It’s generally well known that Playboy's first-ever centerfold model was silver screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, but she’s far from being the only Hollywood star to add to her legend by posing as a Playmate. Many glamour girls of old Hollywood modeled for Playboy, and it’s a selection of these sexy actresses of the 1950s and 1960s that we’re featuring in today’s Playboy Retro.
The obvious woman to start with is Jayne Mansfield: One of the biggest celebrities of the ’50s, this busty and bubbly blonde was built up by the press as a rival to Monroe, and like Marilyn we lost her too young. However, her body of work—and her amazing body—stand on their own merits. Mansfield is the quintessential blonde bombshell, and she set the standard for what we look for in babes to this day.
Though she appeared in bit parts in the TV programs and feature films of the period, Marguerite Empey made the biggest impression as the living symbol of the swinging, sophisticated, sexual culture of the time. This liberated lass appeared as the Playmate of the Month both in May 1955 and in February 1956, was featured on the covers of hi-fi cocktail records by Les Baxter and Nelson Riddle and opened the minds of the men of America by documenting her nudist lifestyle in a number of photo shoots. Marguerite Empey’s joie de vivre and gorgeous looks make her work as a Playmate as fresh and enchanting as ever.
Before June Blair spent five years playing “June” on the ultra-square sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, she showed off her wild side by playing a femme fatale in the hardboiled film noir A Fever in the Blood and by showing up in Playboy as Miss January 1957. Looking back on June, we find her often shot in black and white in both the films and photos of the time, and her 36C-25-36 measurements, stunning body, and angel face look great. But you’ll see that color suits her better as it shows off her vibrant red hair and delicate porcelain skin.
The Black Scorpion! A Day of Fury!! The Giant Claw!!! These thrilling B movies were packing the teenagers into the drive-in movie theaters, and while the chills onscreen jumped some gals into the embraces of their boyfriends, all the guys were focused on only one woman—the one up there on the screen: Mara Corday. A cult figure of ’50s cinema, Corday also thrilled her fans by hitting the beach with Playboy for the centerfold of October 1958. And this shoot is the best place to rediscover one of Hollywood’s forgotten screen gems.
Relive the glory days and capture some of that old Hollywood magic in the gallery above.