If Looks Could Kill: Miss Hollywood, Sophia Loren And Jayne Mansfield

Sophia Loren was not the only woman to be upstaged by the extraordinary Mansfield body in 1957.

They say a picture paints a thousand words and in this case, we can only imagine how foul-mouthed those words might be. Imagine it – you’ve been crowned Miss Hollywood 1957, which for any aspiring starlet must’ve been quite the achievement with the possibility of attracting the attention of producers and directors and securing that all-important movie contract… and which movie star do they send you your celebratory photoshoot but Jayne Mansfield? How on Earth do you compete with that… with those?

This is a set of photos that bring up more questions than they can ever answer. The Miss Hollywood Pageant Association was launched in 1957, and so the young lady here is presumably the first winner. Perhaps she’s also the last, as there is little record of the event subsequently. And who is she? Well, the best that anyone has come up with so far is the name ‘Shirley’. Stardown, it seems, did not beckon. But these classic shots tell a dramatic story in themselves – the official ‘all smiles’ hug shown above and then the more candid moments of dead-eyed hatred and resigned despair shown below as she stares at the ludicrously glamorous Mansfield, painfully aware that she probably looks like a total frump in comparison. In truth, Miss Hollywood looks like a fresh-faced beauty – but Jayne had glamour for miles.

Should there be anyone out there with more information about Miss Hollywood, please get in touch.

Shirley shouldn’t feel so bad. After all, Jayne Mansfield also managed the seemingly impossible by shocking and upstaging Sophia Loren – not exactly flat-chested or unglamorous herself – that same year at a party thrown in Loren’s honour to welcome her to Hollywood. Of course, Loren’s famous side-eye towards the Mansfield décolletage came with a Mona Lisa smile and as the full photo-set show, she was as much entertained and amazed as outraged, as well she might be when confronted with such a spectacle. As she told Entertainment Weekly in 2014:

“She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face, you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow – BOOM! – and spill all over the table.”

These are glorious images of a Hollywood long gone. Imagine movie stars like this now?

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One comment

  1. The Shirley of 1957 who comes to mind is Shirley Kilpatrick of The Astounding She Monster fame

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