Lauren Hutton, the original supermodel and face of American fashion is equal parts intelligence, beauty, and sense of humor. She is also an age-positive voice, inspiration, a symbol of empowerment, and a role model to some.
She was loved by women who remember Lauren dancing the rest of the night at Studio 54, shrouded in Halston and skin aglow, and revered by the daughters of the same disco queens, who look to the supermodel in her 70s glory, still breaking records and rules. Continue reading to learn more about the profile of this top model from the 1960s.
Lauren Hutton: Who Is She?
Lauren Hutton’s biography has the feel of a Disney fairytale. Mary Laurence Hutton was born in 1943 in Southern Carolina and lived in a swamp in Florida as a tomboy.
After finishing university, she moved to New York City to work as a cocktail waitress. She began going by Lauren, a variation of her middle name, to distinguish herself from the other Marys she worked with. It didn’t take long for Ford models to notice her, and she was photographed in November 1966 for her first Vogue cover.
The fashion industry was drawn to Hutton’s all-American girl look, which they emphasized in fashion shoots. While most models wore heavy makeup, Hutton’s face was left nearly natural, and her imperfect teeth became her most recognizable feature.
Hutton was regarded as among the world’s first supermodels, not only for the staggering amount of work she received (including a record 27 Vogue covers, 24 of which were on American Vogue) but also for changing the way models worked in ad campaigns.
Childhood and Early Life
Hutton (born Mary Laurence Hutton) was birthed in Charleston, South Carolina, on November 17, 1943, to Minnie (Behrens) and Hutton Lawrence Bryan Hutton. Lauren’s father was born in Mississippi, where he grew up next door to William Faulkner and was in England during World War II.
After the war, the model’s mother divorced her father in 1945 and moved to Miami, then Tampa, Florida. Hutton spent the rest of her childhood in Tampa, unaware of her father, who died of a heart attack on June 24, 1956, at 37. He lived in Shelby, Tennessee, with Mary Elizabeth Hutton (his second wife) as a Farm Editor for The Cotton Trade Journal.
Hutton took the surname “Hall” after her mother remarried, though her stepfather never officially adopted her. In 1961, she graduated from Chamberlain High School in Tampa and was one of the first students to study at the University of South Florida.
Hutton later moved to New York City with war veteran Tampa disc jockey Pat Chamburs who’s 19 years her senior that lost a leg in a kamikaze attack and worked at the Playboy Club as a “Bunny” waitress, where she made her first television appearance in 1963 as To Tell The Truth’s decoy contestant. The couple lived in Europe, the Bahamas, and eventually moved to New Orleans, where she graduated in 1964 with a degree in Bachelor of Arts from Newcomb College and, after that, a coordinate college within Tulane University.
Hall returned to New York, changed her name to Lauren Hutton, and became a Vogue cover girl (a record of 27 times), top fashion model, and commercial spokesperson.
She was advised to remedy the slight gap in her teeth and attempted to cover it with morticians’ wax, cutting a line down its middle. Then she wore a cap, which she frequently laughed out, swallowed, or misplaced. She kept her “imperfection,” which gave her on-screen persona a down-home sensibility that other, more ethereal models lacked. Hutton was once dubbed “the fresh American face of fashion.”
Hutton agreed to sign a million-dollar contract in 1974 as the face of Revlon cosmetics. Revlon fired Hutton at the age of 40, but she later made an unexpected comeback as a model.
Hutton made her movie debut in Paper Lion (1968), and she received critical acclaim for her performances opposite James Caan in James Toback’s The Gambler (1974). She also appeared in John Carpenter’s 1978 TV film Someone’s Watching Me! and portrayed a wealthy daring adulteress in American Gigolo (1980). However, she had few significant roles in major films, and her acting career declined during the 1980s, with most of her features being in minor European or American films that bombed at the box office, like Lassiter (1984), Once Bitten (1985), and Guilty as Charged (1992).
She was cast in the TV series Paper Dolls in 1984. MGM decided to create a weekly series for ABC based on the TV movie, recasting several of the classic roles from the 1982 production. The series, however, was short-lived and canceled after 13 episodes. In 1987, Hutton co-starred with William Devane in Timestalkers, an ABC Movie of the Week that did well in both the TV ratings and the critics’ reviews.
Hutton made headlines in 1995 when she was cast as the wealthy socialite Linda Fairchild in the CBS soap opera Central Park West. Her late-night talk show Lauren Hutton and… debuted as well. Both, however, were short-lived and were canceled the succeeding year. She was featured as one of the “Modern Muses” on the Millennium cover of American Vogue in November 1999.
Hutton, a motorcycle enthusiast, made news in October 2000 when she was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident at 56. After recovering, the model-actress became the spokeswoman for Good Stuff, her signature cosmetics brand, sold primarily through Lauren Hutton Good Stuff in the United States and various secondary distribution channels in South America and Europe.
Hutton agreed to pose naked for Big magazine in October 2005, at 61, because she wanted women to be comfortable with themselves in bed. The supermodel is also represented by IMG Models in Paris, New York, and London.
She never married, but she did have a 27-year relationship with Bob Williamson, her manager, who squandered $13 million of her money.
Hutton joined a motorcycle group that included actors Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, and Jeremy Irons in October 2000 to celebrate “The Art of the Motorcycle” display at the Hermitage-Guggenheim museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hutton was the first vice president of the Guggenheim Museum Motorcycle Club and a National Museum of Women in the Arts board member in Washington, D.C., in 2003.
Speaking of motorcycles, check out this badass history of biker fashion!
In July 2013, Hutton disclosed that she was working on her memoir, which may be aptly named Smile, and also discussed the importance of travel and exploration in her life so far. Her Becoming Sar’h book series first appeared in 2017.
She has lived in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood. Hutton lived primarily in Taos, New Mexico, where she has a prefab steel home as of 2004.
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