Archive for Rule 5

Hunan event

Liu Wen, born this date in 1988 in Yongzhou, Hunan, was the first Chinese woman ever to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which surprised her, she said, because the VS people usually prefer women with, um, “big boobs.” But VS also likes towering height, and at five-foot-ten, she’s got that:

Liu Wen through a doorway

In 2013, H&M, acknowledging her casual-but-not-sloppy street style, featured her in their New Icons promotion, and shot her in some of their modestly-priced stuff:

Liu Wen for H&M

Thirty bucks for those jeans.

Last fall, she wrote a piece for Vogue:

Growing up in southern China, people in my hometown seldom called me piao liang (“beautiful,” informally) because my smaller eyes were a far cry from the wide irises of the most beloved television actresses. Further, I was tall and awkward and tended to dress more androgynously as comfort was always my priority. Towering over classmates, I developed a habit of bending down when speaking to others, as if my back was permanently hunched. Many called me “Mulan,” since I always blended in with the male students much more easily than the female students. Since she was such an honorable and respected character in our culture, I accepted the association quite happily — even if being outwardly “beautiful” was never in my destiny, I at least wanted to personify her confidence.

She describes her personal style as “tomboyish, vintage, and comfortable — with the world.”

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A life less simple

Nicole Richie’s ambitions once extended far beyond being Paris Hilton’s TV sidekick for five years, although things have not always worked out for her: she’s had the occasional brush with the law, and her two novels (The Truth About Diamonds, 2006, and Priceless, 2010) weren’t earthshaking, though Diamonds, thinly veiled autobiography that it appeared to be, did manage to climb to #32 on a New York Times fiction bestseller list.

The camera, at least, has been good to her:

Nicole Richie in Glamour, 2012

By the time that Glamour photoshoot came out in 2012, she’d had two children, Harlow and Sparrow, and married their father, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden. (In that order, if you care.)

Still, she runs up against the Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome every now and then. Last night on Facebook:

Screenshot from InStyle's Facebook page featuring Nicole Richie

What’s more, the link was borked.

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With lots of Dash

Last time we checked in with Stacey Dash was, um, day before yesterday, in this Vent:

I would argue … that there are better ways to deal with unfriendly tweets than simply to exit the arena and be done with it. One of my favorites is the simple retweet by the attackee, a method that seems to be favored by individuals perceived as being on the right (as distinguished from “left”) side of the political spectrum. Actress and recent Fox News contributor Stacey Dash seems particularly fond of this routine, and she often has occasion to put it to use, since rather a lot of characters think her a traitor to her race, or some such nonsense.

I’ve never seen any of her Fox stuff, not being a regular viewer of the channel, but she definitely calls ‘em the way she sees ‘em on Twitter.

Today she turns 49, which seems improbable. I found this in the archives, from the summer of ’08:

Stacey Dash on the cover of Monarch magazine summer 2008

And from very recently, at the New York premiere of American Sniper:

Stacey Dash at the New York premiere of American Sniper December 2014

For the record, she’s never sniped at me.

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Zooeypalooza 22!

Zooey Deschanel has twice as much to celebrate these days: not only is it her birthday (she’s 35), but the oven now contains an actual bun, for which we offer best wishes to Mom and to dad Jacob Pechenik. All this, of course, prompted an all-too-rare Zooeypalooza.

Zooeypalooza 22!

Clickage yields embiggenment.

Prior Paloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20, ZP 21.

Update, 21 January: Zooey and Jacob are engaged. And high time, too, doncha think?

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And now for someone completely different

Carol Cleveland, seventy-three today, is best known as the one biological female in the Monty Python troupe. (Not that the others wouldn’t wear dresses from time to time, except maybe Gilliam.)

