Sunday, 6 September 2009

Centrefold Venus of the Month 4: September - Evelyn Treacher

First US Penthouse Centrefold

Forty years ago this month Penthouse launched in the United States (in fact, if it's anything like now, the magazine would have been on sale in August but it was dated September).

Evelyn was, like so many of the early Pets (the Magazine originally launched in the UK in 1965), British and had, according to the text attached to the pictorial, been what was at that time referred to as an air hostess.
Evelyn went on to be the very first US Edition Penthouse Pet of the Year. A very apparent 36-23-36 (look at that hip/waist ratio!) and 5'7" Evelyn was photographed in Nassau, Bahamas by Philip O Stearns.

Philip Olcott Stearns was an American photographer who was born in Detroit in February 1917. The rather patrician Stearns attended the private Brooks School, in North Andover Massachusets, and then Princeton, where he was a successful rower. It was during his time at Princeton that he developed an interest in sculpting. He graduated with a degree in art and archaeology. During World War 2 he was based in the UK as a Captain in in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services; the precursor of the CIA) working with the French Resistance for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was a great collector of model soldiers and was also very involved in the early days of The Sealed Knot; the English Civil War re-enactment organisation.

Betty di Bugnano photgraphed by Stearns for February 1955

He took the photographs for many books on model soldiers and even wrote his own: How to Make Model Soldiers (1974). Along with this interest he was a top photographer; taking this cover picture for Sports Illustrated in the 1950s, for example.

Another of his books Six Nymphets (1966), is more appropriate to the work he did for Penthouse and, indeed, many other mens' magazines in London, where he lived in a lavish flat in Mayfair. In addition to being a photographer Stearns was the Photographic Director of Penthouse. After he left Penthouse he went on to be editor of miltary history magazine Campaign. He died in February 2000, two days past his 83rd birthday, in Vermont. Interestingly, his death notice (paid for by his family) mentioned his interest in military miniatures and historical societies but didn't mention his photography at all!

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