(Ava Gardner in 1944 on the cover)
Hollywood Beach Beauties: Sea Sirens, Sun Goddesses, and Summer Style 1930-1970
By David Wills
Dey St., An Imprint of William Morrow
Just in time for summer, take a walk back in time and celebrate the Golden Age of Hollywood.
In Hollywood Beach Beauties, renowned independent curator and photographic preservationist David Wills presents a glamorous and nostalgic celebration of summer at the beach, captured in 150 stunning vintage photographs featuring beloved female celebrities, models, and starlets from the 1930s through the 1970s.
This collection commemorates the allure and joy of the sun, the sand, the ocean, and the fashions of endless summer with this sizzling collection of retro photographs of legendary stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Sharon Tate, Raquel Welch, Sophia Loren, Dorothy Dandridge, and Nancy Sinatra.
Hollywood Beach Beauties includes more than one-hundred vibrant color images of some of Hollywood’s most timeless stars lounging and playing at one of the most iconic settings: the beach.
Hollywood Beach Beauties highlights the sexy, carefree attitude of the summer, the elegant seaside couture, and the enchanting and alluring beauty of the female form. Included here are candid and stylish photographs of a bygone era of class and style.
There are essays prefacing each era, such as what Wills writes of the 1960s, “The sea, the shore, the sand – all things coastal – captured the attention and the time of the young and the tannable. Hawaii had become the fiftieth state of the United States and brought with it an oceanic state of mind. TV and movie companies crossed both oceans to explore a bit of island sorcery. Tahiti was the site of the location filming of Marlon Brando’s Mutiny on the Bounty (1962); Tarita became a one-movie wonder, and was Brando’s leading lady on and off the set. Ursula Andress, photographed by Bunny Yeager, undulated out of the Caribbean Sea, in a startling white bikini, her work uniform, to become the very first ‘Bond girl.’ In the Greek port city of Piraues, Melina Mercouri as Ilya, plied her trade, but ‘never on Sunday.’ Director John Huston gathered Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, and Sue Lyon to film The Night of the Iguana in 1964, on the western coast of Mexico. With Elizabeth Taylor along to keep an eye on Burton, the stars stirred the headlines, and in the process created out of the small unknown resort an international destination: Puerto Vallarta.
“A youth explosion seemed to be on the horizon when Where the Boys Are hit the big screen in 1960. The spring break beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, provided the backdrop, as they did five years later for Elvis Presley’s Girl Happy. Elvis had already begun his long streak of featherlight comedy-romances with songs, some of which set their slight stories by the sea. Blue Hawaii (1960) unfolds in Honolulu and Hanauma Bay, while Fun in Acapulco (1963) is exactly that; Clambake (1967) is a panoramic postcard, taking place all over the Florida coast: Miami, Biscayne Bay, Lighthouse Point, the Keys, even the Everglades. The bevy of Hollywood beach beauties paired with ‘The King’ included Paula Prentiss, Shelley Fabares, and Ursula Andress, fresh off Dr. No’s Bahama Isle.”
This is just the latest beautiful collection from Wills, who is also the author of the acclaimed photo compilations Vegas Gold, Hollywood in Kodachrome, Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis, and Audrey: The 60s.
Hollywood Beach Beauties is a stunning theme-driven compendium taps into nostalgia for the joys of summer that captures the dazzling beauty of the seaside and some of the most stylish stars of the big screen in a fresh, unique, and captivating way.
This is a treasure trove that will be appreciated by classic movie mavens, vintage photography enthusiasts, and pop culture aficionados.