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.”
Lucille Ball will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball in Jamestown, New York, on August 6, 1911. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents. Always willing to take responsibility for her brother and young cousins, she was a restless teenager who yearned to “make some noise”. She entered a dramatic school in New York, but while her classmate Bette Davis received all the raves, she was sent home; “too shy.” She found some work modeling for Hattie Carnegie’s and, in 1933, she was chosen to be a “Goldwyn Girl” and appear in the film Roman Scandals (1933).
She was put under contract to RKO and several small roles, including one in Top Hat (1935), followed. Eventually, she received starring roles in B-pictures and, occasionally, a good role in an A-picture, like in Stage Door (1937) or The Big Street (1942). While filming Too Many Girls (1940), she met and fell madly in love with a young Cuban actor-musician named Desi Arnaz. Despite different personalities, lifestyles, religions and ages (he was six years younger), he fell hard, too, and after a passionate romance, they eloped and were married in November, 1940. Lucy soon switched to MGM, where she got better roles in films such as Du Barry Was a Lady (1943); Best Foot Forward (1943) and the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy vehicle Without Love (1945). In 1948, she took a starring role in the radio comedy “My Favorite Husband”, in which she played the scatterbrained wife of a Midwestern banker. In 1950, CBS came knocking with the offer of turning it into a television series. After convincing the network brass to let Desi play her husband and to sign over the rights to and creative control over the series to them, work began on the most popular and universally beloved sitcom of all time.
Despite being one of the great exotic screen beauties of the early ’40s, Ramsay Ames never broke out of leading roles in B-movies and supporting parts in A-films. She was born Ramsay Phillips on March 30, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York (her reported year of birth varies from 1921 to 1924, depending on the source), and was a student athlete (especially excelling as a swimmer) in high school. She attended the Walter Hillhouse School of Dance, specializing in Latin-style dance, and also took up singing, becoming the vocalist with a top rhumba band. She later became part of a dance team under the name Ramsay Del Rico, and appeared as a model at the Eastman Kodak-sponsored fashion show at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. A back injury sidelined her from dancing and fate intervened: in the course of a trip to California to visit her mother, she had a chance meeting at the airport with Harry Cohn. He was the president of Columbia Pictures and the meeting resulted in a screen test and then her 1943 movie debut, “Two Senoritas From Chicago” (1943). From there she moved to Universal, where she was cast in key roles in movies such as “The Mummy’s Ghost”, in which she was the hapless modern victim of the ancient curse of Kharis the Mummy, and major supporting parts in pictures like “Calling Dr. Death” (1943), “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” (1944), and “Follow the Boys” (1944).
With her dark good looks and statuesque, athletic yet attractive physique, Ames was ideal in portrayals of exotic roles, such as the Egyptian student in her Mummy movie and the French and Latin women she often got to play. She was also good in physically demanding action roles. During the mid-’40s, she made a pair of Cisco Kid movies with Gilbert Roland, “The Gay Cavalier” (1946) and “Beauty and the Bandit” (1946). In the first, Ames is credited in some sources with co-authoring one of the songs, and in the second, she brought a good deal of fire and humor to a script that, for the first half, resembled a cowboy version of “As You Like It”.
Ames had small roles in major movies like “Mildred Pierce” (1945) and the epic-length “Green Dolphin Street” (1947), but by the second half of the 1940s she was locked into B-features such as PRC’s low-budget “Philo Vance Returns” (1947) and was also working at Republic in serials such as “The Black Widow” (1947) and “G-Men Never Forget” (1948). She gave up acting and Hollywood at the end of the 1940s and for many years lived in Spain, where she had her own television interview show and occasionally took acting roles in films produced in Europe. Her later movies included the features “Alexander the Great” (1956) and Carol Reed’s 1963 thriller “The Running Man”. She returned to the United States in the early ’60s and was married to playwright Dale Wasserman, best known for Man of La Mancha, until their divorce in 1980. She died of lung cancer on March 30, 1998 in Santa Monica, California.
Elizabeth Ruth Grable ( Betty Grable) was born on December 18, 1916, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother Lillian was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. Elizabeth, who later became Betty, was enrolled in Clark’s Dancing School at the age of three. With her mother’s guidance, Betty studied ballet and tap dancing. At 13, Betty and her mother set out for Hollywood with the hopes of stardom. Lillian lied about her daughter’s age, and Ruth landed several minor parts in films in 1930, such as “Whoopee!” (1930), “New Movietone Follies of 1930″ (1930), “Happy Days” (1929/I) and “Let’s Go Places” (1930). In 1932 she signed with RKO Pictures. The bit parts continued for the next three years. Betty finally landed a substantial part in “By Your Leave” (1934). One of her big roles was in “College Swing” (1938). Unfortunately, the public didn’t seem to take notice. She was beginning to think she was a failure. The next year she married former child star Jackie Coogan. His success boosted hers, but they divorced in 1940. When she landed the role of Glenda Crawford in “Down Argentine Way” (1940), the public finally took notice of this shining bright star. Stardom came through comedies such as “Coney Island” (1943) and “Sweet Rosie O’Grady” (1943).
