Several years ago, I had the good fortune of becoming friends with Eva Lynd.
As I’ve noted in previous posts on this blog, Eva worked as an actress in a number of TV shows in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, including THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW, THE GARRY MOORE SHOW, THE THIN MAN, PETER GUNN, THE TEXAN, HOGANS HEROES and CAGNEY & LACEY.
She was a popular model for pinup photographers, whose photos of her appeared in scores of magazines. Eva also modeled for photographs used in ads, catalogs and album covers.
In addition, and of special interest to me, is the fact that she modeled for several of the top illustration artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines.
She was, in particular, a favorite of artists Al Rossi and Norm Eastman.
Rossi did many illustrations for the Atlas/Diamond MAMs published by Magazine Management, as well as many paperback cover paintings.
Eastman is the grandmaster of the OTT cover paintings used on periodicals in the “sweat mag” subgenre of MAMs.
Not long after Eva and I became pen pals, Eva sent me copies of some of the reference photos Al Rossi took of her for his illustration work and gave to her later.
Several of those photos show Eva posing with another men’s adventure magazine superstar, male model Steve Holland.
As noted in a recent post my writer pal Paul Bishop did for his blog (“STEVE HOLLAND—THE FACE OF A HERO”), Holland’s image was used by dozens of artists for thousands magazine illustrations and countless paperback covers – including James Bama’s iconic portraits of Doc Savage on the Bantam PB series.
I’ve IDed the stories most of the Rossi photos of Eva sent me were used in, but not all. So, I’m always on the lookout as I browse through magazines that I buy.
Recently, while reading FOR MEN ONLY, July 1964, I made a major Eva Lynd and Steve Holland discovery.
It’s a story that has a whole series of illustrations by Al Rossi using Eva and Steve as models, including two that are based on Rossi reference photos Eva had sent me copies of.
The story, by the prolific writer of mystery and detective stories and novels Richard Deming, is a cool find in itself.
Titled “KILL AND RUN NUDE” in FOR MEN ONLY, it’s a “Book Bonus” version of Deming’s 1960 novel HIT AND RUN.
The original paperback edition has a classic Robert McGinnis cover painting.
The novel is an expanded version of Deming’s short story “Hit and Run” in the December 1954 issue of the great, noirish mystery magazine MANHUNT.
The main illustration in FOR MEN ONLY’s version, printed as a two-page vertical spread, is based on one of the Rossi reference photos Eva sent me, showing her and Holland. (Or at least it’s based on a very similar shot on the roll of film Rossi shot during that session.)
Rossi also created five small “spot illustrations” for the story that feature either Eva or Steve or both, including one that matches another Rossi reference pic.
When I scanned those illustrations and emailed them to Eva, she got a kick out of seeing them.
And, I got a kick out of asking her questions about her recollections of modeling for Al Rossi and posing with Steve Holland during several conversations we had about them.
Here are some of the things she told me…
BOB DEIS: Do you recall seeing the illustrations in FOR MEN ONLY, July 1964 before I sent them to you, Eva?
EVA LYND: No. I have not seen these illustrations before. This is very exciting! The opening illustration is based on a photo Al Rossi took of me and Steve Holland exactly as posed. And, another one is based on a photo he took of me doing a strip dance pose. I knew he used that one later for an illustration in ACTION FOR MEN in 1966 because you found it and sent it to me a while ago. But my face was slightly altered in that one. The other small illustrations in FOR MEN ONLY are also me, like the woman in the sundress with a gun to the guy’s head. I have that dress, in fact it is the same one I’m wearing in a photo Lester L. Krauss once took of me for a magazine or an ad. In the photo, I am full figure against a white, brick background. The sundress has roses on it.
BOB: Do you remember anything about the photo session you did with Steve Holland for Rossi’s FOR MEN ONLY artwork?
EVA: I remember this session very well. I even remember Al asking me to hop on the table and act as if I was going to do a strip tease. I’m also the girl sitting below in the drawing, and she looks even more like me than the image of the girl doing the strip. I have adjusted to the fact that illustrators didn’t always make exact duplicates of the model. Al was always clear about what he wanted and I always did my best to give it to him. Steve Holland and I knew how we both worked, and would just fall into poses together easily. I am sorry that he is no longer with us because I would have loved to be able to reminisce with him.
BOB: You worked as a model for Al Rossi during two periods when you lived in New York City, in the late ‘50s and again in the mid-‘60s. What information would he give you for a shoot?
