Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sharon's friend, Donyale Luna & More

Yesterday we learned about the great African American model Donyale Luna and some of the discrimination she faced during the sixties.  Here is more about this unique and unforgettable lady:

Donyale Luna sporting colored contact lenses which she did on occasion for fashion magazines and such.

Long before Iman, Naomi, or Tyra ever set a stiletto on the catwalk, Donyale Luna was strutting her way across the globe. Born Peggy Anne Freeman, Luna grew up in Detroit, where her home life was far from idyllic (her father was murdered when she was 18). The following year, photographer David McCabe spotted the lithesome beauty on the street, and it wasn't long before she was pursuing modeling in New York City. Her arrival in 1964 had magazine editors and designers competing to book the singular-looking teen.

"Back in Detroit I wasn't considered beautiful or anything, but here I'm different," Luna explained of her success. "They were looking for a new kind of model, a girl who is beautiful like you've never seen before." With her spellbinding features, ultramarine contact lenses, and seemingly endless limbs (she was 6' 2"), she certainly fit the bill. And at the height of her career, she charged a hefty day rate of $60 because, as she succinctly put it, "Being what I am, I can get what I ask."

Another image from the "Rosemary's Baby" premiere in France with Peter Sellars, Mia Farrow, boyfriend Iain Quarrier and Sharon Tate.

As much a child of the sixties as the face of it, Luna spent her off-hours partying at Andy Warhol's Factory and canoodling with the likes of Rolling Stones rocker Brian Jones and sometime paramour Klaus Kinski. Her nightlife pursuits took their toll on both her career and her health, and on May 17, 1979, she was pronounced dead from a drug overdose at a clinic in Rome. But not before her beauty was immortalized in Fellini's Satyricon, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, and several of Warhol's films, as well as in the pages of Paris Match, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue.-- By Evelyn Crowley

For more biography on her life please check out these two sites that include more photographs as well:
Luna, as we have stated before, suffered from racial prejudice.  Here is another short article mentioning her when she encountered this when she was with friends:
Photoplay February 1969
4 : 00 am Breakfast Incident by Steve Brandt
If you've read anything about our 4 : 00 am breakfast caper, let me give you the facts before they're distorted
any more (which seems highly improbable judging by some of the reports I've read !) MIA FARROW, myself, DONYALE LUNA (a beautiful six foot Negro model who soon makes her film debut in OTTO PREMINGER'S "Skidoo"), Luna's beau, producer IAIN QUARRIER and DONALD CAMMELL (he just directed the new MICK JAGGER film "Performance") decided to top off our evening of disco-dancing with a late breakfast. Having been there before, Iain suggested The Cavendish, a hotel which had an all-night restaurant. We arrived and entered, everyone was seated at the table, and then Donyale (who'd been primping in the ladies' room) made her entrance. At this point, one of the staff approached our table and advised us we couldn't be served. "Why not ?" we queried. We were then told it was because none of the men were wearing ties. It was at this point one of us noted, of the four occupied tables in the restaurant, at least two tables were comprised of men not wearing ties. We pointed this fact out to a grumpy middle-aged manageress who then said, "No reason, I just want you out of here!"

It was obvious to all of us because a Negro woman was seated with us, we were being asked to leave. Even a very self-conscious Miss Luna blurted, "Why, is it because I am colored?" The manageress then walked away. Within 10 minutes, four policeman came running in and advised us we had to leave. Right or wrong, they added, it was the hotel's perogative to refuse service to whomever they wished. "But we just wanted to know why?" Mia chimed in. The police themselves admitted, no reason was given. "Well, then, we'll sit here until we get an explanation." I figured I might as well get in on the issue.

A few seconds flew by and two waiters grabbed Iain and started pulling him out of his seat. Iain fought back and then the police joined in. Before we knew it, six men were on top of Quarrier, with Mia and Donyale screaming "Leave him alone," as they tried to help him out. Both slender ladies were pushed clear across the room ! Next we learned Iain was being arrested for "obstructing justice." Mia announced, "If you're taking him, we're coming too !" and we all traipsed down to the police station. After waiting an hour (in a cold room) Quarrier was released.

Both Mia and I stayed on in London, just to give testimony at his hearing. Though we protested, Iain was found guilty. Although he was only fined $20 (after all the headlines there), the principle of the incident still bothered all of us. As we left the court, people ran up and said "We believed you...we're on your side...take it to a higher court." We decided not to take it to a higher court, instead, La Luna reported the incident to the
Racial Discrimination Board. And that, as they say, is that. I rest my case."

No wonder Luna didn't want to discuss her true heritage...

Another blog shows off classy nude Sharon Tate Christmas photos:

Yes I know they are actually from The Fearless Vampire Killers but they do look Christmassy this time of the year.

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