Saturday, May 22, 2010

"All The Pretty Ladies"

I was inspired to do this feature, about some of my favorite ladies of the 60's and 70's, after watching an episode of the 1968 series, "To Catch A Thief", which starred a very young and handsome Robert Wagner. In one of the first scenes, the gorgeous Suzanne Pleshette appears on the screen, seated in a plane, wearing a leopard hat and matching coat.....what a vision! The scene changes and she appears in a colorful Pucci-type dress with a matching hat (as I think about it....the outfit could have been Pucci); another scene, and she's clad in a purple, jeweled-neck caftan...when I say jeweled, I mean jeweled! Each stone had to be a least 2" x 2" that point, she really had my attention! Though drop-dead-gorgeous, Suzanne and the women profiled, were a combination of beauty and brains. Read on, for more interesting tidbits about this group of "accomplished ladies."

I first became aware of Suzanne Pleshette while watching her play the role of Emily Hartley to Bob Newhart's Robert Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. I loved her in the role, as she was as talented as she was beautiful. She started as a stage actress and segued into film, as she appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, "The Birds." A couple of years ago, I watched her in in an episode of Columbo, which was memorable, but she will always be the beautiful and classy, Emily Hartley to me.

Teresa Graves had the distinct honor of playing one of T.V.'s first women detectives. "Get Christie Love," which initially debuted as a movie in 1973 (it's on Youtube) and in 1974, was turned into a series which aired 21 episodes. The tall beauty captured the screen, appearing more the stylish model than detective, as she uttered her "signature line", "you're under arrest sugah." She was also a popular, "bikini clad" fixture on the popular, Rowan and Martin's "Laugh In." In the latter 70's she retired from acting to take care of her mother, but will always be remembered for her role as one of T.V's most stunning detectives.

Raquel Welch (Jo Raquel Tejada), where do I begin!? called everything from bombshell to sex symbol, she was named the "most desired woman" of the 1970's by Playboy magazine. The poster of her clad in an animal-skin bikini, from the movie, "One Million Years B.C.," is said to be one of the best selling of all time. Clearly, more than just a pretty face, she once worked as a forecaster for a news station in San Diego. As you see her today, she's still a head-turning beauty. In addition to a line of wigs, she's currently starring in commercials for Foster Grant, which showcases their line of sunglasses and reading glasses.

Whenever I read the name Diahann Carroll (Carol Diahann Johnson), the word elegant comes to mind. She's certainly a trailblazer, as one of the first African American women to star in her own television series, "Julia." Equally as memorable, is her portrayal of the character Dominique Deveraux in the popular nighttime soap, Dynasty. She was absolutely perfect for the role......elegant and stunning(as she remains today)with just the right amount of "nastiness."

Tina Louise (Tatiana Josivovna Chernova Blacker), will go down in history as the sexy, beautiful and curvaceous Ginger Grant on the sitcom, "Gilligan's Island." While TV Land Top Ten, ranked her as one of the greatest television sex symbols of all-time, she prefers the title of "dramatic" actress to that of her comedic role on Gilligan's Island. As a literacy and academic advocate, she became a volunteer teacher at Learning Leaders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing tutoring to New York City school children. She has also written three books....two of them for children. Another great example of brains and beauty!

I've long been a fan of Anjelica Huston's classic style. The first time that I saw her, she was featured in a magazine, wearing a crisp, white blouse, an arm full of gold bangles and a gold pinky ring; I was instantly captivated. While she's probably best known for her acting and past relationship with Jack Nicholson, she started modeling in 1969. An exotic beauty, who is known to be an avid reader, I can imagine that she gains command of any room as she strides through, due in part, I'm sure, to her height. I would call her style, an "understated chic," but whatever the moniker, she has claimed her place among the style icons.

Tamara Dobson is probably best known for her bad ass, no nonsense and utterly chic character, Cleopatra Jones, in the 1970's movies of the same name. As it turns out, there was much more to this 6 foot 2 inch lovely. She worked as a licensed beautician before earning a degree in Fashion Illustration from Maryland Institute College of Art. She was a Vogue model and appeared is several commercials before taking on the role of actress. And if that's not enough, her brother states that she designed much of her enviable wardrobe. What an accomplished lady!

Nancy Kwan acted in one of my favorite films....."The World of Susie Wong." She and William Holden cast together was a touch of magic! I've watched the movie many times and am continually awed by her performance. I remember watching it for the first time and loving her seemingly care free life. She too was counted among the sex symbols of the 60's, and rightfully so....What a beauty! One of the most popular pictures of her, was the one that captured her wearing Vidal Sasson's signature bob, which I had to include. That has to be one of the most perfect hairstyles, as it looks fabulous on everyone! She studied at the Royal Ballet School in England, prior to her acting career, and later completed studies that certified her as a ballet teacher. While she remains low key these days, she remains active as the spokeswoman for the Asian American Voters Coalition.

While, I've watched a few episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie", I personally enjoyed watching Barbara Eden (barbara Jean Morehead)in an episode of I love Lucy called "Country Club Dance" and an episode of Perry Mason called "The Angry Mourner." I read somewhere, that when she appeared on I Love Lucy, she was only 20 or so. That has to be one of the best and funniest episodes in the history of I Love Lucy. She was absolutely flawless in a form fitting dress and short hair. On the Perry Mason episode, he defends her mother, who is accused of murdering a lecherous playboy whom barbara's character had visited. She still remains quite active these days, as she still appears on the stage and continues to do some television. She remains a striking beauty.

I remember hearing the name Jayne Kennedy (Jane Harrison), spoken over and over again by my older brothers.....when I finally saw her picture, I understood why! Tall and statuesque, with one of those "va-va-va-voom" bodies, she was a vision of "perfection." In 1970, she was the first African American to win the title of Miss Ohio and went on to become one of the 15 semi-finalists in the Miss USA pageant, the same year. While she held the titles of model and actress, she was one of the first women to gain the role of Sports Announcer on the 1970's show, "The NFL Today." She was also the first African American to grace the cover of Playboy magazine. She appeared in the magazine with her then husband, Leon Isaac Kennedy, as she preferred not to do any nude photos. In the early 80's, she produced exercise videos as well as having a contract with Coca-Cola's Tab and Diet Coke. She was involved in one of the first "sex tape scandals," when her ex-husband Leon released an "intimate" tape of the two of them, after their divorce. For many years, she worked for the Children's Miracle Network, but these days she prefers spending time with her family.

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