a look at 101 swinging chicks of the swinging ’60s

Es­ti­mated reading time is 16 min­utes.

AT CHRISTMAS A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, I met my sister’s boyfriend Mark, who was two gen­er­a­tions younger than I was. Not un­der­standing what his tastes in any­thing were ex­cept that he liked good-looking women, my present to him was a book, Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s. It’s a col­lec­tion of photos and bi­ographies of 101 women fa­mous for their beauty decades ago.

The book is well written and au­thor Chris Strodder pro­vides lots of little-known de­tails about each woman’s life and ca­reer, in­cluding their ac­tiv­i­ties after their ’60s heyday. When Mark re­moved the gift wrap­ping, he stared at the cover. On it were photos of Goldie Hawn, Ann-Margret, Au­drey Hep­burn, Jane Fonda, and Twiggy.

These women meant next to nothing to a man his age; only Fonda re­mains a promi­nent Hol­ly­wood pres­ence and now in roles as an older woman who rarely at­tracts the at­ten­tion of young men. After Mark paged through the book and gave it more at­ten­tion than I ex­pected, he ob­served, “They don’t have big boobs, but they’re all gorgeous.”

Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s is a fun book where readers will see photos of 101 pretty faces and al­most as many beau­tiful bodies.

As someone who came of age in the 60s, I have al­ways seen these women as gor­geous. Back in the ’60s, whether they were well-endowed or hardly en­dowed had never meant much to me.

Even at the height of Playboy’s sales and Hugh Hefner’s in­flu­ence, the size of their “en­dow­ments” ap­par­ently hadn’t mat­tered to the other males of that time ei­ther: We dreamt of Jeannie, Mrs. Peel, and Agent 99 equally!

But Mark’s re­mark put a few things into per­spec­tive, pri­marily that “big boobs” are what sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans have grown up as­so­ci­ating as a ne­ces­sity to fe­male beauty and al­lure. That mam­moth mam­maries are often not a gift from God but the work of a tal­ented mortal seems ir­rel­e­vant to younger men.

Mark had come of age after it had be­come req­ui­site for fe­male celebri­ties to have en­hanced fig­ures and faces. It sur­prised him to see so many un­ques­tion­ably lovely women with the “normal” boobs that had been al­lotted them at birth!



Ac­cording to the pub­lish­er’s blurb, Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s is “an affection3ate tribute to the women who waged a cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion, this book of­fers photos, pro­files, and little-known de­tails of the lives of 101 defining divas of the decades.”

A few observations

Sev­eral of the swingin’ chicks did not come close to re­al­izing the promise they orig­i­nally showed back then. Sev­eral others reached heights few would have pre­dicted back then. Had anyone told me in, say, 1972, that twenty years later we would al­most unan­i­mously agree that Cher, Sally Field, Goldie Hawn, and Bar­bara Her­shey (woe­fully missing from Swingin’ Chicks) would be among Hollywood’s finest ac­tresses, I would have de­manded the name and number of their dope dealer!

Sev­eral of the women listed below be­long in a book about the ’60s but not nec­es­sarily in a book about what the term “swinging six­ties” con­jures to most of us. They would be those who achieved their ini­tial, if not their greatest, suc­cess in the ’50s (or even earlier). 

So, the list below in­cludes the thir­teen sec­tions from the book, each de­voted to a dif­ferent “type” of “girl.” I also used the same ti­tles for each sec­tion as those in the book.

Each sec­tion in­cludes a quote from the book, meaning they are Chris Strodder’s ob­ser­va­tions, not mine. I edited some of these quotes, so read the book to read the author’s com­plete statements.

Fi­nally, for the ac­tresses below, I listed a movie or tele­vi­sion se­ries that they starred in that is as­so­ci­ated with the ’60s.


