It’s odd to go on line and see websites claiming to have nude pictures of Julie Newmar. Let me comment: I have never posed nude. I always had something on . . . shoes, stockings, whatever. Or rather, I don’t recall posing nude because I didn’t want to be in men’s magazines. After all, I was a serious artist, a dancer, singer. Nevertheless, there it was, a mostly nude, pre-blonde picture of me.
There were many pictures taken by various photographers assigned by publicists of my Broadway shows, some appearing on page 5 of the New York Post—producers have to make money. I remember self-consciously thinking some future day I might want to see what I looked like, unattired. The concept, a kind of going-to-war Kissinger duplicity, stayed in my head. The disappearing clothing was the stratagem of certain resourceful photographers like Bert Stern, Richard Avedon (Nureyev in the altogether, Avedon The Sixties.) But that’s another story, which might go into a book I’m writing. It just doesn’t seem so shocking nowadays. Does everyone agree?
Then I noticed five or six spots on the photograph. I asked Pablo Milberg of www.StormFlower.com, who designed my two new websites, to remove these tiddly offenses with PhotoShop, a fascinating process. Seen through magnification are tiny pixels. Drag a light spot over the dark spot and “poof”, it’s gone. Result: a clean picture.
So now there’s a more acceptable but still nearly nude picture of Julie Newmar. What to do? Actually, I had not seen this photograph by Peter Basch, a New York celebrity glamour photographer, before. As a brunette, what notoriety I had achieved thus far, other than being one of the brides in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” was as “Stupefyin’ Jones” in the musical “Li’l Abner”. It seems there was a cussed character by the name of Available Jones who had a “secret weapon”—me—hiding in a portable shower that he would pull on stage, and for a fee, good old hard cash, announce: “She . . . was guaranteed to stop any red-blooded American male in his tracks.”
All these shenanigans were a fistful of fun at the St. James theatre on 44th Street, and not a word did I speak. That was in my early twenties. Then my brother John from Harvard introduced me to politics, The Chicago Seven, Lenny Bruce, and all that noise. I was thrilled to hear anyone like Mort Sahl, Izzy Stone, and Lenny . . . Oh, Lenny! I physically fell off my seat laughing so hard at what felt like the most explosive truths ever spoken during those repressed early days of the war in Viet Nam. Another time, I remember my brother and me jumping up and down on the bed which I kept in the middle of the floor at my Los Angeles duplex on Harper, when Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek a new term as President. All the while our parents were sitting in numbed silence off to the side. How many times have you screamed at the TV when some prevaricating politician lied for the sake of protecting his fellow conspirators, those devious buzzards, as they in turn were scamming the public with their most up-to-date war games.
Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul, Jimmy Breslin are my heroes today. They say it like it is. They are brave men. These are the intellectuals, these are the passionate men. They arouse me. I salute them.