Audrey Hepburn: Funny Face

Kay Thompson, as fashion magazine editor Maggie Prescott, was the star of the solo number. Watch for popular models blonde Sunny Harnett and brunette Dovima as other specialty dancers:

The character of fashion photographer Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire, was loosely based on the career of Richard Avedon. The visual consultant on the film, Richard Avedon also created the famous photo of Audrey Hepburn’s intentionally overexposed face. The photo was seen in the film and became the cover of the original soundtrack album. The image quickly became iconic. When Funny Face was re-released in 1964, it was the focal point of the new publicity poster.

Iconic image of Audrey Hepburn as “Funny Face”

During the filming of Funny Face in the spring of 1956, David Seymour photographed Richard Avedon and his boyhood idol Fred Astaire. This rare photo can be found in the August 1956 Bazaar magazine:
http://www.minimadmod60s.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=56503

Suzy Parker was the inspiration for the reluctant model played by Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film Funny Face (Paramount Pictures). She also appeared as a specialty dancer in the Think Pink! musical number.

 

 

Susan Camp & Linda Morand

 

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Suzy Parker and Dorian Leigh

Suzy Parker 1958

Suzy Parker (October 28, 1932 – May 3, 2003) was an American model and actress active from 1947 into the early 1960s. Her modeling career reached its zenith during the 1950s when she appeared on the cover of dozens of magazines, advertisements, and in movie and television roles.

She appeared in several Revlon advertisements, but she also appeared in advertisements for many other cosmetic companies as well, as no model had an exclusive make-up contract until Lauren Hutton (for Revlon and Revlon’s Ultima) and Karen Graham (Estée Lauder) signed them in the early 1970s. She was the first model to earn $100,000 per year and the only fashion model to have a Beatles song named after her, even if an unreleased one.

Three of the Parker sisters were very tall, standing between 5’10” and 6’1″. Dorian was the sole exception, standing 5’5″. In 1944, Dorian was writing advertising copy when a co-worker encouraged Dorian to go to the Conover Modeling Agency to try modeling.

The agency of Harry Sayles Conover [1911, Chicago, Ill.–1965, New York City
In 1955, Suzy Parker was considered one of the top models of the world. Here she is with ten other top models of the Fifties. Suzy is the redhead in the second row in the black and white print dress.  She is resting on her sister Dorian Leigh’s lap.

One of Dorian’s first advertisements was for Revlon. Charles Revson (who later wanted to marry her) hired her for “Fatal Apple,” one of Revlon’s first all-color, nationwide ads. Dorian was one of the top models in the world, arguably referred to as the “world’s first supermodel” (along with Lisa Fonssagrives). When Parker was about age 15, Dorian telephoned The Ford Modeling Agency and told Eileen and Jerry Ford that she would sign on with them if they also took her younger sister, sight unseen. Anxious to represent Dorian, they agreed. Expecting to meet a similarly petite, extremely thin, flawless, pale-faced, electric blue-eyed, raven-haired younger version of Dorian, they were shocked to meet Suzy for the first time at a restaurant. At the meeting, the Fords said, “Oh, my God!” Parker was already 5’10”, big-boned, and had carrot red hair, pale-green eyes, and freckles. She later became more famous than Dorian.

Parker’s photo appeared in Life magazine at age 15. That same year, one of her first magazine advertisements was for DeRosa Jewelry. Although she still lived with her parents in Florida, she stayed in New York City with Dorian when she had modeling assignments there. Dorian introduced Suzy to her fashion-photographer friends, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, John Rawlings, and a young Richard Avedon. Suzy became Avedon’s muse. At age 61, she said, “The only joy I ever got out of modeling was working with Dick Avedon

Suzy on Life Magazine 1951. Appearing on the cover of LIFE insured superstar status for a model.

 

 

Vogue1952 Sept by Roger Prigent

 

Parker became the so-called signature face of the Coco Chanel brand. Chanel herself became a close confidante, giving Parker advice on men and money as well as creating numerous Chanel outfits for her. She was the first model to earn $200 per hour and $100,000 per year. Vogue declared her one of the faces of the confident, post-war American woman. She worked also non-stop for Vogue, Revlon, Hertz, Westinghouse, Max Factor, Bliss, DuPont, Simplicity, Smirnoff, and Ronson shavers, to name a few. She also was on the covers of about 70 magazines around the world, including Vogue, Elle, Life, Look, Redbook, Paris Match and McCall’s.

Avedon suggested Parker for the movie Funny Face (1957). Fred Astaire’s role was based on Avedon, whose photos appeared in the movie. Suzy appeared in the movie for only two minutes and she looked breathtakingly beautiful on the big screen.

Cristóbal Balenciaga , Cocktail hat of ivory silk satin, 1953. Originally published in Vogue, October 15, 1953. Photo: John Rawlings

After marrying her third husband, Bradford Dillman, in 1963, she mostly retired from modeling and acting to live a quiet life in Montecito, California, with her family.

She passed away in 2003 at age 70 surrounded by her loving family. One of her children, a friend of mine has just published a book dedicated to Suzy Parker called REFLECTIONS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobel

 

by Dinah Dillman Kaufman, daughter of Suzy Parker