Celebrity for the week ending
Saturday, 14 June 2008

Kitty Gordon (1878-1974),
English actress and vocalist,
insures her back, 1916

Kitty Gordon
Kitty Gordon

(photo: Campbell Studios, New York, circa 1916)

'Kitty Gordon, she of the effulgent back and brilliant shoulders, not to mention her general pulchritude of face and form, is a young woman who believes in safety first, judging from the unique form of insurance policy which has just been issued to her at her behest.
'Pianists have insured their ''pedal feet,'' violinists [have] obtained policies protecting their delicate fingers in case of accident, and opera singers have had insurance written on the golden notes, but Mrs. [sic] Gordon has gone all one better.
'She has insured her back!
'You see, somebody told Miss Gordon that the fierce glaring lights of the immense batteries of the motion picture studios were injurious to the texture of the skin.
'At once there was trepidation registered on Miss Gordon's mobile features which glow with the true pink and white of English roses. Visits to several insurance companies followed, but one after another they refused to dally with such a delicate form of underwriting as Miss Gordon's celebrated back. However, finally an English concern wrote a policy against Miss Gordon's back, protecting it in case of injury to the snowy hue and satiny texture from the studio lights in the sum of $50,000.
'Naturally the premium paid is abnormally high. But Miss Gordon thinks it is worth it, as she declares she could not give the best of her acting to the screen if she was always to be worried about what the lights would do to her skin. By the way, the policy was not written till exhaustive tests of the effect of high power lights on the human cuticle had been made by experts retained by the insurance firm.'
(from The Boston Post, Moberly Weekly Monitor, Friday, 21 January 1916, p.4f)

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© John Culme, 2008