Before Farrah Fawcett, before Jennifer Aniston, there was Veronica Lake and the one-eyed hairstyle copied ’round the world. Legend has it the look–and her career–were born when Lake’s white-blonde hair kept falling over her forehead during an early publicity shoot. But she was an unlikely star, a schizophrenic teen pushed into the limelight by her stage-door mother. Such classic ’40s films as The Glass Key and The Blue Dahlia cast the diminutive Lake as a bitch goddess, and she lived out the roles.
Byron would have liked her–she was mad, bad and dangerous to know. Her personal instability, combined with that sullen beauty, made for onscreen performances with a sexy chill. There was a sense that she needed a good slap–and would have liked it.
Her hairstyle was so imitated in the ’40s it caused a rash of industrial accidents among female factory workers, and Hollywood execs changed her style. But when the ‘do went, so did the career. Her increasingly erratic behavior led to the breakup of five marriages, and the dissolution of courtships with Howard Hughes and Aristotle Onassis. She ended up a barmaid in a Manhattan hotel and died of alcoholism and chronic hepatitis in 1973.
In Her Own Words: “Hollywood gives a young girl the aura of one giant, self-contained orgy farm, its inhabitants dedicated to crawling into every pair of pants they can find.”