She was born in London in 1942, and began studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1960, though you may not have known that she spent some of her formative years in Lubbock, Texas:

Carol Cleveland as a brunette in 1966

By 1969 she’d rolled up a fair number of film credits:

Carol Cleveland in 1969

But by then Python beckoned. From the second episode, here she is as Deirdre Pewtey, with her husband Arthur (Michael Palin) cowering at the door:

Carol Cleveland in a Python sketch in 1969

The Marriage Guidance Counsellor (Eric Idle), coming out from behind his desk, will shortly make recommendations perhaps inconsistent with his job description.

Just for the heck of it, here she is with the winning entry in a TV program’s contest to find the best derogatory name for residents of Belgium:

Carol Cleveland in a Python sketch in 1973

And for the sake of completeness, here she is at the Python 40th anniversary reunion:

Carol Cleveland at the Python reunion in 2009

Do you think that might be her real hair color? (And does it really matter?)

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Nikolina

Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva is not that overwhelming of a name, but it’s hard to fit on a marquee, which may explain how she became Nina Dobrev. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1989 — yesterday was her birthday, in fact — she grew up in Toronto. After several years as an unwed teenage mom on Degrassi: The Next Generation, she got the lead in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which has run six seasons so far.

I don’t think she’s changed much by all this exposure to the seamier side of (fictional) life. She’s a regular at the Coachella Music Festival, and in this shot from 2011 she looks all of eleven:

Nina Dobrev at the 2011 Coachella Music Festival

The chap with the hat is Vampire Diaries co-star Ian Somerhalder; they dated up until 2013 or so.

Nina Dobrev in a 2014 New York Post feature

Next up: The Final Girls, currently in post-production, about which we can say only this:

Max, a young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself transported back in time to 1988 and into the world of her mother’s most famous horror movie. Reunited, the ladies must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.

Probably not too serious, I surmise.

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Nor does she sweat

Every time I find myself thinking I might be just a little bit strange, I stumble across something like this subreddit devoted to Taylor Swift’s armpits.

The person who created the subreddit has now departed, but now that the Daily Dot has run an article about it, said founder is now speaking up:

Just for a bit of background the sub was created after someone posted a photo of Taylor in /r/taylorswift that had a nice shot of her armpit. I made a comment about how it looked nice and was subsequently banned for “being a creep is not tolerated” So I figured why not make a sub. I posted all the original links (which is why for the first few months of posted they are all by [Deleted] as well) and advertised the sub in relevant other posts. And so the sub grew. I routinely delete my reddit account and start a new one so as to not allow too much info to be displayed on one account.

Since when is “being a creep” not tolerated on reddit? There are some places where it’s mandatory.

And it’s not like this is the only body part of hers that has overly zealous fans: as one commenter noted, “Pretty much every (visible) part of Tay has a sub devoted to it!”

I realize that bringing this up without an actual sample of the wares is an unreasonable thing to do, so here’s a nicely revealing shot from the 2014 AMAs:

Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards

I didn’t check to see which other Swift-related subs might have the same picture. I did fish this one out of the archives, in which she gives the impression that she knows you’re looking under her shoulder and isn’t going to let you:

Taylor Swift in a 2009 London photoshoot

But I do try to keep all my obsessions balanced, so here’s a bona fide, ponified Tay.

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Down the road from 90210

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, Gabrielle Carteris did things like ABC Afterschool Specials, and in 1990, signed on to the new Fox series Beverly Hills, 90210 as demure but passionate Andrea Zuckerman, trying to act so nonchalant in the presence of heartthrob Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley).

Gabrielle Carteris in her carefree high school days

She stayed on 90210 for five seasons — she’d gotten married in 1992, and bore her first child two years later — though she’d return for occasional guest spots. She found lots of one-shot work, including this job that didn’t quite work out:

To be the symbol of the new 24-hour talking Internet, Motorola nominates a virtual woman named Mya, a long-legged blonde, clad in a shimmering silver business suit and displaying spunky hair and a ubiquitous telephone headset.

