In this series on famous photographs, we have seen a number of war photographs that spell death and sorrow. Wonder how soldiers cop with the hardship of a war zone? Different people use different methods. Countless soldiers of the United States used Betty Grable’s pin-up poster during the World War II. Looking at the photo of Hollywood actress, helped them in coping with mental strain. Today we will learn a bit more about this iconic photograph.
She was a Hollywood superstar. She reigned the silver screen for years during the 1940s. Her legs were considered perfectly chiseled and were insured for one million US dollars. A million dollars was a huge fortune in those times! Annually making $300,000, she was the highest paid female star in Hollywood throughout the 1940s. She was Betty Grable.
Today I am presenting an iconic photograph of Betty that became the most famous pin-up photo during the World War II. This image was reproduced on the noses of hundreds of bombers, and tens of thousands of airmen, sailors, GIs, and marines, far from home, in the midst of battle. Betty’s photo became their escapist fare. Soldiers looked at her and felt a spectrum of emotions that took the them out of the miseries of the on-going war.
The photograph was taken by Frank Powolny in 1943. Betty is seen wearing a white bathing suit. It was rumored that the particular pose and angle were chosen to hide the fact that Betty was pregnant at the time of the photo session. Betty’s legs were so famous that she used to earn $300,000 every year largely because of her legs. In 1948, she gave her “leg-print” at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. She allowed her leg to be placed on a wet concrete slab so that the slab gets imprinted with Betty’s famous leg. On the same slab, she also gave her hand prints and signatures. Have a look:
LIFE magazine, declared this masterpiece photograph as one of those photos that changed the world. Though I agree that this photograph was tremendously popular —but I wonder what made the LIFE editors come to such a conclusion!
Did you you?
- Founder of the Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, admitted that Betty Grable was the inspiration behind his setting up the Playboy empire.
- The hosiery specialists of the era often noted the ideal proportions of Betty’s legs as: thigh (18.5″) calf (12″), and ankle (7.5″)
What do you think of this photograph and the story behind it? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring stories on more iconic photographs for you.