The public was enchanted with Betty. Her famous pin-up pose during World War II adorned barracks all around the world. With that pin-up and as the star of lavish musicals, Betty became the highest-paid star in Hollywood. After the war, her star continued to rise. In 1947 the US Treasury Department noted that she was the highest paid star in America, earning about $300,000 a year – a phenomenal sum even by today’s standards. Later, 20th Century-Fox, who had her under contract, insured her legs with Lloyds of London for a million dollars. Betty continued to be popular until the mid-50s, when musicals went into a decline. Her last film was “How to Be Very, Very Popular” (1955). She then concentrated on Broadway and nightclubs. In 1965 she divorced band leader Harry James, whom she had wed in 1943. Betty died July 2, 1973, of lung cancer at age 56 in Santa Monica, California. Her funeral was held July 5, 1973, 30 years to the day after her marriage to Harry James – who, in turn, died on what would have been his and Grable’s 40th anniversary, July 5, 1983. Her life was an active one, devoid of the scandals that plagued many stars in one way or another. In reality, she cared for her family and the family life more than stardom. In that way, she was a true star.’
Betty Grable’s measurements: 34 1/2-24-36 (self-described 1940), 36-24-35 (at time of her famous WWII pin-up poster), 36-23-35 (at a fit 112# in 1958), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Height: 5′ 4″ (1.63 m)
Wore size 5A shoes. (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Had a relationship with George Raft for 2-1/2 years, and ended it because he could not get a divorce from his Catholic wife.
Was a somnambulist (sleep-walker)
Did Playtex 18-hour Shortie commercials in the 1960s using her famous pinup pose — purportedly because she needed the money after her husband had spent her savings.
She and Harry James had two daughters, Victoria Elizabeth James (b. March 3, 1944) and Jessica James (b. May 20, 1947).
Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 29, 1915. The woman who would be one of the top stars in Hollywood in the 1940s had decided to become an actress after finishing her formal schooling. She had had a taste of acting at age 17 when she played an uncredited role of a girl standing in line in the Swedish film “Landskamp” (1932) in 1932 – not much of a beginning for a girl who would be known as “Sweden’s illustrious gift to Hollywood.” Her parents died when she was just a girl and the uncle she lived with didn’t want to stand in the way of Ingrid’s dream. The next year she enrolled in the Swedish Royal Theatre but decided that stage acting was not for her. It would be three more years before she would have another chance at a film. When she did, it was more than just a bit part. The film in question was “Munkbrogreven” (1935), where she had a speaking part as Elsa Edlund. After several films that year that established her as a class actress, Ingrid appeared in “Intermezzo” (1936) as Anita Hoffman. Luckily for her, American producer David O. Selznick saw it and sent a representative from Selznick International Pictures to gain rights to the story and have Ingrid signed to a contract. Once signed, she came to California and starred in United Artists’ 1939 remake of her 1936 film, “Intermezzo: A Love Story” (1939), reprising her original role. The film was a hit and so was Ingrid. Her beauty was unlike anything the movie industry had seen before and her acting was superb. Hollywood was about to find out that they had the most versatile actress the industry had ever seen. Here was a woman who truly cared about the craft she represented. The public fell in love with her. Ingrid was under contract to go back to Sweden to film “En enda natt” (1939) in 1939 and “Juninatten” (1940) in 1940. Back in the US she appeared in three films, all well-received. She made only one film in 1942, but it was the classic “Casablanca” (1942) opposite the great Humphrey Bogart.
Ingrid was choosing her roles well. In 1943 she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943), the only film she made that year. The critics and public didn’t forget her when she made “Gaslight” (1944) the following year–her role of Paula Alquist got her the Oscar for Best Actress. In 1945 Ingrid played in “Spellbound” (1945), “Saratoga Trunk” (1945) and “The Bells of St. Mary’s” (1945), for which she received her third Oscar nomination for her role of Sister Benedict. She made no films in 1947, but bounced back with a fourth nomination for “Joan of Arc” (1948). In 1949 she went to Italy to film “Stromboli” (1950), directed by Roberto Rossellini. She fell in love with him and left her husband, Dr. Peter Lindstrom, and daughter, Pia LindstrÃ¶m. America’s “moral guardians” in the press and the pulpits were outraged. She was pregnant and decided to remain in Italy, where her son was born. In 1952 Ingrid had twins, Isotta and Isabella Rossellini, who became an outstanding actress in her own right, as did Pia. Ingrid continued to make films in Italy and finally returned to Hollywood in 1956 in the title role in “Anastasia” (1956), which was filmed in England. For this she won her second Academy Award. She had scarcely missed a beat. Ingrid continued to bounce between Europe and the US making movies, and fine ones at that. A film with Ingrid Bergman was sure to be a quality production. In her final big-screen performance in 1978′s “HÃ¶stsonaten” (1978) she had her final Academy Award nomination. Though she didn’t win, many felt it was the most sterling performance of her career. Ingrid retired, but not before she gave an outstanding performance in the mini-series “A Woman Called Golda” (1982) (TV), a film about Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. For this she won an Emmy Award as Best Actress, but, unfortunately, she didn’t live to see the fruits of her labor. Ingrid died from cancer on August 30, 1982, the day after her 67th birthday, in London, England.
Height: 5′ 9″ (1.75 m)
Her famous love affair with the war photographer, Robert Capa was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” (1954).
During the making of “Casablanca” (1942), Humphrey Bogart’s wife Mayo Methot continually accused him of having an affair with Bergman, often confronting him in his dressing room before a shot. Bogart would come onto the set in a rage.
Swedes are very proud of Bergman. They even have “Ingrid Bergman Square” with a statue of the screen goddess looking out over the water to her former home. Her ashes were scattered over the sea nearby.
Received a fan letter from James Stewart on his way to combat duty for World War II (1943).
One day at the studio she hooked bumpers with another car. A studio policeman found her tugging and heaving with all her might. The policeman said, “Darndest thing I ever saw. First film star I ever knew that didn’t mind getting her hands dirty”.
Enjoyed working with Gary Cooper, for she did not have to take off her shoes.
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.