Not just an alluring model but a genuine beauty queen, Marilyn won the title Miss United Kingdom in 1971 – she was on the cover of that year’s December issue – and later runner-up in Miss World.
She lived in New Milton in Hampshire and was one of the most famous of the Bournemouth Ken Howard models, indeed it is rumoured the he may have discovered her at a local beauty contest. Marilyn worked solo and in duos (with Liz Harvey, Nicola Taylor and Pauline Gorvin), and in locations that ran through decades of magazines; the front room that many believe was Ken Howard’s home, the woods and the beaches somewhere not far from Bournemouth – my guess would be Sandbanks.
Howard had some weird ideas in his shoots – what we used to called ‘kinky boots’ in those days (and there was a time when ToCo Publications tried to sell them) and strange photo series, also with Marie Graham and Eve Law, that became a Howard hallmark − the girls’ front suspenders were crossed. Quite why he did this is anyone’s guess; perhaps they were told to do it simply for your satisfaction − heightening the fetishistic appeal of the suspenders and underlining what the magazines were truly all about. In one series with Liz Harvey, she even continues the lamentable Bearsden tradition of exhibiting directoire knickers – perhaps Ken Howard was under orders from Croydon to do his own stuff by all means (though nobody could have imagined in their wildest dreams he would come up with crossing your friends’ suspenders), but stick to what we know works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Marilyn was never afraid to display her nipples and not shy about showing some 5 o’clock shadow. She was in several UK movies of the Carry On series and appeared in It’s a Knockout with the now-disgraced Stuart Hall. She was interviewed on TV and asked what feature of herself she disliked most – to which she replied, her knees.
After becoming a celebrity, she was not too comfortable about talking about her ToCo days and tried to make a complete break with it. Now, as she ran her own boutique, the location of which was divulged in Spick & Span 32 and Span 177 – and mentioned again in Beautiful Britons 151 – that must have been very difficult. Can’t help wondering if there were gaggles of shady, salivating characters hanging around outside to find out if it really was her.
43 appearances and 7 covers and yet nowhere are her age or height given. Strange indeed.
Personal Details – Born 1950 36-23-36
Appearances – 43, debut in Beautiful Britons 151 (June 1968)
Spick – 175, 176, 180, 190, 217, 221, 248, 256, 267, 258, 269
Span – 166(bc), 174, 177, 180, 196, 204, 209, 252(bc), 257
Beautiful Britons – 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 159, 164, 167, 169, 174, 192, 198, 200, 233, 239, 246
Spick & Span Extra – 28, 30, 32, 36, 47, 55
66 – 54