Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sex Symbols That Should Have Been

As you know if you've read this blog long enough, I have a preoccupation with what I call "lost starlets" -- actresses who in my opinion had all the qualities and talent required to be big movie stars, but didn't become big stars because they had the misfortune to work in a time and place where there weren't any good parts for women. Mostly this applies to actresses in Hollywood in the '60s and early '70s, like Paula Prentiss, Stella Stevens, Pamela Tiffin, Marianna Hill -- you can find the list in the archives.

But there's another category of might-have-beens: actresses who could have been major sex symbols -- international pin-up girls on the level of Marilyn Monroe or Betty Grable or Farrah Fawcett -- and who didn't quite make it to that level. For example, I always thought Vanessa Angel, Lisa of the "Weird Science" TV show and the Farrelly Brothers movie Kingpin, was going to be a worldwide sex symbol; she could have been a Farrah for the ironic '90s -- a gorgeous woman with a slightly self-mocking, ironic undertone. But she kind of fell off the radar after Kingpin.

Another almost-Farrah was Heather Thomas, of the Lee Majors vehicle The Fall Guy. She was pretty much the entire reason to watch The Fall Guy (her and Markie Post), and she was not only beautiful but charming and somehow oddly human in a way that many wanna-be sex symbols are not. A lot of times when a show or movie is pushing a man or woman as a sex symbol, they'll wind up coming off as kind of pre-packaged and artificial, but Thomas actually came off as a real person who happened to be spectacular-looking; she certainly came off much better than the pre-packaged, artificial star of the show, Lee Majors. But nothing much came of her career after The Fall Guy went off the air. The only clip of her I could find on YouTube is some kind of music video with clips from a Fall Guy episode:

Who are some actors or actresses who you thought could have been world-famous sex symbols but didn't make it to that level?

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