Monday, July 7, 2008


Dovima in 'Funny Face' (1957)

This weekend I was watching 'Funny Face' and was reminded of the model Dovima who plays a bit part as a flighty absent-minded model. She really was THE super model of the 1950s (along with Suzy Parker and Dorian Leigh) and had a few bit parts in movies. Her role in Funny Face was a bit true-to-life apparently according to blondeen:
Dovima loved comic books, a trait she shared with the character Marion she portrayed in Funny Face. There is a story concerning a location shoot she did with Avedon in Egypt. After arriving, someone asked her what she thought of Africa. To which she replied, "Africa? Who said anything about Africa? This is Egypt." When they explained that Egypt was in Africa, Dovima replied, "I should have charged double rate!" On the same shoot, she brought along a large trunk that Avedon assumed was filled with clothes. When he asked Dovima about the trunk, she told him they were her books. He felt he couldn't separate the girl from her books so they lugged them across the desert only to find out they were her comic books. 'Dovima with elephants' by Avedon in a Dior gown
She was known for her dramatic eye makeup:wearing it even while not working, even at the beach!
She really was an elegant woman and is in many of the most glamorous and well-known photographs from the time period. However her life was far from perfect. She suffered from her fame; not knowing who she was and many relationship problems. As white-haired model Carmen dell'Orefice (who is STILL modeling!!) remembers: "Sadly she could only be with men who beat her. I'd find her on my doorstep black and blue, and I'd take her in and she'd live with me."
Dovima by Avedon
Suzie Parker and Dovima

Sadly, she lost custody of her only child to her 2nd husband in a bitter divorce after 'kidnapping' her away from him. She never saw her daughter Alison again and couldn't support herself with her failed acting career in LA. She moved to Florida to live with her parents and lived there till she passed in 1990.

Read more about Dovima ONLINE or at Blondeen's DOVIMA headquarters.


Toby Worthington said...

Poor Dovima.
There was rather more to her than comic books and malapropisms.
The magazine Interview did a piece on her when she was working, apparently happily, as a waitress in Florida. Here was a woman who graced every other magazine cover in the '50s, now slinging hash. It sounds like cheap fiction, but that is true of much of life.

Be the change..... said...

Yes, toby, I was surprised to read her life was so dramtic! Like many models, I just assumed she would have married well, retired and had an easy life!

The Peak of Chic said...

Well this was an eye-opener BTC! I had no idea Dovima had such a sad life.

Be the change..... said...

I didn't either, PoC! The internet is a wonderful thing!

Cote de Texas said...

How sad! Reminds me of that model that got AIDS and died - the one that A. Jolie played in the movie (blanking on her name)

Hi Toby!!!!

I was wondering where you were - why you didn't comment on my architectural abortions! I thought of you the whole time I was writing it - well, ok, not the WHOLE time, but maybe 1/2 the time! hahaha!!!

love your comment! oh ! and one of the "good" architects phoned me to hire me to oonsult on finishes and things! whoa!!!!!

Be the change..... said...

Oh joni, thats fantastic! Be sure to let the architect know that you are now an HONORARY architect yourself! That should drive up your hourly rate ;-)

Carolina Eclectic said...

Wow, I didn't know any of this. I remember her so well from Funny Face. I would have never imagined such a dramatic life.

Be the change..... said...

Her life would make a good movie, CE!

Anonymous said...

gigi i belive

GetUnconscious said...

It was actually Gia...All great models have tragedy and drama in their lives...