Photographer Bruno Bernard, best known by his nickname Bernard of Hollywood, helped invent the pinup style of photography. Born in Germany in 1912, the Jewish Bernard fled to the U.S. in 1934 as a refugee from Hitler’s regime. Already possessing a doctorate in criminal psychology, he enrolled at the University of California, but left to pursue the arts. After a stint studying film directing, Bernard transitioned to still photography. His unique shots of beautiful women soon brought him renown, and big Hollywood studios began sending their gorgeous starlets his way in order for him to capture them with his glamorous touch. Bernard’s original style, which he called the “posed candid,” was quickly imitated and became the standard for pinup photography.
In 1947, Bernard shot an unknown actress named Norma Jean and became instrumental to her fame as she found success under the name Marilyn Monroe. Bruno Bernard continued to shoot the biggest stars of the 20th century, and he didn’t just capture the fairer sex; Bernard created iconic portraits of such famous men as Elvis Presley, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable and John Wayne. Of course Bernard’s work was a natural match for Playboy, and in this installment of Playboy Retro we’re taking a look back at some of the centerfolds he snapped throughout Playboy’s very own golden age.
Originally from sunny Australia, Felicia Atkins moved to Las Vegas where she danced as a chorus girl in the Folies Bergère Revue at the Las Vegas Tropicana. In 1958, the nation had a chance to see her in all her glory without having to buy a ticket to a Vegas show when she appeared as Playmate of the Month in April. Spot those showgirl gams in Bernard’s portraits of the raven-haired sexpot.
Actress and model Marilyn Hanold is a fascinating gal for all us fans of 1950s and 1960s pop culture. Marilyn starred in a film with the Three Stooges, dated Elvis Presley, appeared as a villain with Liberace on two episodes of the original Batman television show and starred as a space princess in the not-so-classic Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster. She was also Miss June 1959, and her pictorial is a much better place to see her than, say, her role in The Brain That Wouldn't Die!
Our last entry is a bit of an honorary one: Bruno Bernard’s daughter, Susan Bernard, was Miss December 1966. Bernard shot a few black-and-white pics of Susan lounging around the house for the pictorial, but Mario Casilli (once Bernard’s apprentice) took the majority of the centerfold pics of the eye-catching cutie. Inspired by her Hollywood household, Susan became an actress and she ended up in the pages of Playboy after wowing the Playboy staff when accompanying her father on a business trip to the Chicago headquarters. Have a look and you’ll see: the sumptuous Susan still has that knockout effect.
Bernard of Hollywood's unmatched talent and the luminous ladies he shot are all yours to admire in the gallery above.