Betty Grable Pin-Up


Smiling coyly over her shoulder in swimsuit and pumps was the actress Betty Grable, whose iconic image above became the number-one pin-up of the World War II. It was a photographic masterpiece by Frank Powolny, who emphasized Grable’s beautiful legs. Hers were the ideal legs according to hosiery specialists of the era [thigh (18.5″) calf (12″), and ankle (7.5″)]. Grable was noted for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and studio publicity widely dispersed photos featuring them. They were insured for a million dollars at the Lloyds of London. (Throughout the 40s, Grable was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood, receiving $300,000 a year.)

One in every five American servicemen during the war owned this picture of Betty Grable. It was, as LIFE magazine acknowledged, one of the photos that changed the world–not least because among the rowdy servicemen who owned the picture was one Hugh Hefner, who would later cite the pin-up as his inspiration behind Playboy.

19 thoughts on “Betty Grable Pin-Up

  1. I was told many years ago that the reason this famous picture was
    posed in this manner was due to the fact that she was in the early
    stages of pregnancy. The photographer noted that she was
    beginning to “show” and thought of a clever way of concealing
    the situation..What a wonderful outcome, it is probably the most
    famous “pin-up” picture ever….

  2. […] What happened? Though Hope doesn’t say so, what may have put the issue over the top was the famous WWII pinup of Betty Grable displaying her awesome gams. Showing off one’s legs became a patriotic act. That plus shorter skirts and sheer stockings, […]

    • I was a young girl then…I was encouraged to model at 14…used the same poses. I looked 18, took advantage of that & made some money. Now I a 82….people still say I look 20 yrs younger. Thanks Betty!!
      May you rest in peace.

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