June Wilkinson photographed by Russ Meyer
Gloria Dawn photographed by Phil Jacobson
Where would glamour photographers be without those beautiful and glamorous models?! On this page, I'll profile a few of the models that I've been lucky enough to have short email correspondences with, along with (hopefully) several other well known models from the 50s and 60s.
Where I give links to the models' own websites, it is my wish that you go to their sites and buy an autographed photo (or even two!) to show them your appreciation for their great work in 1950s and 60s glamour! You will then also have some memorabilia from that classic era of glamour photography that you will treasure for years to come!
All photos on this page are reproduced by special permission from the models.
Diane Hunter - the first model I'd like to profile is Playmate Diane Hunter. Of course, this was just the name that Playboy had given her. When she first got into modeling, she went by the name Donna Hunter (her real name is Gale Morin), but when Playboy chose Bruno Bernard's nude pin-up photo of her to appear as Miss Nov. 1954, they had changed her name to Diane Hunter. She later tried to find out why they had changed her name to Diane, but to no avail. As for how she got into glamour/pin-up modeling, she wrote the following:
"I got into modeling by accident. I was approached, given the card for an agent, and being an adventurous person, went to find out. The gentleman looked just like Santa and was just as nice. He gently got me into it and never let me get into trouble. Andy Anderson. I quit shortly after he died."
Diane modeled for a lot of the glamour photographers of the day, including one the greatest photographers of nudes, Andre de Dienes. In the very first issue of Playboy magazine, a de Dienes photo of her can be seen on the back pages. Photos of Diane can also be seen in a few of de Dienes books, including "The Nude". There are a few different editions of this book and the first edition (1956) has a couple of very nice photos of Diane (including the photo that appeared in that first issue of Playboy), but one of those great images was replaced in a subsequent version of the book. Andre de Dienes books sell at fairly high prices, so try to snatch one up if you ever see them at a more reasonable price.
A few years after Diane was rediscovered in 1997, she met up with Bunny Yeager during a Hollywood Collectors Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Bunny took some photos of her back at Diane's hotel room. Diane wrote of the shoot: "She is an incredible photographer. We worked for less than an hour after the show, and she took six rolls of film, which nearly all were good to exceptional. I hadn't worked, or modeled in 42 years. She said I was the most natural model she ever worked with and complimented me on being able to fall into poses so naturally. It was a huge success."
Diane currently lives in Florida.
Gloria Dawn - It was totally by happenstance that Gloria Dawn got into glamour modeling. In the Fall of 1961, Gloria was taking a creative writing course at Santa Monica City College, and one of her classmates was none other than Alice Gowland, wife and collaborator of the well known glamour photographer, Peter Gowland. Near the end of the semester, Alice finally mentioned to Gloria that her husband was a famous figure photographer. Gloria was intrigued and asked Alice if she thought she could make it as a figure model. After a Gowland test shoot, the answer was a resounding "yes"! Not long after, Peter photographed Gloria for the July 1962 issue of Cavalier magazine. After acquiring an agent, Gloria went on to model for many of the leading glamour photographers of the day (Ron Vogel, Phil Jacobson, and Sam Wu) and appeared in many of the men's magazines throughout the early 1960s. She was also featured in the Peter Gowland book Peter Gowland Photographs the Figure (1962) and Figure Quarterly, Spring 1965 (The Nudes of Peter Gowland).
It was just a few years ago that Gloria decided to search for as many of her magazine appearances as possible and do some writing about her experiences as a glamour model. Having been born in Canada, Gloria returned there after she retired from modeling.
Gloria has recently been featured in several of Dian Hanson's books about men's magazines and glamour photography, including:
The History of Men's Magazines, Vol. 4, 2005, pages 63 and 155
The Big Book of Legs by Dian Hanson, 2008, page 321 (misidentified as “Susan Norman”)
The Big Butt Book by Dian Hanson, 2010, pages 18, 110, and 128-129, identified as “Gloria Dawn.”
To view her amazing gallery of photos from the early 60s and order an autographed photo from her, please take a little excursion to the following website: http://gloriadawn.wordpress.com/ Once you see her angelic, expressive face and amazing body, I know you'll want to order some of her classic glamour photos.