DonnaLoren DrPepper calendar1966 600

Aside from making beach movies, Donna Loren was the Dr. Pepper girl from 1963 through 1968. She also re­leased a solo album (1965) and ap­peared on such pop­ular shows as Batman in 1966 and The Mon­kees in 1967. (Image: per­sonal collection)



The beach girls

“The fun, light-hearted side of the ’60s was best ex­pressed in the gentle, frothy waves of beach movies that rolled into drive-in the­aters across the country throughout the decade. The for­mula was simple: Let whole­some kids frolic on sunny sands, throw in a few splashy mu­sical num­bers, and voila, the au­di­ence is on Spring Break for an hour and a half.”

An­nette Fu­ni­cello (Beach Party)
Donna Loren (Beach Blanket Bingo)
Chris Noël (Beach Ball)
Deb­orah Walley (Gidget Goes Hawaiian)

For full frank­ness, the state­ment above should read, “Let whole­some middle-class white kids frolic on sunny sands.” Like most Hol­ly­wood movies and al­most all tele­vi­sion shows, most muscle beach blanket bingo movies were al­most com­pletely de­void of color.


HonorBlackman Goldfinger 1964 6002

Honor Blackman (top) was un­known to most Amer­ican film­goers when she was given the most ridicu­lous name of any Bond girl, Pussy Ga­lore. While there were many mem­o­rable mo­ments in Goldfinger (1964), Sean Con­nery’s pro­nun­ci­a­tion of her name was per­haps the slyest. Blackman had al­ready es­tab­lished her­self in the spy genre as Cathy Gale, the orig­inal fe­male foil to Patrick Macnee during the second and third sea­sons of the British tele­vi­sion se­ries (1962–1964).



The Bond beauties

“There were cer­tain re­quire­ments for ac­tresses who wanted to be Bond Bomb­shells. They had to be born out­side the US and pre­pared to die since grisly deaths often awaited them.”

Ur­sula An­dress (Dr. No)
Clau­dine Auger (Thun­der­ball)
Daniela Bianchi (From Russia With Love)
Jacque­line Bisset (Casino Royale)
Honor Blackman (Goldfinger)
Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger)
Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Se­cret Ser­vice)
Mie Hama (You Only Live Twice)

Most of the women in the 60s Bond movies were ef­fec­tively ex­pend­able (if lovely) props. Honor Blackman as Pussy Ga­lore was cer­tainly an exception—and Pussy Ga­lore should have been used as an on­going character—and Miss Mon­eypenny, ably played by Lois Maxwell.


Ann Margret KittenWithAWhip cat photo 600 crop

In 1962, Ann-Margret starred in Bye Bye Birdie, a ridicu­lous mu­sical based on Elvis’s in­duc­tion into the US Army. In 1963, she starred op­po­site the real thing in Viva Las Vegas. Al­though Elvis had played op­po­site some sexy ac­tresses, the screen siz­zled when he faced off with Ann-Margret. Im­me­di­ately after playing with Elvis, Ann-Margret starred in Kitten With A Whip. She played a psy­cho­pathic killer op­po­site vet­eran actor John Forsythe, then coming off of a five-year hitch as the star of the tele­vi­sion se­ries Bach­elor Fa­ther. For this movie, Ann posed for a se­ries of play­fully sex-kittenish pub­licity photos with this kitten. 



The Elvis girls

“Elvis Presley starred in twenty-seven movies during the 60s. This prodi­gious output de­manded an enor­mous bevy of beau­tiful ac­tresses for Elvis to chase, dance with, sing to, or rescue. With these won­derful women as al­lies, the King was takin’ care of busi­ness, indeed.”

Ann-Margret (Viva Las Vegas)
Yvonne Craig (Kissin’ Cousins)
Shelley Fabares (Girl Happy)
Anne Helm (Follow That Dream)
Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy)
Julie Par­rish (Par­adise, Hawaiian Style)
Priscilla Presley (mar­ried what’s-his-name)
Juliet Prowse (G.I. Blues)

In the bland-on-bland mu­si­cals that Elvis made in the’60s, he was al­lowed to slice a little sand with a pretty girl on the beach and even grab a back­woods baby by the hand. But he wasn’t al­lowed to ac­tu­ally, you know, “do it” with them. In that sense, the char­ac­ters he played in those movies were not so much in­no­cent as im­ma­ture, if not sex­less par­o­dies of adult human males. That changed in 1968 with Live A Little, Love A Little, where it was very ob­vious that he was sharing a bed with the very bed­d­able Michelle Carey.


