Dorian Leigh, who combined pristine blue eyes, curling eyelashes, an arresting intelligence and intoxicating sexuality to become one of historyâ€™s most photographed models â€” perhaps the first to truly merit the adjective super â€” died Monday in Falls Church, Va. She was 91.
The death was announced by her grandson Thibaut Dubois.
Ms. Leigh graced seven Vogue covers in 1946, according to a New Yorker magazine article of the time, and in the next six years appeared on more than 50 more covers of various magazines, Playbill reported.
Her images in Revlonâ€™s â€œFire and Iceâ€ nail polish and lipstick campaign in the 1950s â€” â€œFor you who love to flirt with fire …who dare to skate on thin iceâ€ â€” were shot by Richard Avedon and became Madison Avenue legend.
â€œDorian was truly the best model of our time,â€ Eileen Ford, the doyenne of the modeling agency industry, said in an interview with The Roanoke Times in 1997. â€œShe instinctively knew what every photographer wanted, and she came alive just at the moment the shutter clicked.â€
Cecil Beaton wrote in his book â€œPhotobiographyâ€ (1951) that Ms. Leigh was as demanding as the eminent photographers who shot her, including Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Irving Penn.
He said she could convey many moods, including â€œthe sweetness of an 18-century pastel, the allure of a Sargent portrait, of the poignancy of some unfortunate woman who sat for Modigliani.â€
Ms. Leighâ€™s mystique was enhanced by her many romances, which included five marriages â€” counting the one in Mexico to a Spanish marquis who turned out to be already married. There were also the many real or imagined affairs with famous writers, musicians and photographers, eagerly tabulated by gossip columnists. Ms. Leigh was definitely attractive, standing 5 feet 5 inches, with an hourglass figure and an alluring smile.
source: Dorian Leigh, Multifaceted Cover Girl of the â€™40s, Dies at 91 [ny times]