The Portraits

Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine

Title
Blackglama: What Becomes a Legend Most?
Artist
Bill King, 1939 - 1987
Sitter
Shirley MacLaine, born 24 Apr 1934
Date
1977
Type
Print
Medium
Photolithographic halftone poster
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 70.5 x 55.2cm (27 3/4 x 21 3/4")
Board: 75.6 x 60.3cm (29 3/4 x 23 3/4")
A to G Depth: 7/8"
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Poster America
Rights
© Bill King © American Legend Cooperative
Object number
S/NPG.84.210
Exhibition Label
Celebrity photographer Bill King took over the successful Blackglama campaign from Richard Avedon in 1972. When he photographed Shirley MacLaine, King and agency associate Peter Rogers decided in advance that they wanted a dance shot. Although MacLaine worked hard for the camera, according to Rogers, the perfect image was not easy to capture, especially as the actress insisted on wearing white majorette boots for many of the pictures. But she liked the final picture-without the boots-and it became one of the most popular Blackglama posters.
The Blackglama campaign, exploiting a heady mix of glamour and commerce, continued to sell coats throughout the next couple of decades. After its successful example, advertisers realized the compelling allure of celebrity figures, and advertising campaigns using sports and entertainment stars to promote products proliferated.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection