Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fashion's Most Wanted Interview - Julie Newmar

I recently did a post saying I thought Julie Newmar was the best Catwoman and I was very surprised and delighted when I received an email from Julie saying she'd been reading the blog and shall we do something together!  I immediately asked for an interview which she kindly accepted.

Julie Newmar
Actress, Entrepreneur and the original Catwoman

Julie Newmar was born in Los Angeles in 1933.  Her first acting role was as a bride in the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Julie was an early glamour model, dancer in several movies, a ballerina for the Los Angeles Opera and a choreographer at Universal Studios.

Julie Newmar first appeared on Broadway in 1955 in Silk Stockings starring Hildegard Neff and Don Ameche and also starred in a number of plays including The Marriage-Go-Round with Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert, developing the role of the Swedish vixen for which she won a Tony Award for best actress.  She later starred with Joel Grey (Cabaret) in the national tour of Stop The World I Want to Get Off amongst other productions.  Julie also featured in the May 1968 issue of Playboy.

Julie is most famous for her television appearances, starring as Rhoda The Robot in My Living Doll and of course the perfect villianess, Catwoman.  Julie has guest-starred in shows such as Route 66, The Twilight Zone, The Beverley Hillbillies, The Monkees, The Bionic Woman, Colombo, Buck Rogers, Hart to Hart, Fantasy Island, Chips, Bewitched, Star Trek and as herself in Melrose Place in 1996.

An early glamour shot

Julie holds three US patents for her own line of body shapers and lingerie, she was a property developer in the Eighties she is credited with improving the Fairfax Avenue area of LA.  An avid gardener, Julie has had a rose named after her.

Divorced in 1984, Julie has one child John who is deaf and has Downs Syndrome.

In 2008 Julie began a career as a writer and is currently working on three books.


Julie, you are best remembered as the original Catwoman from the Sixties US TV series of Batman.  Many other actresses have played the role since, who is your favourite?
It has to be Michelle Pfeiffer.

Do you have any other favourite roles you've played?
The TV series "My Living Doll" because it was the most challenging part.  I played a robot!

I've had lots of male friends, straight and gay email me after seeing the piece saying you were their first crush, I bet you get that a lot don't you?
Yes!  I'm turning it into a book.  I want people to send me stories about the first time they were enraptured by anyone.  Go to my website and PLEASE send me a wonderful story!

With The Monkees

I'd love to know about when you modelled for Thierry Mugler, who I absolutely adore.  His clothes are perfect for your hourglass figure, can you tell me about that?
Being one of Thierry's muses was an out of this world experience!  Thierry loved Catwoman and he designed a Mugler version for me for a big Hollywood AIDS event.  I did two Thierry Mugler fashion shows.  I opened the AW92  show and walked in another at the Ritz in Paris where they'd built a special catwalk across the pool.  Cyd Charisse and Jerry Hall were in that one too.  Jerry is the ultimate in gorgeous glamorousness on stage, and a real sweetheart off it.

Amazing!  What was it like working with him?
He was very kind and generous to me.  There was Pearl making his famous corsets.  Pearl could squeeze into a 17-inch one, I could do maybe 22 inches. There was the Directrice, a super stylish lady who ran the house, always in black, Queen of her domain.

You stripped naked before the first of many layers of clothing was put on you.  Black velvet trays of jewellery were presented to Thierry who simultaneously fired off commands to four people at once.  His seventh floor salon was a hierarchy of talent and they each knew their place.  Voices were politely hushed except when a world famous model strode in to kisses on hands and cheeks, amidst shrieks of delight at whatever intimate tale was being shared.

"On a scale from one to ten,
in Mugler I feel like an eleven!"

Julie Newmar
From Fashion Fetish Fantasy - Thierry Mugler

Hysterics were normal at show time, it was manic!  Three or four assistants to each girl.  Hair and make-up was tediously long, I wore two or three deep red wigs with Thierry's fantastic black rubber and lace gown, which I loved.

You were in the George Michael video Too Funky, I love that video, I love anything with Thierry!  That must have been a brilliant thing to do?
It was 1992 and we had three days and two nights of non-stop filming, smoking, laughing, crying and wigs flying!  It was the most exotic display of girls, boys, boys to girls that I'd ever seen.

By the second night the producer collapsed in my arms crying at over the cost of everything, from the overtime, to the out-of-control exuberance and excess. George saved the day by paring down the production to a handful of models from the original hundred that were cast.

Thierry had me in a black wig and for some reason I had to wear three!  waist cinchers, non-breathing, no elastic!  What a blast that was!  And can those European models smoke!

The final George Michael version is only four minutes long, everyone should see Thierry Mugler's uncut version, it's wildly different, altogether tantalising, and way off the charts with it's diamond-heeled debauchery!

Watch this video...

One of George Michael's best songs and the video is fabulous!  Thierry Mugler directed it and designed the amazing costumes. As well as Julie Newmar it features Linda Evangelista, Nadja Auermann, Tyra Banks, Beverley Peele, Shana Zadrick, Emma Wiklund, Spanish actress Rossy de Palma and Estelle Hallyday.  I absolutely love it!  Julie walks onto the catwalk in a white coat which she rips off to reveal the Thierry catsuit.

Watch it below...

Julie, you look fantastic!  How wonderful to be asked to open a show for Mugler at 59 years old!  You're in amazing shape, do you have any secrets you can share with us?

What exercise do you do?
No matter how I feel, I exercise every morning to get my mind and body in "the zone."  Ten minutes of stretching on the floor, ten minutes at the barre (a gate post in my garden) and ten minutes on the bike in my office, listening to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.

