I can’t confess to generally have a weakness for 1950s blond glamourpusses, but I make an exception for one now only slightly remembered, Barbara Payton. Probably only one movie she starred in is much remembered: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), in which she played opposite James Cagney.

barbara payton

But her career went down rather than up from there. By the next year she would be starring in movies like Bride of the Gorilla and from there she would spiral into scandal and alcoholism, and she would be dead at 39. She tugs at my heartstrings, though, perhaps in part because I have a weakness for tragedy and also perhaps in part because before she flamed out she also starred in an obscure British science fiction movie called The Four-Sided Triangle of which I might be one of very few fans, possibly because to me it is a stunning example of mad science personal identity porn, a micro-genre of which I am also probably one of very few fans, but a very devoted one for all that.

But for more general appeal, we can note that even as her career was in decline, Barbara also posed for some stunning photographs taken on Malibu beach in 1952 by Andre de Dienes. John O’Dowd, in his biography Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story, reproduces a few.

barbara payton

She might have been Marilyn…

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