June Wilkinson - A beautiful "British import" who came to the attention of the American male in Sept. of 1958, when she was first introduced in Playboy as "The Bosom". She was already a well known glamour model in Britain when she came to the U.S. for a week in hopes of getting noticed. Well, it worked, as she had gained the attention of Hugh Hefner, and the rest, as they say, is history. She would be featured in Playboy several more times between 1958 and 1962, and photos of her are also regularly featured in special anniversary issues of the magazine.
June became a model who was much in demand for a great many glamour photographers profiled on this site. She was captured by the likes of Andre de Dienes, Sam Wu, Russ Meyer, and Earl Leaf and appeared in many mens magazines throughout the late 50s and early to mid 60s, as well as in some of the books that her photographers authored. You can find several of June's photos in Sam Wu's Photo Study Techniques (1960) and Andre de Dienes' Figure Photo Techniques (1963) and Famous Figure Photos (1966). While Sam Wu tended to highlight her buxom figure in his photos, Andre de Dienes seemed to downplay it and focused more on her beautiful smile and general playfulness. I have to say that my favorite photos of June are when she's sporting that gorgeous smile!
June took her glamour fame and quickly parlayed it into a motion picture career, appearing in the 1959 film Career Girl, 1960's Macumba Love and 1961's Twist All Night. With show business in her blood, June kept busy throughout the 60s and 70s appearing in plays, dinner theater and nightclubs. In Jan. of 1968, she appeared in the Batman episode Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club, as the beautiful henchwoman Evelina.
In more recent years, June has hosted the Encore cable show The Directors in which she interviewed filmmakers.
To read more about June and what she's up to these days, have a look at her impressive website www.junewilkinson.com and order a photograph or two from her. You might also like to read an interesting 2004 interview with June that was conducted by... Java's Bachelor Pad
Reagan Wilson - Playboy's Miss October 1967, Reagan Wilson, grew up in Missoula Montana and while spending a summer in Los Angeles she was discovered by an agent. She was soon busy working as an actress and model and enjoying the exciting night life of the big city. Reagan's striking good looks and amazingly voluptuous body made her a natural candidate to become a Playboy Playmate of the Month.
Glamour photographer Ron Vogel photographed Reagan in and around his home, at her job at a public relations firm and also on the set of the popular TV western The Big Valley, where she was portraying a dance-hall girl in the second season episode "The Lady from Mesa", (original airdate: April 3, 1967). The pictorial that Vogel shot was selected to appear in the October 1967 issue of Playboy, which introduced Reagan to a worldwide audience.
Not too long after appearing in Playboy, Reagan modeled for Peter and Alice Gowland and seven photos of her were published in Peter Gowland's Famous Figure Photos (1969) and one color image was included in Gowland's Guide to Glamour Photography (1972). Of her experiences working with Peter and Alice, Reagan says: "Peter was a polite, pleasant and methodical man who really made the model feel relaxed, which, along with his technical expertise, made his work so great. He and Alice were so close and lived in a lovely home in Pacific Palisades with a garden overgrown with plants and flowers. I loved going there. He wasn't an ego driven person like so many photographers. He was all about the art of his work.".
On a historic note, one of Reagan's Playboy photos went to the moon in November of 1969. As a joke, NASA ground staff hid a small nude photo of her (along with fellow playmates Angela Dorian, Cynthia Myers and Leslie Bianchini) inside the schedule of Apollo 12's mission commander, Pete Conrad. In the mid 90s, Reagan finally got to meet Pete Conrad in person and presented him with a larger signed copy of the photo that had been to the moon.
Along with other Playmates of the 1960s, Reagan was a popular pin-up girl for the boys in Vietnam and she had the opportunity to visit with many wounded soldiers while on Playmate promotional tours. Below: An excerpt from E!'s Playmates of the 1960s which features Reagan Wilson.
Reagan has attended several Glamourcons, and if you're like me and can't afford to travel halfway across the country to a Glamourcon to buy an autographed photo from her, you can save your travel expenses and order a photo by simply visiting her website at www.reaganwilson.com