Her animated figure is showcased in a new 60-second television spot created for Motorola Inc., the cellular telephone and semiconductor giant that is now trying to sell software and Internet services and jazz up its image.

Carteris was hired as the voice of Mya, though the character’s appearance was not based on the appearance of the actress: Motorola’s instruction to the digital-processing house was to make Mya look as human as possible yet still be obviously artificial. The product never got more than a trial run, and was abandoned after a couple of years.

Meanwhile, Carteris was getting involved in the politics of Hollywood. In 2011 she was elected president of the Los Angeles AFTRA local; in 2013 she was elected executive VP of the merged SAG-AFTRA.

Gabrielle Carteris takes on new responsibilities

Yesterday she turned 54, which can mean only one of one thing: her first year at West Beverly Hills High School, she was twenty-nine.

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At thirty-one

The 31st is Mariana Renata’s 31st birthday, and in lieu of trekking through the cold to Baskin-Robbins, I opted to celebrate 31 with her. She’s very inviting when she wants to be:

Mariana Renata sends an invitation

Born in Paris to a French father and an Indo mother on the very last day of 1983, she studied English literature at the Sorbonne, and somehow wound up in Indonesia as a commercial spokesperson for Lux soap. I assume she’s a good listener:

Mariana Renata pays attention

And there’s that whole modeling thing, which got her occasional film appearances, such as the 2013 South Korean comedy (I’m guessing) Someone’s Wife in the Boat of Someone’s Husband, from which this is definitely not a still:

Mariana Renata stands tall

If you spend more than perfunctory time at the search engines, though, you discover the one bit of infamy in her career: during Australian Fashion Week in 2011, she (presumably unintentionally) divulged, on the runway, the state of her, um, personal grooming. This incident will probably not make her just-above-a-stub Wikipedia page.

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She still gotta be

Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” was one of my favorite songs of 1994, and after it popped up in the shuffle, I played it a second time, and started wondering whatever happened to her: she definitely had the songwriting chops, and she was certifiably photogenic, so where the heck is she?

Des'ree

The answer, apparently, is “In Canada, without a recording contract”; Sony dropped her after her 2003 album Dream Soldier failed to make any waves.

Dream Soldier by Des'ree

One single was issued from Dream Soldier: “It’s Okay,” which barely charted in Britain and never made any headway in the States. It deserved better:

Most of her catalogue is on YouTube from, um, unofficial sources, though she did upload a video of her appearance at cd:uk, which was live in the same way American Bandstand was live. I’m guessing this was taped in 1999, after Ford used “You Gotta Be” in a commercial for the Focus, prompting Sony to reissue the single:

Despite dumping Des’ree, Sony subsequently issued an album called Endangered Species: The Best of Des’ree, which includes some alternate versions from the vault and a selection of live tracks.

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Close enough

Andrew Crossett has been collecting votes for the Best Celebrity Legs of the Year for eighteen years now, and this year, I figured, it was just a question of how far out in front that amazingly tall singer of country songs who no longer sings country songs would end up.

And the answer is not at all, because Crossett’s poll, for the first time ever, ended in a tie. It’s not that the competition came out of nowhere, either, since she won back in ’12. From the winners’ gallery, here are a couple of shots of Emma Watson:

Emma Watson out for a stroll

Now that’s the sort of shot we’ve been seeing all year from That Other Young Woman. (But this is not really a stroll: it was shot on the set of Colonia Dignidad, in which Watson plays a German woman in Chile whose husband has been “disappeared” by Pinochet’s secret police.)

Emma Watson in a slit gown

I can’t take this sort of thing too seriously — Jennifer Aniston, who didn’t even have the best legs on Friends, won seven times — but I do admit to having a folder on ye olde desktop named “eyecandy.” (For the record, these are the winners.)