EVA: Since I worked for him quite often, he would call me directly and let me know what to bring for wardrobe. It seems to me that he always worked in his studio. I don’t remember if it was a house or not, or where it was, although I know it was in the city. In the studio, he would describe the scene we would be doing and who we were and what we would be doing in it, including what emotions our faces should show. With Al it was usually something dramatic or romantic, which would be easy. With Norm Eastman it would be women in severe danger and I would have to show the horror of it all without distorting my face. The face always had to look good and had to show the horror in a “pretty” way. I was also very good at assuming the persona an artist wanted for an illustration drawing, as was Steve Holland, which is why we worked well together and why Rossi and Eastman used us together so often. I can only assume that the acting ability we both had helped a lot in doing the still photos.
BOB: Was doing the reference photo sessions like acting out a scene in a movie or TV show?
EVA: Yes, in a way, except it would be more like stop-motion since we would have to hold still so the artist could get the shot and then change it a bit for the next shot. Al Rossi would usually take a roll or two of each situation to make sure he got what he wanted. That is why some of the reference photos I have may not be the exact image he finally used for his renderings, although some certainly were.
BOB: Did Rossi and Eastman tell you in advance when you’d be doing a session with Steve Holland and what the scene would be like?
EVA: Since I pretty much always worked with Steve, I would just assume that it would be him. We worked well together. I know there were times that I worked with other men, but I can’t remember who they were because it would have been just once or so. The illustrators usually would wait to describe the scene until we got there. Al Rossi was a very easy guy to work with, as was Norm Eastman. I remember Al would always tell us to relax while he set up the next scenario.
BOB: Do you recall if you had met Holland through Al Rossi and did you ever hang out with Steve after a modeling session?
EVA: I don’t remember when I first met Steve Holland, but it was probably the first time I worked for Rossi. I had no idea that he was such a famous men’s magazine model. I also don’t know if he knew who I was. We never spent time together when we were not working, and I have no idea what his private life was like. I just know that we worked together incredibly well. When we were done with a session we went our separate ways. He and I would chat about this and that during the shoot, but he was always extremely busy, as you know, and would always take off for another session elsewhere after we were done.
BOB: The standard fee for a modeling session was $25 an hour back then, which is the equivalent of nearly $200 in today’s dollars. That’s pretty good money. Did most sessions last about an hour?
EVA: Yes, $25 WAS a lot more per hour than I could have earned as a waitress, which I also worked as in the beginning. And, since we were paid $25 an hour, every illustrator tried to get as much into that hour as possible, so they didn’t have to pay for another hour. I remember Al Rossi would try to get as many storylines into that time as possible, as did all the illustrators. One session that comes to mind is the one in which that I posed for all the women in one illustration, which ended up in KEN FOR MEN, May 1957. When I worked for photographers the fee was the same, but if they wanted to go on location, they would usually try to make a deal for a lump sum, so they didn’t have to worry about the time it might take.
BOB: From what you’ve said to me in the past, it seems like you never really sought out the magazines that had illustrations or photos featuring you during the years when you were a model. Did you ever even look through any of the men’s adventure magazines Al Rossi and Norm Eastman worked for at the time?
EVA: No, I never looked for my work in any of the magazine, because it never occurred to me to do so, and I never knew where they were going to appear anyway. The illustrators didn’t have time to let anyone know either, if they even knew. My uncle found a lot of the photos of me in various magazines, and made a scrapbook for me, or I would not have had anything in print from that time at all. But, naturally he didn’t find everything either. It’s a lot of fun for me to find all these things now, such a very long time later. I probably appreciate it more now than I would have then, since it was basically only work for me, and I never thought about what the outcome would be. But I am delighted to see photos or illustrations of me I haven’t seen before. For example, a lot of pinup photos Peter Basch took of me during various sessions I did with him keep coming up on eBay.
BOB: Yes, and they sell for quite a bit of money. I’ve bid on several and lost. And, many are not the final shots that were used in magazines or in Basch’s photography books.
EVA: And, it’s impossible to know from listings on eBay which illustrations in men’s adventure magazines have images of Eva Lynd inside, since there are no model credits listed. I know of many now, but some have yet to be found, like the ones you found in FOR MEN ONLY. So, I am therefore thrilled that you found those! Since you found them, I know you will also eventually find the one where Steve and I are on our stomachs crawling to the left, he with gun in hand. It has to show up somewhere eventually. I keep hoping it will appear.
BOB: Me, too! As you know, I posted it on my blog in a past post about you and a blogger named David Goode and his buddy Vance Capley made a cool faux movie poster with it, for the no-existent film OPERATION: RAGNAROK, starring Eva Lynd and Steve Holland. I’m posting a copy of the photo again with this conversation and hope that anyone who knows what magazine it was used in will shoot me an email and let us know. Thanks again for talking with me Eva!
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