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Betty Grable Pin-Up

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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.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 18, 2009 at 9:13 am

Posted in Culture, War

Tagged with ,

19 Responses

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  1. […] Betty Garble Pin-Up « Iconic Photos […]

  2. Interesting post. But just a heads up; her last name was Grable, not Garble.


    June 15, 2009 at 7:41 am

  3. 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….

    Richard Ransom Beman

    April 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  4. […] 4, Episode 4, Lisa the Beauty Queen has the most references. Bart strikes a Betty Grable pose as he teaches his sister how to win a beauty contest. When the tournament winner was eventually […]

  5. the best beauty queens are coming from south america, i really love latinas ~'”

    Basin Taps

    November 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm

  6. i like cheese


    March 22, 2011 at 1:25 am

  7. […] 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, […]

  8. […] his voice. “Like Betty Grable’s legs?” he replied, referring to the World War II pinup queen whose famously gorgeous gams were indemnified for $1 million. “Maybe it would behoove me. […]

  9. […] a bathing suit-clad Grable with her back to the camera, looking over her shoulder and smiling. This photo was reportedly owned by one of every five American servicemen including Hugh Hefner, who later […]

  10. Thanks for finally talking about >Betty Grable Pin-Up | Iconic Photos <Liked it!

    • 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.

      Ness Gray

      February 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm

  11. […] a horse is Don Ameche, who invented the telephone in 1939.  Betty Grable was perhaps best known as America’s secret weapon during […]

  12. […] a horse is Don Ameche, who invented the telephone in 1939.  Betty Grable was perhaps best known as America’s secret weapon during […]

  13. I would like to use this photo in a layout for a book about my Uncles’s World War II experiences.
    To whom do I appeal to get permission to reprint the Pin-up

    Verla Chaddick

    February 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm

  14. […] feel pressured to shave their armpits until a 1915 Harper’s Bazaar ad or their legs until Betty Grable’s 1943 pin-up pose. Grooming companies could now double their products by marketing to women. Fast-forward to 2015 and […]

  15. […] Landry in 1941 when she was 23, and during WWII this image was second in popularity only to the image of Betty Grable in swimsuit and heels. This picture, taken in early 1943 by Frank Powolny when Grable was 26, was […]

  16. […] We’re sure it wasn’t awkward at all that a picture of his ex-wife in a swimsuit could be found in the bunk of literally 20% of ALL SERVICEMEN. […]

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