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A mildly wild child

The first child of Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones was christened Paulina Mary Jean, and she’s 26 today. I wouldn’t say that controversy exactly follows her around, but it certainly knows where to find her. A couple of years ago there was a grainy photo of her flipping the bird at a Barack Obama marionette for reasons I know not. And apparently there was some acrimony in the LPGA ranks after she appeared in a Golf Digest pictorial (May 2014), inasmuch as she doesn’t play the game to any great extent:

Paulina Gretzky for Golf Digest

Her engagement to PGA pro Dustin Johnson, which probably got her the gig in the first place, did not mollify her detractors. Meanwhile, Wayne Gretzky himself reportedly complained to Johnson that perhaps the young man ought to clean up his act.

Paulina’s had a life outside Johnson’s orbit for some time, of course. In this shot, she’s modeling a Jill Stuart dress for the Canadian magazine Flare:

Paulina Gretzky for Flare

And she sort of had a career as a singer. Her 2006 single “Collecting Dust” appeared in an episode of the MTV series Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. It’s not bad.

But for now, she’s looking towards a new title: Mom.

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Beyond the Dutch treat

Today is the 52nd birthday of Dutch actress Maruschka Detmers, who moved to France as a teenager and promptly drew the attention of director Jean-Luc Godard, who cast her in his 1983 film Prénom Carmen:

Maruschka Detmers in Prenom Carmen

She continued to work for many years. In 1995, she starred opposite Dolph Lundgren in The Shooter:

Maruschka Detmers in The Shooter

Most recently, in 2010, she appeared in a television remake of that first Godard film, titled First Name: Carmen.

She is arguably best known, however, for her role in Marco Bellocchio’s 1986 film Il diavolo in corpoDevil in the Flesh — as a disaffected twentysomething woman, bored with her terrorist fiancé, who takes up with a high-school student who spotted her outside his window. In the film’s most infamous scene, the kid is discoursing about Lenin’s return to St. Petersburg or some such nonsense; she is unable to respond verbally, as she is, um, otherwise occupied.

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Born 1989

It just dawned on me that today is Taylor Swift’s birthday.

Now we’ve already had a couple of pictures of Tay this week, but hey, it’s her birthday.

And I really wonder about this expression she’s wearing at the iHeart Radio Jingle Ball:

Taylor Swift for iHeart Radio

In a more mellow mood, here’s another shot from her Keds campaign:

Taylor Swift for Keds

Ah, those were the days.

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May I have some marmalade, please

In which the lovely and talented Taylor Swift does her best Paddington Bear look:

Taylor Swift in winter wear

Not that I’m going to tell her she can’t wear Ralph Lauren if she wants to:

Taylor Swift in Ralph Lauren collection

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Wende time comes

December 7, 1941, said FDR, was “a date that would live in infamy.” This probably doesn’t say anything about Wende Wagner, who was born the day before. With both parents sports-minded — Mom was a champion skier, Dad a swimming/diving coach turned career Navy officer — she gravitated toward doing those things herself, and it’s said that Billy Wilder, then filming Some Like It Hot at Coronado, California, saw Wagner swimming and invited her to take a screen test. “Not while you’re still in high school,” declared the parental units. (Later, she did the test, but turned down a role in Wilder’s The Apartment.)

And so she became an underwater stunt player on Sea Hunt and The Aquanauts:

Wende Wagner on the rocks

After her first marriage broke up, she decided that maybe standing in front of a camera might not be such a bad thing after all, and signed with 20th Century-Fox, where she had small roles in Rio Conchos and Rosemary’s Baby (on loan to Paramount), and a larger one in the TV series The Green Hornet.

Wende Wagner on the sofa

She retired in the early Seventies, and was seldom heard from thereafter, until her death from cancer in 1997.

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All about that face (no hijab)

Sıla Şahin, twenty-nine today, is a Turkish-German actress who has spent the last five years on the German soap opera Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten — more or less, Good Times, Bad Times, which could be the subtitle of any of a hundred soaps worldwide. You probably should not assume anything from her Muslim-sounding name.