MaryQuant Autobiography 600

Ac­cording to the pub­lisher, “Quant by Quant is the gay, out­ra­geous, wildly suc­cessful ca­reer of Mary Quant—Britain’s top de­signer of mod gear—from the opening her first shop in Lon­don’s swinging Chelsea dis­trict to the day when Sev­en­teen dis­cov­ered her way-out style and started her on the sky­rocket to suc­cess.” (Head­line Pub­lishing Group, 2011)



The look

“When people think fondly of the ’60s, it’s often the fun fash­ions they’re re­mem­bering. Never be­fore had such un­con­strained, un­con­ven­tional, un­abashed cre­ativity been ex­pressed so uniquely on the world’s fashion runways.”

Patti Boyd (model)
Anita Pal­len­berg (model)
Edie Sedg­wick (model)
Jean Shrimpton (model)
Twiggy (model)
Ver­uschka (model)
Vic­toria Vetri (model)
Mary Quant (fashion designer)

The “scene” in swingin’ London was much closer, much more in­ter­twined, than any scene in any Amer­ican city: Patti Boyd mar­ried George Har­rison, di­vorced him, and the mar­ried Eric Clapton. Anita Pal­len­berg hooked up with Brain Jones, dumped him, and then hooked up with Keith Richards.

Jeannie Shrimpton dated fashion and celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher David Bailey, who was the basis for the pho­tog­ra­pher in ultra-hip movie Blowup (1966). The lead was played by Ter­ence Stamp, Jan­nie’s next big affair.

Jean­nie’s sister Chrissie Shrimpton, was an­other top model—and should have been a part of the Swingin’ Chicks book—who was Mick Jag­ger’s steady be­fore he found Mar­i­anne Faithfull.


JaneFonda Barbarella hands on hips 600

In 1967, Jane Fonda made Hurry Sun­down and Bare­foot In The Park and a star was born, In 1968, she made Spirits Of The Dead and Bar­barella and that star was al­most snuffed out. The latter was a camp, soft-core-porn take on the soft-core-porn comic strip of the same title. Fonda sur­vived these two and re­bounded by making They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in 1969. She never had to look back after that.



The movie stars (all-Americans)

“Some glit­tering new screen stars emerged in the ’60s, bringing new at­ti­tudes, and fresh looks to Hol­ly­wood. On screen, women were stronger and more sexual than they’d ever been since the pre-Code ’30s.”

Car­roll Baker (Harlow)
Dyan Cannon (Bob & Carol & Red & Alice)

Angie Dick­inson (Ocean’s Eleven)
Faye Dun­away (Bonnie And Clyde)
Mia Farrow (Rose­mary’s Baby)
Jane Fonda (Bar­barella)
Linda Har­rison (Planet Of The Apes)
Tippi He­dren (The Birds)
Goldie Hawn (Rowan & Mar­t­in’s Laugh-In)
Janet Leigh (Psycho)
Shirley MacLaine (Irma La Douce)
Jayne Mans­field (A Guide For The Mar­ried Man)
Mar­ilyn Monroe (What’s there to say?)
Katherine Ross (The Grad­uate)
Stella Stevens (The Si­lencers)
Sharon Tate (The Valley Of The Dolls)
Mamie Van Doren (Sex Kit­tens Go To Col­lege)
Raquel Welch (Fan­tastic Voyage)
Tuesday Weld (Wild In The Country)
Na­talie Wood (West Side Story)
Jill St. John (Batman)

The pre-Code ’30s refers to the “brief era in the Amer­ican film in­dustry be­tween the wide­spread adop­tion of sound in pic­tures in 1929 and the en­force­ment of the Mo­tion Pic­ture Pro­duc­tion Code cen­sor­ship guide­lines, pop­u­larly known as the Hays Code, in mid-1934.” (Wikipedia)

These “racy” early movies were rarely shown on tele­vi­sion in the ’60s, so those of us growing up then were un­aware of them. This ig­no­rance of the past only height­ened the per­ceived daring of ’60s movies. This in­cluded the boundary-breaking sex­i­ness of some of the actresses.


