Betty Grable: The Young Pinup Queen Who Helped Win Wars
By | December 16, 2019
Actress Betty Grable's 1943 back shot in a one-piece swimsuit, with that playful over-the-shoulder smile, is the gold standard of pinups. It's not the greatest or sexiest pinup of all time -- well, such judgments are in the eye of the beholder. But it was an image that captured imaginations of its day, and that was plastered on surfaces all over the world, and that became the undisputed most popular pinup image of World War II.
There were other sex symbols in the '40s (Rita Hayworth had a pretty well known poster of her own), and the '50s, '60s, and '70s had plenty of shapely icons of pulchritude. But it wasn't until 1976 that a pinup became as ubiquitous as Grable's had been -- that was Farrah Fawcett's famous red swimsuit poster.
War conceives many ugly stories, but every now and then, it gives birth to a gratifying juxtaposition. One such infamous contrast takes form in the shape of Betty Grable’s unforgettable legs. In the throes of a bloody conflict, even the smallest victories, like a pin-up of one of Hollywood’s leggiest starlets, can help the morale of troops fighting for the freedoms of Americans.
Betty Grable’s neverending limbs helped hundreds of thousands of enlisted men survive the horrifying realities of World War II. Grable’s “million-dollar legs” did more than offer a sliver of beauty in a terrible war but even served as credentials for proving a soldier’s allegiance. Here’s the story of World War II’s most famous pin-up girl.