Sıla Şahin in white

Sıla Şahin at a fashion show

A bit of controversy erupted when Şahin appeared in a pictorial for German Playboy (she was even on the cover [NSFW]) in 2011. News reports ran something like this:

A Turkish Muslim model appears naked on the May issue of Germany’s Playboy magazine, sparking debate in the country over Muslim women and sexuality as well as causing a rift with the model’s conservative family.

The Turkish German model, Sıla Şahin, had been living in Berlin and starring on the German television soap opera Good Times, Bad Times. In many ways, she had been an example of how a “well-integrated Turkish German should behave.”

Playboy’s German editor Florian Boitin pointed out some minor details:

“Sila isn’t Muslim. Her father doesn’t belong to any [religion] and her mother is Christian [sic]. And the Playboy cover with Sila Sahin is not a religious statement,” Boitin told FOX411.

Boitin continued to explain that as Editor in Chief he believed there was every reason to put Sahin on the cover to cater to a specific demographic within Germany.

Three million Muslims, half of whom presumably wanted a peek?

Şahin defended her appearance as one of those “freedom” things, though she probably didn’t help her cause by invoking the name of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

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We’ll show those hatches

Guitarist Jennifer Batten, fifty-seven today, has put out three solo albums, though she’s probably best known for her axe work on tour with Michael Jackson, supporting Bad, Dangerous and HIStory, and in MJ’s Super Bowl appearance in 1993. She’s a bit wild and unruly in appearance, though this can be toned down a notch:

Jennifer Batten at rest

Or, you know, not:

Jennifer Batten at work

One of Batten’s influences is Jeff Beck; she appeared on his Who Else! (1999) and You Had It Coming (2001) albums, and toured with him for three years. In this amateur video — the picture is good, the sound not so much — she takes on a Beck original from the Who Else! album, “Brush with the Blues”:

She can definitely wail.

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All this and Superman too

By general assent, the number-one pinup among GIs in World War II was Betty Grable; you could make a pretty good case, though, for Noel Neill as Number Two, especially if you had these pix lying around:

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1944

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1945

This latter shot came from Paramount’s publicity mill, inasmuch as the studio had just signed her to a contract:

Noel Neill in a Paramount publicity still, circa 1941

She had a brief nonspeaking appearance in An American in Paris in 1951, but she is best remembered these days as Lois Lane, the spunky Daily Planet reporter who never could quite figure out that Kent fellow. She did two Superman serials; Phyllis Coates played the first year of the Adventures of Superman TV series, but had already made other commitments before anyone knew there’d be a second year, so Neill returned to the role. There is, as there should be, a statue of her in Metropolis. Today is her 95th birthday.

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In and out of chambers

Jeanine Pirro (currently “Judge Jeanine” on Fox News) posted this picture to Instagram earlier this week:

Jeanine Pirro in some fancy duds

“Can you believe I just walked 14 blocks in these heels?!” she said. “Cold outside, but warming up the office with my #ootd.” Outfit Of The Day, if you’re not hip to the lingo.

Let’s get a closer look at those heels:

Jeanine Pirro from here down

Manolo Blahnik, of course. (The dress is by Hervé Leger, and it’s clearly not one of his Bandages.)

And because every point needs a counterpoint:

Jeanine Pirro cuts the grass

The grass never had a chance.

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Her Majesty takes a spin

The idea of Royalty Having Fun might run counter to our expectations, perhaps because we’ve never had a royal family of our own, despite decades of media attempts to simulate one. For some reason, this pair of shots of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gave me a silly grin, and I pass them on to you. The event is the 2013 opening of a park in Utrecht named for Her Majesty, last seen here resplendent in orange but on this date doing that color-block thing to considerable advantage:

Queen Maxima prepares to meet her subjects

And then this happened:

Queen Maxima on a bicycle

Be warned: the usual click-to-embiggen works here, but we’re talking 2 to 4 megabytes. Each.

