The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous & Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America's First Supermodel

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Apr 12, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
The tumultuous and heartbreaking life of a world-famous model whose riveting story of beauty, fame, passion, murder, and madness in the Gilded Age captivated a nation.

As America was stepping into the modern era, one great beauty became the artist’s model of choice. Her perfect form became the emblem of the Gilded Age and appears on the greatest monuments of New York and the nation. Supermodel, actress, icon—her beauty paved the way for a life of glamour, passion, and ultimately tragedy. She dated the millionaires of the fashionable Newport colony, became the first American movie star ever to appear naked in a film, but her promising film career collapsed, her doctor fell in love with her and killed his own wife, and on her fortieth birthday, her mother committed her to an insane asylum. She remained there until her death in 1996 at the age of 104 and is now buried in an unmarked grave. Her name is Audrey Munson.

Many readers will recognize Audrey Munson, and have walked by her in the street, without even knowing her name. She stands atop New York’s Municipal Building. She sits as “Miss Manhattan” and “Miss Brooklyn” outside the Brooklyn Museum, is immortalized on the Manhattan Bridge, the Frick Mansion, the New York Public Library, and the Pulitzer Fountain outside the Plaza Hotel. In gold, bronze, and stone, she still graces bridges, skyscrapers, fountains, churches, monuments, and public buildings across the nation, from Jacksonville to San Francisco, from Atlanta to the Wisconsin state capitol.

From James Bone, the former New York Bureau Chief of The Times of London, this brilliantly reported investigative biography reveals, for the first time, the riveting truth of the forgotten life of an iconic beauty.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
0
4 stars
7
3 stars
6
2 stars
2
1 star
1

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - slug9000 - LibraryThing

I had never heard of Audrey Munson before, and I had assumed that the author was taking liberties with the term "supermodel" in the subtitle. But Munson really was probably the closest thing to a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cariola - LibraryThing

In the early 20th century, Audrey Munson, an artist's model and would-be actress, was so well-known for the statues that she posed for or inspired that she has become known as "America's First ... Read full review

Contents

THE CURSE
THE CHORUS GIRL
THE PHOTOGRAPHER
THE QUEEN OF THE ARTISTS STUDIOS
BOHEMIA NEW YORK
THE CLASSICAL IDEAL
MISS MANHATTAN 8 THE INSANITIES OF MODERN ART 9 THE EXPOSITION GIRL
THE FASHION SHOW
SHATTERED
HEEDLESS MOTHS
AUCTION OF SOULS
PERSECUTED BY HEBREWS
THE PERFECT
SUICIDE BY POISON
ROLLER SKATES
THE ASYLUM

INSPIRATION
PURITY
MR LOUGHEADS HYDROPLANE
THE TRIUMVIRATE
THE RICHEST BACHELOR IN AMERICA
AGENTS OF THE KAISER
THE HAMMER MURDER
THE ETERNAL TRIANGLE
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR
THE CHRISTIAN
RATTLESNAKE
A MAP OF AUDREY IN NEW YORK CITY A NOTE ON SOURCES
ABOUT JAMES BONE
BIBLIOGRAPHY
PRINCIPAL ARTICLES CITED
INDEX
IMAGE CREDITS
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2016)

James Bone is the former New York bureau chief of The Times of London newspaper. For almost a quarter of the century, he covered every major event in New York: Whether it was a celebrity scandal or a mafia trial, a Wall Street fraud or a record art sale, a high society wedding or a terrorist attack, he was there. He comes from a family of generations of artists on both sides, some of whom were active at the same time as the sculptors and painters in this book. He has reported from dozens of countries and some non-countries, from Afghanistan to Antarctica. His most recent posting was as The Times correspondent in Rome, Italy.

Bibliographic information