I’m not one of the most famous photos of all time –– Betty Grable, in a tight one-piece swimsuit, poses with her back to the camera and looking over her shoulder.
The black and white photograph, taken in 1943, became the most requested photograph for GIs stationed abroad during the Second World War. The photo wasn’t meant to be as attention-grabbing, it was simply part of a promotional photo shoot for her film. Sweet Rosie O’Grady.
Although she is already a movie star, the popularity of the close-up shot helped propel her career into a mainstream movie star, giving her more roles than ever. time out.
Describing his film career, Grable once said “I became a star for two reasons, and I’m standing above them”. And from this photo, it’s easy to see why.
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In fact, this photo is so famous and influential that it was actually the inspiration for Hugh Hefner when he created the Playboy Empire.
When the studio released the photo, it quickly became the most requested photograph in cinematic history.
FOX Studios saw its potential as a major money maker, and began distributing the photo as postcards to American soldiers stationed abroad because of the war. In a short time, paintings were repainted on barracks walls, bomber jackets, and even planes, coated with Grable cement being the most common material during the war.
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One soldier stationed overseas and who liked this image was a young man named Hugh Hefner. He said NPR in 2007 that he was a big fan of Betty Grable and it was an infamous image when he was serving in the war.
Pinned photos, which provide a sense of comfort to soldiers far from their loved ones, were a partial inspiration when Hefner created Playboy magazine.
He speak. “But what made them different was what I described at the time as the girls next door. But it all came down to the notion of being a whole, sane American.”
And that’s exactly what Grable is. In fact, there is a speech during the 1940s: “As American as apple pie and Betty Grable.”
The pin photo was even included Life news magazine 100 photos that changed the world book.
The photographer of the iconic photo, Frank Polowny, says it’s not even a staged shot, but an overall shot.
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“I asked Betty if she wanted to come back, just to be different,” he told LA timefour decades after the photo session.
“She said, ‘Yes,’ and started clowning around.” You want it like this? ‘ she asked, posing and I said, ‘Yeah.’ I only did two shots of that pose. It was the second shot to become famous.”
In light of her popularity after the photo, studios tried to push Grable into roles of a more dramatic nature.
The head of Fox has repeatedly tried to invite her to films that promote her acting abilities, but she refuses each time. Grable was insecure about his acting ability and was too scared to play the lead role opposite the top male actors of the time.
In the end, the studio executives were satisfied, and Grable continued to star in musical, comedy roles without much content. While the movies themselves weren’t great, they were hugely popular with audiences –– giving Fox more money to spend on prestigious films with other actors.
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The studio knows Grable’s best asset isn’t her acting, but her looks – more specifically, her legs. They actually insured her legs for $1 million for a publicity stunt for her 1939 movie. Long legs Million Dollar.
Her career reached an astonishing height in the 1940s. In 1946 and 1947, she was the highest-paid woman in America.
Grable remains one of the most successful female actresses of all time, despite her peak more than 70 years ago. Her 42 films made during the 1930s and 1940s grossed over $100 million.
In 1953, she co-starred with Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall as gold diggers in How to Marry a Millionaire.
At the time, the rumor mill failed with news of a major feud going on. Monroe is 10 years younger and people speculate that Grable is jealous of her rising popularity.
But in fact, the star couple became close friends while filming together. Grable reported even said to Monroe: “Go get mine baby! I’ve got yours!”
Shortly after this film was released, Grable’s career began to slowly take off. She ran into financial difficulties due to her husband’s gambling, and moved to Las Vegas to star in her own live stage show. She also scored a role in the musical Hello Dolly both in Vegas and on Broadway.
Grable died of lung cancer in July 1973, at the age of 56.
Son pays tribute to iconic father on his birthday