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Unearthing Audrey Munson, Hollywood’s First Nude Actress

Although including nude women in film as often as possible seems to be a current industry standard in Hollywood, it wasn’t always so. The very first instance of female nudity in a non-pornographic film occurred in a 1915 film titled Inspiration — Audrey Munson played a sculptor’s model in a film that would end up buried with the passage of time, along with her bittersweet legacy.

Munson began her career as a model for sculptors — she moved to New York City in 1906 when she was 15 and was “discovered” on the street by a photographer who, enamored by her beauty, employed her. Her career took off, especially after being introduced to famed sculptor Isidor Konti. Her form would eventually come to grace fifteen statues in Manhattan, including the USS Maine Monument at Columbus Circle and the golden statue Civic Fame atop the Manhattan Municipal Building. Read more …

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