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Betty Brosmer: Highest-Paid Supermodel of the 1950s

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Betty Brosmer

Betty Brosmer

Betty Brosmer was the top paid model during the 1950s. It is said she had one of the world's greatest hourglass figures: 38-18-36 (inches). Brosmer appeared in thousands of magazines. She was featured on full-page advertisements as well as in large national publications such as Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Fortune, and many others. Brosmer was on several music album covers as well as hundreds of calendars. Her image was seen on billboards in Time Square and billboards around the country. She was also featured in almost every men's magazine during the 1950s. Brosmer was the first model to get residuals each time her image was published, and she was the first model to own the rights to many of her photos and negatives.

Early Years

On August 2, 1935, Betty Chloe Brosmer was born in Pasadena, California. Her father was Andrew Brosmer, and her mother was Vendla Alveria Pippenger. Her parents moved to Carmel, California, where she spent most of her early childhood. Starting at the age of 10, Brosmer lived in Los Angeles. She had a naturally slight and small frame. Right before she became a teenager, Brosmer was busy with personal bodybuilding and had a routine of weight training. Her father was a big sports fan. As she was growing up, Brosmer excelled at youth athletics.

Big Break

When Brosmer was 13 years old, a photo of her was published in a catalog put out by Sears & Roebuck. The year after this happened, she went to New York City with her aunt. While there, Brosmer posed for pictures at a professional photographic studio. One of the photographs from this picture shoot was sold to Emerson Television. It was used for commercial advertising. The photograph of a teenage Brosmer was widely used for promotional pieces. It would be printed in various national magazines for many years.

Betty Brosmer on magazine cover

Betty Brosmer on magazine cover

Modeling Career

After Brosmer returned to Los Angeles from New York, she was soon approached by Earl Moran and Alberto Vargas. They were known as the two most successful pin-up artists of their time. Brosmer was encouraged to go back to New York City with her aunt. She did this and the two started living in New York City. Brosmer was busy building an impressive modeling photography portfolio while being a student at Manhattan's George Washington High School. Brosmer said when she was 15, they would make her appear to be 25 years old. During the next four years, she was steadily employed as a commercial model. She was on the cover of many pulp magazines as well as crime and romance magazines, and books. She posed for Christian Dior in 1954. She appeared on TV Guide after winning the “Miss Television'' beauty contest. She also appeared on such popular programs as the Jackie Gleason Show, Steve Allen Show, and the Milton Berle Show. By the time Brosmer was 18, she was so well-known that when she left New York to return to Los Angeles, it was written about by the celebrity columnist Walter Winchel.

Betty Brosmer

Betty Brosmer

California

After returning to California, Brosmer continued working in fashion and doing commercial modeling. She was able to balance her work with education. She was a student at UCLA majoring in psychology. Brosmer graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree. During this time, she was approached by Keith Bernard who was a glamor photographer. She signed a contract with him and got steady modeling work from him for several years.

Playboy Fiasco

Playboy Magazine approached Brosmer about doing an exclusive pictorial. The photo shoot was scheduled to take place in Beverly Hills. The pictures that resulted from the photo shoot were rejected. Brosmer refused to pose in the nude. Because of this Playboy threatened to file a lawsuit against Brosmer for breach of contract. The company eventually backed away from the lawsuit. The pictures taken during the Playboy photo shoot were published in an anthology from Escapade Magazine.

Joe Weider

Joe Weider

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Marriage

Joe Weider published a bodybuilding magazine and was a bodybuilding enthusiast. He was in contact with Keith Bernard who provided fitness models for publications. Weider learned about Brosmer when he wanted a model for a layout in his magazine. Brosmer appeared in the layout in 1956 in Figure & Beauty Magazine. After this experience, Brosmer was Weider's favorite model. He would regularly choose Brosmer for modeling work among all the submissions provided to him. Brosmer and Weider met in person for the first time in 1959. The two developed a close relationship and were married on April 24, 1961. They would remain married for more than fifty years. Joe Weider passed away when he was 93 in 2013.

Joe Weider and Betty Brosmer wedding day

Joe Weider and Betty Brosmer wedding day

Writer and Editor

Brosmer was a regular contributing writer to Muscle and Fitness Magazine. She wrote for the publication under her married name of Betty Weider for more than three decades. As Brosmer developed her writing skills, she started writing monthly columns in magazines. They were called “Health by Betty” and “Body by Betty.” Brosmer was also an associate editor of Shape Magazine.

Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture

Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture

Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture

Brosmer and her husband donated $1 million to the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. This donation was given to provide funds for their physical culture collection. This was a permanent exhibition that is known as the Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture. In August 2011, the 10,000 square foot gallery space was made available for viewing by the public.

Sources

Healthy Celebrity

Celebs Ages

Beauty Around

A.G. Nautacouture

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