JulieChristie MaddingCrowd photo 500

In 1967, Julie Christie starred with Ter­ence Stamp in Far From The Madding Crowd. The movie in­spired Ray Davies of the Kinks to write “Wa­terloo Sunset” where “Terry meets Julie, Wa­terloo Sta­tion, every Friday night. But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander, I stay at home at night.” This is con­sid­ered by many fans and critics to be one of the loveliest record­ings of the ’60s.



The movie stars (British Invasion)

“In April of ’66, a Time mag­a­zine cover story joy­ously crowned London the city of the decade. In the ’60s, all things Eng­lish were all things swingin’. The ac­tresses pro­filed here all burst from the British Isles in ex­citing, ex­u­berant ex­plo­sions of color and creativity.”

Jane Asher (Alfie)
Julie Christie (Dar­ling)
Vanessa Red­grave (A Man For All Sea­sons)
Eliz­a­beth Taylor (But­ter­field 8)

Strod­der’s state­ment that “all things Eng­lish were all things swingin’ ” only ap­plied after the Bea­tles and the in­va­sion of British beat groups in 1964. Prior to that, Eng­land couldn’t bribe an Amer­ican au­di­ence to buy a record by one of their pop stars or watch one of their movies—or, be­lieve it or not, Life On Mars and Downton Abbey lovers, any of their tele­vi­sion series!


CatherineDeneuve 1965 StTropez 600

In 1965, Roman Polan­ski’s Re­pul­sion was re­leased, in which Catherine Deneuve played a woman losing her sanity. That same year, she posed for this beau­tiful por­trait in St. Tropez for pho­tog­ra­pher Milton Greene.



The movie stars (les internationales)

“The great Eu­ro­pean auteurs—legendary film­makers like Fed­erico Fellini, Vit­torio de Sica, Fran­cois Truf­faut, In­gmar Bergman, and Roger Vadim—swept into the­aters. Along with these men came their pre­ferred ac­tresses [who] were often more sensual—and less dressed—than their Amer­ican counterparts.”

Brigitte Bardot (Con­tempt)
Ca­pucine (Walk On The Wild Side)
Claudia Car­di­nale ()
Catherine Deneuve (Re­pul­sion)
Anita Ek­berg (La Dolce Vita)
Olivia Hussey (Romeo And Juliet)
Au­drey Hep­burn (Break­fast At Tiffany’s)
Sophia Loren (Two Women)
Elke Sommer (A Shot In The Dark)

Ac­tu­ally, the the­aters that these Eu­ro­pean di­rec­tors swept into were what used to be called “art house” the­aters, of which there were very few in America in the ’60s out­side of a few large cities. I grew up in Wyoming Valley in North­eastern Penn­syl­vania. The pop­u­la­tion then was around 350,000 but we didn’t have a the­ater showing Eu­ro­pean films until new own­er­ship took over a small second-run the­ater in Wyoming in the mid-’70s (which is where I saw all of Lina Wert­muller’s movies).


IkeAndTinaTurner on stage 1964 500

Tina Turner has been big enough long enough that many people—including those in my age bracket—have for­gotten that she was largely un­known out­side of the R&B charts and the black touring cir­cuit until the early ’70s. The photo of a rather con­ser­v­a­tively dressed Tin was taken in 1964.



The songbirds

“The music of the ’60s was as varied as the fash­ions and just as rev­o­lu­tionary. The ’60s re­de­fined the form and func­tion of pop­ular music. The decade that gave us Dylan and Hen­drix and Bea­tles and Beach Boys also gave us re­mark­able fe­male artists.”

Petula Clark
Mar­i­anne Faithfull
Joey Heatherton
Janis Joplin
Michelle Phillips
Nancy Sinatra
Grace Slick
Dusty Springfield
Tina Turner

Too many missing to men­tion but I will nonethe­less men­tion Aretha Franklin and Jacquie DeShannon.


