Actress and model Vikki Dougan clowning around at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus.
Actress and model Vikki Dougan earned her nickname “The Back” thanks to the dangerously low-back, curve-hugging dresses she wore in the 1950s and 1960s. Dougan’s alluring back has even inspired a song written by folk music legends The Limelighters whose lyrics passionately request that she “turn her back” on them. And, as the title of this post suggests, Dougan’s provocative posterior bearing dresses and look also served as inspiration for the animated character “Jessica Rabbit” from the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Dougan would begin her modeling career at the age eleven in 1940. In 1948, nineteen-year-old Dougan (who had changed her name from Edith Tooker to “Vikki Stappers Dougan”) was named the winner of the New York Skate Queen competition. This success landed Dougan a spot in what sounds like the greatest fashion show of all time held by the Roller Skating Institute of America (RISA) which showcased the latest in roller rink fashions. Zowie. Dougan’s fame would take flight, and she would score roles in various films, photo spreads in prominent magazines such as LIFE (photographed by Ralph Crane) as well as posing for commercial advertisements for lingerie. Dougan also did a couple of mostly PG-13 spreads for Playboy and was romantically linked to some of the most famous men in Hollywood including Frank Sinatra.
Sometime in the 1960s things started to slow down for Dougan and in 1964 Cavalier magazine ran twelve photos taken of Dougan in the buff which had initially been shot for Playboy. Following the session, Dougan refused to let Playboy publish the cheeky photos, and she filed a lawsuit against Cavalier which was eventually settled out of court for a tidy sum approximated to be in the neighborhood of $75,000. Photos of Dougan showing off her fabulous back follow and are slightly NSFW.
Vikki Dougan photographed by Ralph Crane.
A page from Dougan’s 1957 appearance in Playboy.
A page from Dougan’s spread Playboy in 1957.
Photos originally shot for Playboy that were published by Cavalier magazine in 1964.
A photo of Dougan from Playboy magazine, 1962.
‘Vikki Dougan’ by The Limelighters.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Plan 9 from Bikini Beach’: Glamourous beatnik ghoul girl ‘Vampira’ goths it up back in the 1950s
Girl in trouble: The mysterious vintage bondage photos known only as ‘Mr. Steinberg’s Model’
She overcame a rare genetic disorder to become a fashion model
Zoë Mozert: The pinup model and artist who painted actress Jane Russell’s most iconic image