The prototypical "California girl" with sparkling blue eyes and honey-blonde hair, Cheryl Tiegs was a popular poster girl in the late 1970s, her must-have pin-ups plastered on the bedroom walls of tee...
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Born Cheryl Rae Tiegs on Sept. 25, 1947 on a farm in Breckenridge, MN, Cheryl Tiegs grew up in a modest home in Alhambra, CA where she moved with her family in 1952. She graduated from Alhambra High School where she had flourished as a pep-rally leader and orchestra member. Even at that time, it was apparent that she had the natural look of a model, embodying the classic "California girl" style. In 1965, she attended California State University in Los Angeles but her plans to graduate were waylaid when the teen auditioned for and subsequently was cast in several television commercials. This exposure landed Tiegs her first professional modeling gig on the cover of Glamour magazine in1964, when she was just 17 years old. With short-bobbed hair, Tiegs appeared on the cover of a 1966 autumn issue of Teen magazine along with Noel Harrison, and two years later, she appeared in another television commercial as a long-locked lass peddling Breck Hair Color. Her burgeoning popularity as a model lead to a slew of other advertising jobs, including Black Velvet Canadian whiskey from 1975 to1978, and appearances in Virginia Slims cigarette ads.
Flooded with offers, Tiegs moved to New York City and eventually landed photo shoots with numerous high-profile magazines such as Vogue and Elle. However, it was the cover of a 1978 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated that caused quite the stir. This controversial issue featured a freckled Tiegs, wearing a revealing one-piece, white mesh swimsuit, through which her nipples were exposed. The SI feature catapulted Tiegs into the limelight with the now-famous photograph, leading to a wealth of more opportunities, including a lucrative contract with Cover Girl cosmetics. And at an age 31 - when many models are nearing the end of their careers - a 1978 cover of TIME magazine proclaimed the robust Tiegs as "The All-American Model."
In 1980, she published a beauty-based book, The Way to Natural Beauty, and along with her nationally recognized name and her knowledge of fashion, she also created signature designs for Sears, Roebuck and Company. Within a year, the "Cheryl Tiegs Collection at Sears" - which included sportswear, nightwear, lounge wear, intimate apparel and hosiery - was sold nationwide to eager consumers. Considered one of the pioneers of celebrity-endorsed clothing, Tiegs was featured again on the cover of TIME magazine in 1984, this time with the header "Sassy Sears - Toasters and Tires and Cheryl Tiegs." In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the consummate entrepreneur engaged in a number of varied enterprises. In 1986, she modeled clothing for the Sears, Roebuck catalog, and also made guest appearances on numerous popular television series, such as "Moonlighting" (ABC, 1985-89). When her clothing line was discontinued in 1989, she signed on as the spokesperson for Light 'n' Lively yogurt. The following year, she was one of three models, along with Christie Brinkley and Beverly Johnson, featured as dolls called "The Real Model Collection." After three unsuccessful marriages, she married actor Anthony Peck in 1990, thus becoming the daughter-in-law of Gregory Peck. In 1995, the 47-year-old Tiegs posed for another Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and re-entered the fashion business with her new line of "Cheryl Tiegs Sportswear" that sold exclusively on QVC. She also started a line of wigs and hair accessories called "Cheryl Tiegs Wigs Salon Collection" for Revlon Cosmetics and managed to squeeze in a guest appearance on "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC, 1993-96).
Into the new millennium, the seemingly tireless paragon continued to mine her famous name and image. In 2000, Tiegs was aptly honored as the first MAC (Makeup, Art and Cosmetics) Fashion Icon. Accepting the award, Tiegs recalled how as a young girl she idolized models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, and how she would retreat to her bedroom and pretend to be a model herself. In 2001, her latest marriage to yoga instructor, Rod Stryker ended in divorce, a devastating double blow to Tiegs because, after numerous attempts to become pregnant the couple had conceived twin boys with a surrogate mother a year prior. Despite being an age when most mothers were dealing with empty-nest syndrome, Tiegs not only experienced a career resurgence - her face once again gracing the pages of prominent magazines - she also reentered the television arena, appearing on the sitcom "Just Shoot Me" (NBC, 1997-2003) in 2002, and again designed her own sportswear line. The next year, Tiegs portrayed Lilly in Vincent Gallo's drama, "The Brown Bunny," a controversial film criticized for being a vanity project.
In 2006, a fabulously fit Tiegs appeared in the Playboy photo feature, "The Bikini at 60." The following year, she played a late-1970s version of herself using the name Cheryl Cox-Tiegs, who was briefly married to the title character in the film, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." In 2008, Tiegs appeared on the HGTV reality series, "Living With Ed" (2007- ) in which she consulted with eco-obsessed Ed Begely, Jr. to do a green audit of her Bel Air estate. Ending the first decade of the 2000s in the busy fashion in which it started, Tiegs became a judge on the reality series "True Beauty" (ABC, 2009-2010) alongside former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo and Carson Kressley. The show featured several models competing to be the most beautiful, with the twist being judges were actually looking for the one with the most inner beauty. In 2011, she voiced herself on the series, "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ), became a spokesperson for quartz manufacturer, Cambria, and joined the season five cast of Donald Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" (NBC, 2004- ).
By Ela Lindsay
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.