Tina LOUISE 1957

Many people in show business become famous, but only a handful become legends. Of that handful, most become legends though their work: Fred Astaire and Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby and Cyd Charisse. A tiny minority become legends through a fusion of their public and private lives: Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Tina Louise has achieved legendary status through neither her work nor her private life. She is a legendary beauty.
In a 1963 newspaper article about beauty, Robin Douglas-Home, nephew of the then British Prime Minister, declared "No black and white picture can ever do justice to Tina Louise". Pamela Tiffin, herself an ex-model and unlikely to be impressed by female elegance, told Tom Lisanti "Tina Louise was one of the most beautiful females I ever seen in my life. Her beauty was unearthly and just a miracle of nature".
Today, fifty years after she first appeared on the scene, Tina Louise still fascinates lovers of beauty. On E-bay, old magazines featuring her consistently attract more bids and fetch higher prices than those featuring Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren or Elizabeth Taylor.
Yet while there is universal agreement that Tina has always been startlingly good-looking, there is little recognition that she has also been one of those women whose appearance changes with their menstrual cycle, their diet and their state of mind. Evidence of this flexibility is found in the photographs of Tina that adorn Internet web-sites. In some of these pictures, Tina is buxom, in others quite slim. Sometimes she is round-cheeked, but often slender-faced. Her persona in these pictures is also erratic, ranging from shy and timid to humorously companionable; from common-place to aloof; from lady-like to slatternly. It is possible to compare several photographs of Tina and not realise they are of the same woman.

She was born Tina Blacker in New York in 1934 to parents who divorced while she was still a child. There are conflicting accounts of her childhood and formal education, but by her late teens, Tina had decided on a career in show business.
In December 1952 Tina was in the Broadway revue "Two's Company" .In October 1953 Tina, as one member of a very stellar cast which included Harry Belafonte, Polly Bergen, Carleton Carpenter and Hermione Gingold, opened on Broadway in the revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac".
The nineteen year old Tina Louise began to attract the attention of photographers and magazine editors. The early to mid 1950s was the period when men's magazines came out of the shadows, multiplied, and appeared on newspaper stands. They specialised in photographs of well-shaped young women, and hankered particularly after girls in show business. Major stars, conscious of their dignity, avoided these magazines, and so the editors concentrated on ambitious young women who needed publicity: Hollywood starlets, night-club singers and Broadway hopefuls. The two favourites of these magazines were Anita Ekberg and Tina Louise. Tina graced the covers and inside pages of every man's magazine in America, and made several repeat appearances in some of them. With hindsight, what is significant about Tina's star status in these magazines is that the editors, unlike Hollywood a few years later, recognised something special in her.

During this period Tina made her living as a singer, worked occasionally in night clubs, and generally gained plaudits for her singing as well as for her looks. She made a long playing record, "It's Time For Tina", and surprisingly, the album sleeve photograph was neither revealing nor especially glamorous.
Here, for the first time on records, is the warm, mood-filled voice of one of the most glamorous of all America's glamour girls. Softly, soothingly, sensuously she sings her songs... The sequence of the songs tells the story of her "tonight". One melody follows another in chronological order. And to sustain the mood, mellow musical bridges tie together the tunes and, at the same time, the excitement of an evening with Tina. We have to note the presence of real jazz masters fronting the Buddy Weed Orchestra, trombonist Tyree Glenn, altoist Hilton Jefferson and the master of the tenor saxophone himself, Coleman Hawkins.


In 1956 Tina played Appassionata Von Climax in "L'il Abner" on Broadway, and is on the cast album. At the same time she worked in television, and in 1958 Tina was invited to Hollywood. She was given the plum role of Griselda in "God's Little Acre".
In 1958 the combination of Tina's physical allure and her radiantly feminine performance in "God's Little Acre" should have set bells ringing in Hollywood, where some of the great glamour queens were approaching middle-age. Instead, Hollywood seems not to have noticed or cared.
At first this presented no problem for Tina who made in quick succession three modest movies, in each of which she confirmed her strong screen presence. The writers/producers of "L'il Abner", Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, gave Tina the female lead in their 1959 movie "The Trap". In "Day Of The Outlaw" Tina, as did the rest of the cast, acted many of her scenes wearing a thick coat.
In 1964 Hollywood was still fast asleep, and Tina accepted a part on Broadway in the Jule Styne musical "Fade Out-Fade In" which was moderately successful. Tina participated in the cast album.
In that same year Tina won the role of a stranded movie star in the TV series "Gilligan's Island".
Tina has continued to work regularly to this day in films and television. She has also found outside interests, such as setting up a health care company and working as a volunteer reading teacher in New York.
Tina seems not to have commented on Hollywood's refusal to give her opportunities to demonstrate her individual screen presence.
On the other hand, it is the responsibility of decision-makers in Hollywood to be aware of any newcomers who have that special rapport with the camera called "star quality". Around 1959, they failed to notice this quality in Tina, even though she had just made one of the most impressive debuts in movie history, and had confirmed that good impression with her next three films. In the period 1959/1964 Hollywood gave large parts to several young actresses who had less "star quality", less acting ability and less beauty than Tina, and today nearly all these actresses are forgotten. Tina Louise is not forgotten. She is a legend in her own time, and Hollywood should be ashamed of itself.

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