Still awaiting final resolution: the question of cycling while wearing heels.

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Still pretty after all these years

Last time we checked in with Tristan Prettyman, she’d been let out of her major-label contract, for which she blamed me. Still, she keeps working, and right now she’s touring with Eric Hutchinson on what is called the City and Sand Tour. For a surfer girl from Southern California, this makes perfect sense.

Tristan Prettyman at Waikiki

(Parenthetical — obviously — note: Waikiki, seen here, is a sister city to, um, Bixby, Oklahoma. I have no idea how this happened.)

This trip to Hawaii, I should point out, was not actually on the tour: that was, I think, last year. (All these pix are from her Facebook timeline.) This on-stage shot, however, is from the current tour:

Tristan Prettyman on stage

Of course, unless you’re an A-list star, the road can be a tedious and boring place, and there are tedious and boring things that have to be done, like this:

Tristan Prettyman kills time while doing the wash

Her new EP, Back to Home, released independently, is on my Get list. No videos yet, but here’s a take — literally, a take — on “Say Anything,” which you might have heard in the film Safe Haven:

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Dollars for scents

Various forces converged this week to tell me that famed fashion designer Tory Burch now has her very own fragrance:

Tory Burch announces a new fragrance

As usual, I’m behind; she actually pushed out this product last fall, though apparently Bloomingdale’s had an exclusive for the first year.

Burch, arguably the wealthiest art-history graduate around — Forbes says she’s worth about a billion — is inclined to share the wealth:

The New York-based designer is promoting a new partnership between her Tory Burch Foundation, a nonprofit launched in 2009 to support the economic empowerment of women, and Bank of America.

The joint effort, launched in January, is known as Elizabeth Street Capital and named for the New York street where Burch launched her first boutique. Through it, Bank of America is giving a total of $10 million in loans to female entrepreneurs — first in eight markets, including Charlotte and the Carolinas region, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia, and then in other markets over the next two years.

An exceedingly comfortable place to be in. Then again, she always looks comfortable:

Tory Burch in her flagship store

Before you ask: she’s forty-eight.

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A vision of Lumleyness

You probably remember Joanna Lumley for one of two roles: Purdey in The New Avengers (1976-77), or Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous (1992-1995, plus several revivals). Forgetting her, of course, would be out of the question.

Joanna Lumley on a billiard table

Joanna Lumley on the telephone

Joanna Lumley not on the wagon

Roles in which you might not remember her:

  • She had two lines in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the seriously underrated James Bond film with the competent George Lazenby.
  • She had one line on several million personal computers: she was the “You have email” voice of the British branch of AOL.

And she’s still busy at sixty-eight:

Joanna Lumley on the High Street

Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way, which debuted at this year’s Venice Film Festival, features Lumley as the ethanol-poisoned mother of a therapist played by Jennifer Aniston. The booze, we know, she learned from Patsy Stone.

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It’s a Mansfield

In 1953, Jayne Mansfield, only twenty and hardly a household word yet, was doing live theatre in Dallas, and at some point posed for a Fourth of July-themed photoshoot. A couple of shots therefrom:

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Mansfield once claimed that she had an IQ of 163, though it wasn’t really a factor in her career: “They’re more interested in 40–21–35,” she said. That said, she studied at least three languages besides English, plus piano and violin. Singing, maybe not so much, though she cut this single in 1965:

One of the sidemen on this track (and on its B-side, “Suey”) was a chap named James Marshall Hendrix.

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Well, damn

MTV apparently found this video a bit too saucy, even for 1992:

There is, of course, a VEVOfied version suitable for family consumption — maybe. I haven’t decided if the scary part is in the sheer eroticism of some of the imagery, or that “Damn” coming out at the very beginning of the chorus.

Or maybe it’s just sheer kineticism:

Sophie B. Hawkins in 2010

Identification for this shot:

Sophie B. Hawkins poses in the press room during “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” presented by the USO at the MCAS Miramar on December 3, 2010 in Miramar, California. “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” concert event will be televised on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1.

