Friday, January 25, 2013

The Skinny: That Thing Is Worth How Much?

Betty Grable was famous for being The Girl With the Million Dollar Legs (20th Century Fox bought the insurance policy from Lloyds of London). The hosiery industry advertised that Grable's legs had the perfect proportions ( 18.5" thigh, 12" calf, 7.5" ankle). In fact, it was an attempt to show off Betty's best features that gave us one of the most iconic pinup photos of all time, and certainly the most popular pinup image of the WWII era. The image, shot by photographer Frank Powolny, was owned by as many as one in five American soldiers during the war. One of those doughboys was Hugh Hefner, who later stated that it was that particular Betty Grable image that inspired him to create Playboy. LIFE magazine included the image on their 100 Photos That Changed the World list. By today's standards, Grable's legs would be worth over 14 million dollars.
The infamous Ms. Grable

So, that got me thinking. What are other famous body parts worth? It turns out that Hollywood has a history of high-dollar anatomy.

1. Jimmy Durante: His nose was his trademark, and he had it insured for $50,000 in the 1940s. Adjusted for inflation, that's a $442,000 nose.
Ha chachacha

2. Bette Davis: Her eyes? Nope. She had her waist insured in the 1930s for $28,000--roughly $357,000 of anti-doughnut protection in today's money.
Bette Davis
Bette Davis

3. Ben Turpin: A cross-eyed comic actor of the silent film era, he insured his eyes (again, with Lloyds of London), payable if they ever became uncrossed. Stories vary as to the amount, but most stick to it being a $25,000 policy ($500,000 peepers by today's standards).
Keep 'em crossed!

4. Marlene Dietrich: Insured her trademark husky voice for $1million. (She also demanded that a half ounce of gold dust be sprinkled on her hair during filming, to make it look shiny on the big screen. It's not an insurance policy, but it still makes for some expensive hair.)
Ms. Dietrich

5. Fred Astaire: Legs, of course--but only $75K each. Not so good as Betty's, but I suppose they didn't look nearly as nice in pantyhose....
Fred's $150K

6. Angie Dickinson: Universal bought a $1million policy for her legs (you guess it--Lloyds of London strikes again!), which she displayed beautifully in Rio Bravo. No wonder Sinatra kept coming back....

Courtesy of

*Information obtained from:,,,

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