Twiggy

On this date in 1949, English model and actress Twiggy (née Lesley Hornby) was born in the London suburb of Neasden to working-class parents. She learned to sew at an early age, made some of her own clothes and started modeling while in secondary school.

At age 16 she was named “The Face of 1966” by the tabloid Daily Express and landed on the cover of Vogue. Her signature, rail-thin “mod” look led to her nickname and international fame as a cultural icon. She announced her retirement from modeling in 1970, stating, “You can’t be a clothes hanger for your entire life.” She then enjoyed a successful career as a screen, stage and television actress and recording artist.

Her 1971 role in “The Boy Friend” brought her two Golden Globes. Her first appearance in the theater was in “Cinderella” in London’s West End in 1974. In 1983 she starred on Broadway in the award-winning Gershwin musical “My One and Only,” for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Tony Award. Her last stage appearance was in 2003 in the title role in the George Bernard Shaw play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.”

Twiggy released her ninth album, “Romantically Yours,” in 2011. It featured the standards “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Blue Moon,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” along with a vocal by her daughter Carly Lawson on Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.”

Twiggy married American actor Michael Witney, nearly 20 years her senior, in 1977. Their daughter Carly was born in 1978. He died in 1983 at age 51 from a heart attack. She married Leigh Lawson in 1988 after his 10-year relationship with actress Hayley Mills ended. They met while working on the film “Madame Sousatzka” (directed by John Schlesinger with Shirley MacLaine in the title role). Lawson adopted Carly, who took his surname.

In 2019 she was named a Dame of the British Empire under her married name Lesley Lawson for services to fashion, the arts and to charity.

Twiggy in 2012 in London; photo via Shutterstock by Featureflash Photo Agency.

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