The B., in case you’re asking, stands for “Ballantine.”

Hawkins campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2008; she hasn’t said if she’d do so in 2016, but she did say this:

[A]t the Love Heals benefit, Hillary Clinton wrote a letter for Bronson Van Wyck in lieu of presenting him an honor, and I have to say this; if Hillary runs again, her whole campaign should be the way that letter was written. From the mother. The mother of the planet. She is a great mother, and anyone who has children can agree that being a great mother is the toughest job. So there. This planet needs a great mother.

Hawkins is for some reason thought of as a one-hit wonder, though “As I Lay Me Down” (1995) made #6 in Billboard, only one notch lower than “Damn.”

And today is her 47th birthday.

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Toast of many towns

The microphone loved Melba Moore even more than the camera did, and the camera definitely had a crush on her. Here’s the 45 sleeve from her 1986 single “Falling”:

Falling by Melba Moore on Capitol B-5651

A #1 R&B hit, “Falling” missed the pop charts by a hair. By ’86 she’d been recording for seventeen years; Mercury, her first label, tried lots of things, including the obligatory live album and a pop/rock setting of Bizet’s Carmen, but she didn’t really hit big until she switched to Buddah, in 1975. “Falling” was cut for Capitol in 1986. There’s no actual video here, but the song sounds great:

Also in 1986 came the debut of the situation comedy Melba. Unfortunately, CBS scheduled the first episode for the 28th of January, which turned out to be the day of the Challenger disaster, and hurriedly shelved the series. (The other five episodes appeared as summer filler.)

On the evidence of this picture, from last year’s opening night of Motown: The Musical, the camera hasn’t ever gotten over her:

Melba Moore at Motown: The Musical, April 2013

Happy 69th, Melba. (It’s tomorrow, actually.)

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The amazing Snyderman

NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman (MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1977) is probably better known these days for blowing off an Ebola quarantine than for her frequent TV appearances or her actual work as a physician. Those of us who believe that one learns more from television news by turning the sound down, however, focus elsewhere:

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

The shoes, of course, are just for show:

At this writing, she’s been banished off-camera for the next month, presumably so NBC can hack up something resembling damage control.

(Note: Sometimes you have the title long before you have the post, and by “you” I mean me.)

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Swift entanglements

This Australian radio interview of Taylor Swift is — oh, who cares? It’s Taylor Swift, fercryingoutloud:

I snagged this still from Twitter:

Taylor Swift on 2DayFM Sydney

The 1989 album, as I may have mentioned before, drops next week.

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Not from the New World

Actress Ann Dvorak is not related to composer Antonín Dvořák, or to psychologist and keyboard guru August Dvorak, or to computer columnist (and August’s nephew) John C. Dvorak, though apparently she was related to John C. Calhoun. I’m not quite sure why she took on the surname “Dvorak,” which corresponds to none of her three husbands; she was credited as Baby Anna Lehr, after her mother, in her film work as a child. (Her birth certificate reads “Anna McKim.”) Maybe it was just to listen to people mispronounce it:

“My name is properly pronounced vor’shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock.”

Dvorak was pretty busy in pre-Code Hollywood, appearing opposite Paul Muni in Howard Hughes’ Scarface (1932) and, here, with Richard Cromwell in Michael Curtiz’ The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (also 1932):

Ann Dvorak as Molly Louvain in 1932

Dvorak subsequently absented herself from Hollywood, by which is meant that she ran off to London and married cast member Leslie Fenton, thereby breaking her contract and, inevitably, annoying studio heads, who paid her back by engineering the decline of her career. She and Fenton broke up in 1945; eventually she retired to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.

Ann Dvorak doing promo work

This Elmer Fryer photo apparently served as the source for a trading card from the British tobacco company Carreras.

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