NichelleNichols Uhuru 600 crop

If you didn’t grow up in the ’60s, you prob­ably have no idea how non-integrated tele­vi­sion was at the time. Star Trek’s Lieu­tenant Uhura was one of the first black fe­male char­ac­ters who played a key role in an on­going dra­matic se­ries. Nichelle Nichols was the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of brains and beauty that al­lowed mil­lions of young males across America to have a crush on their first black ac­tress. Like fellow Star Trek ac­tors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Nichols was of­fered a recording con­tract be­cause of her new-found tele­vi­sion fame. Un­like Shatner and Nimoy, she could ac­tu­ally carry a tune!



The TV stars

“Though the ’60s didn’t sur­pass the ’50s in tele­vi­sion ex­cel­lence, at least the ’60s were pushing tele­vi­sion’s bound­aries. The TV ac­tresses pro­filed here were trail­blazers, bringing new kinds of char­ac­ters to the air­waves and helping us to see tele­vi­sion in brand new ways.”

Judy Carne (Rowan & Mar­t­in’s Laugh-In)
Di­a­hann Car­roll (Julia)
Donna Dou­glas (The Bev­erly Hill­bil­lies)
Patty Duke (The Patty Duke Show)
Bar­bara Eden (I Dream Of Jeannie)
Bar­bara Feldon (Get Smart)
Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad)
Sally Field (The Flying Nun)
Car­olyn Jones (The Ad­dams Family)
Tina Louise (Gilli­gan’s Is­land)
Eliz­a­beth Mont­gomery (Be­witched)
Mary Tyler Moore (The Dick Van Dyke Show)
Julie Newmar (Batman)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Melody Pat­terson (F Troop)
Pat Priest (The Mun­sters)
Inger Stevens (The Farmer’s Daughter)
Marlo Thomas (That Girl)
Dawn Wells (Gilli­gan’s Is­land)

De­spite the fond­ness we old farts have for our fa­vorite shows from the ’60s, few of them hold up as any­thing but nos­talgia and spring­boards for theses for so­ci­ology stu­dents. Even the quality of such well-regarded genre se­ries as The Twi­light Zone, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek was in­con­sis­tent and their rep­u­ta­tions are based on a few killer episodes in each season.


Jetsons comicbook 1966 500

When The Jet­sons de­buted on tele­vi­sion in 1962, I was 10 years old. De­spite Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s in­cluding these two list­ings, I don’t ever re­call having any kind of crush on any car­toon char­acter as a kid. But then, as an adult, there was Jes­sica Rabbit. (Image: per­sonal collection)



The TV stars (cartoon cuties)

“We couldn’t end a pre­sen­ta­tion of ’60s ac­tresses without men­tioning a coupla fic­tional TV trixies who gave us rea­sons to get up early on Sat­urday morning.”

Judy Jetson (The Jet­sons)
Veronica Lodge (The Archie Show)

Chris, yeah, we could have ended the pre­sen­ta­tion without men­tioning car­toon char­ac­ters. But if we’re going to, where’s Ann-Margrock? (On her, I might have had a crush.)


PeggyFleming SportsIllustrated 600

The Feb­ruary 19, 1968, issue of Sports Il­lus­trated fea­tured a cover story on Peggy Fleming. She was the 1968 Olympic Cham­pion in Ladies’ Sin­gles and a three-time World Cham­pion (1966–1968). She was also one of the first fe­male ath­letes to at­tract the at­ten­tion of us guys, ho nor­mally only paid at­ten­tion to other guys in sports. (Image: per­sonal collection).



The athletes

“Thanks to the sharp surge in TV sports cov­erage, ath­letic achieve­ments could be wit­nessed live all around the planet. After the ’60s, wom­en’s ath­letics were never the same again.”

Peggy Fleming (figure skating)
Cathy Rigby (gym­nast)

And I can use this entry as an ex­cuse to say con­grat­u­la­tions to US Women’s Soccer Team and their fourth World Cup win. Keep on keepin’ on and don’t take no guff from nobody!


