Vikki Dougan on How She Became ‘The Back’

After successful a number of magnificence pageants together with Miss Coney Island and the eighth annual New York Skate Queen contest, she started modeling as an adolescent. The first agent she spoke with favored her photos however instructed her to alter her identify. She selected Vikki as a homage to the actress Vickie Lester; Dougan was her mom’s maiden identify.

In 1953, she appeared on the duvet of Life journal as a part of a narrative on working moms, together with her Three-year-old daughter, Deirdre, the product of a quick marriage at age 19.

She was signed as a mannequin by Eileen Ford and appeared in advertisements for Maybelline, Cutex and Charmin, and was on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen and Collier’s journal, along with plenty of different extra lowbrow titles, like Modern Romance. She made upward of $100 an hour working as a mannequin, she stated, however all the time harbored desires of performing. She took lessons with world-class coaches like Stella Adler and Eric Morris, and appeared as an announcer on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”

Ms. Dougan stated she was supplied a contract by Paramount however declined as a result of it was not sufficient cash. “They offered me for a week what I was making in an hour as a model.” Instead, she signed with Batjac, a transfer she got here to remorse. “I should have just signed with Paramount because at least they were making movies.”

She spent the whole lot of 1957 attending film premieres and setting the tabloids on fireplace however wasn’t known as for any auditions. She stated the agent who signed her to William Morris Talent Agency, Phil Kellogg, forgot her contract in a desk, which is why she was by no means despatched any scripts. After voicing her displeasure about not working to Batjac, “they offered to put me in a movie with one line, but I said, ‘Forget it.’”

Ms. Dougan’s temporary time in Hollywood was marred by plenty of unwelcome overtures from well-known males, which she routinely rebuffed. Jerry Lewis, whom she describes as “a very big deal,” as soon as known as her into his workplace to learn for an element. The script by no means arrived, however a bucket of champagne on ice did. Sensing the route the interview was moving into, Ms. Dougan made up an excuse about having one other appointment to get to. “He had something entirely different on his mind,” she stated.

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