Wednesday, 14 October 2009

yesterday's muse #11 - Wilhelmina Cooper

Wilhelmina Behmenburg, known professionally as "Wilhelmina" and as "Willy" to friends, was born in the Netherlands in 1939. she and her family moved to America in 1954, where she would become one of the most famous models of the 1950s and 60s. during her modeling career, Wilhelmina graced the cover of somewhere in the ballpark of 255 magazines.

in 1965 she married Bruce Cooper, former executive producer of The Tonight Show, and in 1967 the couple founded Wilhelmina Models, now one of the largest and most successful model management companies in the world.

you may also be familiar with the film Gia (1998), in which Faye Dunaway portrays Cooper. Cooper discovered the young supermodel Gia Carangi (played in the film by Angelina Jolie), who died of AIDS.

Cooper continued to run the modeling agency into the late 1970s until her death at the age of 40 from lung cancer.


Meaghan Kelly said...

what a beauty!

Anonymous said...

Tragic. What a beautiful woman

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Willy recruited me for her agency in the early 70's. She was as smart as she was beautiful! She always had a cigarette hanging from her lips as well as several burning in her ashtray when you were in her office. Willy could make or break you in the industry just by a nod of the head...I adored her!