AngelaCartwright LostInSpace 600

I don’t re­call having a crush on An­gela Cartwright in her role as Penny Robinson in Lost In Space. That’s prob­ably due to the fact that y the time the se­ries hit tele­vi­sion in 1965, I had dis­cov­ered real sci­ence fic­tion and thought that LIS was crappy sci­ence fic­tion. The only real sci­ence fic­tion on the glass teat back then were oc­ca­sional episodes of Outer Limits and Star Trek.



The young stars

“With the em­phasis on youth in the ’60s, it’s only nat­ural that young ac­tresses would achieve stardom. The girls shown here en­joyed long, full ca­reers be­fore they reached adulthood.”

An­gela Cartwright (Lost In Space)
Hayley Mills (The Parent Trap)
Sue Lyon (Lolita)

Where is Colleen Corby? Ar­guably Amer­i­ca’s first “su­per­model,” she did her first cover shoot in 1959 when she was 12 years old and was only 17 at the apex of her ca­reer in 1964 when the was the cover girl for Sev­en­teen mag­a­zine five times.


HelenGurleyBrown biography book 600

Gerri Hir­shey’s bi­og­raphy of Helen Gurley Brown is ti­tled Not Pretty Enough, a de­scrip­tion that should be ironic be­cause pret­ti­ness does not nec­es­sarily equal at­trac­tive­ness to mil­lions of men.



The guiding light

“Watching, com­menting, and guiding was Helen Gurney Brown. Many im­por­tant, mem­o­rable writers cham­pi­oned sexual lib­er­a­tion and wom­en’s rights in the ’60s, but none was as fun as Helen.”

Helen Gurley Brown

While Hugh Hefn­er’s ef­fect on the male cul­ture of America as the pub­lisher of Playboy for the past fifty years is rarely chal­lenged, it’s pos­sible that Brown’s in­flu­ence as editor-in-chief of Cos­mopolitan may be as great as Hef’s, it not as widely mentioned. 


ColleenCorby2 Ronstadt 500

Un­for­giv­ably over­looked in Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s was teenage su­per­model Colleen Corby. Al­though she is most often as­so­ci­ated with Sev­en­teen mag­a­zine, where she was a reg­ular cover girl, Colleen was all over teen fashion in the ’60s. Until Twiggy, she was prob­ably the best-known model in America. (I will ad­dress her ca­reer in a sep­a­rate article.)

Spring follows winter

The pe­riod known as “the six­ties” (1964–1972?) was a breath of much needed fresh air that cleared away the lin­gering stench of war and death and de­pri­va­tion. It was spring to a very long, dif­fi­cult winter. The col­orful movies and silly tele­vi­sion shows—most of which are em­i­nently for­get­table decades later, even by those of us who were glued to the tube at the time—showed us that the man-in-the-gray-suit of the ’50s was making room for a more col­orful, more dan­di­fied type of man.

Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s is a fun book; it is not a pro­found book. Readers will see photos of 101 pretty faces and al­most as many beau­tiful bodies. The bi­ogra­phies will awaken a few mem­o­ries and also in­form them of things about each chick did after their fif­teen min­utes of fame.

But it is not a pro­found look at any­thing of in­terest to so­ci­ol­o­gists or cul­tural historians—unless it’s to study why big boobs have be­come an ob­ses­sion in the United States since the heyday of these swinging chicks.

Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s is a fun book where readers will see photos of 101 pretty faces and al­most as many beau­tiful bodies. Click To Tweet

Supremes pose 1967 DFM 1500 1

FEA­TURED IMAGE: Con­spic­uous by their ab­sence in Swingin’ Chicks Of The ’60s are Diana Ross, Flo Bal­lard, and Mary Wilson, oth­er­wise known as the Supremes. The trio from Motor Town USA was as fab­u­lous to see as they were to hear and had a huge im­pact on the way young (if mostly black) Amer­ican women ap­peared at the time. The photo above fea­tures Diana Ross, Flo, and Mary looking, well, fab­u­lous some time in 1966 or 1967. (Photo found on the Last.FM website.)



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