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Have Gun – Will Travel”, “The Donna Reed Show”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “77 Sunset Strip”, “The Investigators”, ‘The Ghost & Mrs. Muir”, “The Rifleman”, “Batman”, “Sam Benedict”, “Bonanza”, “The Untouchables”, “The Fugitive”,” Columbo”, and “Bewitched”. In the seventies, she did guest appearances on various television show and small parts in a few movies.
Ida Lupino died from a stroke while she was undergoing treatments for colon cancer in Los Angeles in August 1995, at the age of 77.
Nickname: Little Scout
Height: 5′ 4″
Her daughter was born on April 23, 1952. She only weighed 4 pounds and almost died.
Lupino was married and divorced three times:
* Louis Hayward, actor (November 1938 – May 11, 1945)
* Collier Young, producer (1948 – 1951)
* Howard Duff, actor (October 1951 – 1984), with whom she had a daughter, Bridget Duff (b. April 23, 1952)
Maria Elena “Lina” Romay was a Mexican-American actress and singer. She was born on January 16, 1922 to Porfirio Romay, the attache to the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. She performed for a time with Xavier Cugat.
The Latin-American singer/actress Lina Romay was active in films from 1942 to 1952. She came to Hollywood under contract to Columbia, then worked briefly at MGM and RKO. In 1949, she began a three-year run as featured vocalist on the TV series “Paul Whiteman’s Goodyear Revue”. She can be seen in such stellar movies as “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942) starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth and “Bathing Beauty” (1944) starring Esther Williams and Red Skelton. She attracted the attention of servicemen worldwide as a stunning Latin beauty and appeared in “Yank” Magazine as a pinup girl or cover girl in other publications. She also appeared in several Soundies of the era, no doubt having been selected because of her exceptional singing voice and uncommon good looks. Being of Mexican heritage, and having been born in the USA, Miss Romay could sing equally as well in both English and Spanish and her roles she played were both as Spanish senoritas to non-ethnic Anglo roles.
Lina appeared with Xavier Cugat in the WW2 feature “Stage Door Canteen”, where she can be seen singing and even dancing a bit with Cugat, with the delightful song “A Bombshell From Brooklyn”. Lina reminds some of enchanting Carmen Miranda, especially in her excellence in singing and stage presence as seen in “The Heat’s On” (1943). She is top notch in this picture, as evidenced by her fabulous singing and hand gestures…yes, hand gestures. I don’t know if my fellow fans have noticed, but she is perfectly poised a la Miranda while delivering her songs and perfectly gestures with her hands. It’s very poetic, feminine and artistic, so if you are lucky enough to see this movie, you’ll see what I mean. Several movies later, Lina proves herself a talented actress by appearing in a notable dramatic role in the little gem “Adventure” (1945) with Clark Gable, where she plays Gable’s first love interest in the picture (the “girl in a distant port), but second-fiddle to Greer Garson in the picture which boasted the byline “Gables Back and Garson’s Got Him”. Lina’s performance was very convincing and quite important in the movie. She even gets to sing some wonderful Spanish-language songs. Although it was a minor part in the picture, she was no doubt noticed by her growing legion of fans and moviegoers just discovering her charms and talents. Gable’s really lucky that he gets to play brief love scenes with Lina, who’s simply stunning on the silver screen. Lina nearly steals the show in her next project “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy” (1946), playing Polly Benedict’s perky cousin. She charms everybody with a sexy and spirited song and dance near the opening scenes, as her character enchants the townsfolk including Judge Hardy and his family. However, our hero Andy, seems bored and daydreaming of his girl, even while the stunning Lina does the rumba for him. Her infectious smile and cheery personality truly light up the screen. It’s an important role for Lina which is still pleasing audiences today. Lina Romay’s screen credits should not be confused with those of the same-named actress/director of the 1970s and 1980s.
Lina married Dr. Jay W. Gould III, descendant of the railroad financier, at the Westwood Lutheran Church in a ceremony attended only by members of their families. He’s 33; she’s 34. Gould’s the son of Jay and Anne Gould and was married twice before, in 1944 to Jennifer Beryl Bruce, daughter of actor Nigel Bruce, and in 1948 to socialite Blair Roemer Stevens. He has a 6-year-old boy from his marriage to Bruce. On January 13, 1954, her daughter Anne Elena is born early in St. John’s Hospital in Los Angeles. On June 8 1956, her daughter Gloria D. is born in Los Angeles. And on April 15, 1961 her son, Jay IV, is born in Los Angeles. Her husband, Dr. Jay W. Gould III dies at age 67 in California.
Lina Romay died of natural causes at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California on Dec. 17, 2010. She was 91.