What other health tips can you give us?
Learn to LIKE what is good for you.

What's your diet like?
I eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  I eat a lot of fish, vegetables and salads.  Liver powder for energy and I have Chai tea with cream.  For dessert I have a glass of whole milk and a few nibbles of dark chocolate.

What is your favourite restaurant?
Babalu in Santa Monica.

If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
In Bali, under a full moon, eating whatever is served.

What about drinking?
My brother owns a vineyard, Heron Lake in the Napa Valley.  He produces Chardonay and a great Pino Noir called Olivia Brion.  I'm waiting for him to name a wine after me.  And I'm still waiting!  I taste but I don't drink.

Adam West and Julie in Batman

Do you recommend any beauty routine or any products?
I only use soap and water on my face.  I don't use moisturisers but I like Estee Lauder's Night Repair.  I use hydrous lanolin as a skin softener.  I don't get facials, I do my own nails, I don't Botox my face.  My mother taught me not to frown when I was very young and forbade me from ever getting a suntan.

What make-up do you use?
My favourite foundation is YSL Matt Touch, I use MAC eyeshadows and lipstick.  Most women don't know how to use rouge, I have special techniques for that and I mix my own colours.  I use moustache wax on my eyebrows and the scent I love is Versace Bright Crystal.  I love a grapefruit scent.

Do you have any other beauty favourites?
I like the new lash growers Li Lash.

What is your view on surgery?
Less is better.  I'm lucky that neither I nor my mother had wrinkles until well into our seventies.

Julie with her friend Patrick Swayzee

Do you mind me asking if you've had any surgery?
I've had 45 stitches in my face from Mohs surgery (a treatment for skin cancer).  Maybe I got it from the reflected rays of the sun, and to my astonishment it barely shows. I insisted on having the stitches done by a plastic surgeon, who do those miniscule stitches.

What is your current favourite outfit?
A white suit "sculpted" on me by my superb dressmaker Iolanda Baglioni.

What are your favourite shoes?
White flotation sneakers by Easy Spirit.

Who are your favourite fashion designers?
Thierry Mugler's creations are "drop dead."  I like Ralph Lauren sweaters, Armani for tailoring and Nina Ricci.

Photography by Harry Langdon
Julie aged 63

Who are your favourite models?
Naomi, Linda and Tyra.

Who or what have been the greatest influences on your life?
My mother, who did everything possible for me as an artist.

What qualities do you look for in a man?
Genius!  Integrity, spontaneity, playfulness.

Which famous person is your all time crush?
Rita Hayworth had the earliest effect on me!

Rita Hayworth

What makes you laugh?
Ingeniousness, honesty and sweetness.

What makes you cry?
Great sex!

What's your philosophy?
The best philosophy for living these days is Abraham-Hicks.  Everyone should get the CD's.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

Who would you have at your dream dinner party?
Franz Liszt.  Alone.  Who needs conversation?

If you could be anywhere on earth right now, where would you be and who would be with you?
I'd be twenty four years old, at my penthouse in New York with DB.  He was a sweetheart.

Julie last year

From a photoshoot for her book 'Roses in the Julie Newmar Garden', taken yesterday.

The Julie Newmar rose

With special thanks to the fabulous Julie Newmar
The original and very best Catwoman


ruthie jay said...

What a fabulous blog post! Really enjoyed it xxx

Wildernesschic said...

Amazing post!
What an inspiring woman, she was obviously hit hard with the beauty wand and has a figure to die for, but to maintain this takes a lot of hard work. She must have an amazing energy.
I loved the Theirry Mugler on her, she just looks divine, I always loved that video but had never realised that as "Cat Woman".
Really enjoyed this xx

Dash said...

Christina what a fabulous post, Julie Newmar is amazing, I hope I look as good as she does at the same age!


Aren't we lucky to have a bit of Julie Newmar in our lives... what a lady, inspirational! xxx j

Jill said...

What a fun post...she's an ICON.

Lily Lemontree said...

What a fabulous interview!!!
And I must agree 100%, Ms. Newmar was the very best Catwoman ever, hands down! And wow, she was always a beauty but continues to look just stunning!

Alison Cross said...

how fantastic that Julie reads your blog! Bet that gives you a bit of a glow :-) Great interview!

She still looks wonderful - stunning legs!

Mr Pearl - I *think* that he does corsets for Dita Von Teese? Could be wrong (most probably am lol!)

Another great post!

Ali x

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I really enjoyed this. Julie is clearly a very sweet lady and has a lot of wisdom to share. She is also still very beautiful. What an inspiration.



HOBAC said...

Are you trying to kill me?
First Grace. Now this.

Alan Mercer's PROFILE said...

What a great interview with the most glamorous Julie Newmar! I love her forever.


Christina, what a wonderful interview which was both sweet and candid. Isn't she amazing? All that history in her head, she definitely needs to write a big book. And, I love love love Thierry Mugler & his extraordinary styling. xx's Marsha

Rod Dovlin said...

What a great birthday present of a post for this Newmar/Catwoman fan(atic?)

Keep up the great work!

"since 05/18/66"

auntiefashion said...

I was lucky enough to be in Hollywood one night when Julie hosted a drag pageant at the Virgin Megastore to launch the soundtrack from "To Wong Foo." Not only was she lovely to look at, but she was so lovely to her fans.

VP81955 said...

I interviewed Julie at a memorabilia show in 1997 -- a bright, beautiful and charming lady. I'm sure somewhere, Carole and Rita feel honored that she's among their fans.

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