Born 100 Years Ago Today: The U.S. Army’s Only Official Pin-Up

Today would have been the 100th birthday of pin-up model and Hollywood supporting actress Margie Stewart (1919-2012), whose entire career was limited to the World War Two Era.

Originally from Wabash, Indiana, Stewart modeled in Chicago and Los Angeles, before becoming the U.S. army’s only ever official pin-up girl, appearing in a dozen posters distributed to thousands of soldiers by the army (presumably the morale office) during the early months of WWII. Mrs. Roosevelt protested this activity, and you must admit, it’s a little weird, about like that time Milton Berle’s mother paid for his first visit to a prostitute. These things are best initiated by the individual, not sponsored by authority.

By 1942, Stewart had graduated to moving pictures, appearing in bit parts in 20 films through 1945. Her biggest roles were in the Great Gildersleeve comedies. She also appeared in three of the “Falcon” mysteries, as well as Show Business (1944) with Eddie Cantor, and Wonder Man (1945) with Danny Kaye, her last. She also made public appearances during this time, selling war bonds on the home front, and boosting spirits in Europe immediately after the war. In 1945 she married army captain Jerry Jeroske. In later years, the couple became impresarios, producing concerts at the Hollywood Bowl featuring top acts like The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Barbra Streisand

To learn more about show business history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.