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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ann Blyth as Lady Liberty

Ann Blyth posed as the Statue of Liberty certainly fits the theme of America's Independence Day celebrations this week.  

We've recently looked at candid publicity photos taken by her home studio, Universal, showing Ann at home, but this photo above represents another part of the publicity chore: innumerable photo sessions in the studio with the actor or actress posed in any number of whimsical scenarios.  One of the most popular, or notorious, were the holiday-themed shots.

Teresa Wright, as we mentioned at my Another Old Movie Blog, famously put in her contract that she refused to do any silly photos with Easter bunnies, Thanksgiving Turkeys, or 4th of July rockets.  While Ann Blyth was cooperative with her studio, she, for her part, declined to do "cheesecake" photos, which seemed to be enormously popular with the studio photographers.  Ray Jones was head of the stills department at Universal.  From my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

There were three dressing rooms in his studio where the stars were prepared for their photo shoots: for body makeup, for face and hair, and for clothes.  Grips worked under Jones’ direction to set the lights and enormous 8 x 10 view camera.

Ann Blyth recalled for the author that photo sessions usually lasted all day, and along with other stars, complimented Ray Jones on his ability to put his subjects at ease, to inspire their confidence.  They were placing their image, and whatever insecurity or doubtfulness they brought with them to the photo shoot, in his capable hands.

Jones remarked in a 1952 interview about photographing starlets:

“Of the current crop, Ann Blyth has the most perfect face to photograph.  She also has one of the best figures, but she won’t let me do cheesecake of her.”

Indeed, we might note of the photo above that Ann's picture as Lady Liberty is certainly not cheesecake, but more interestingly, beyond holding the famous position of the statue, she appears to be deeply focused in the moment of the representation.  She's not just posing; she's acting.

The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on, and on Amazon and iTunes.

Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.

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