Sally Todd is a model and actress who was being groomed to replace Marilyn Monroe by Fox Studios in the mid-50s to late 60s. She was born in Boone, Missouri on June 7, 1935, and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Even as a teenager, she worked as a model in Tuscon. Her acting career started early too, she studied drama as a teenager. At age 17, at the urging of her mother, she entered the 1952 Miss Tucson Beauty Contest, and won first prize.
First prize in the Beauty Contest was an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood. With her mother, she arrived in Hollywood in 1953 and immediately got scouted for film. She was cast in the 1953 film The French Line starring Jane Russell as a bathing suit beauty. She also continued her modeling career, specifically for ladies swimwear company, Cole of California.
In 1955 her beauty led her to a gig in New York City as one of the Carson Cuties on The Johnny Carson Show. The show, and Sally Todd’s place on it were both short lived. She soon moved back to Hollywood for screen tests with 20th Century Fox in early 1956.
At this time, Marilyn Monroe was known as a temperamental and discontented actress. Signing Sally Todd was a not so subtle sign to Marilyn by the film company that she was not exactly “irreplaceable.” Especially when Sally was billed as “a young Lana Turner and much prettier than Marilyn Monroe” by Fox. That year she played bit parts in two more movies, The Revolt of Mamie Stover and The Best Things in Life Are Free. Her modeling career was such that Newspapers of the day frequently called her the highest paid model in television (I’m assuming this meant she did a lot of commercials in addition to her print modeling)
1956 was also her first appearance in Playboy Magazine. In keeping with Playboy’s lifestyle features of the time the June issue had an extremely interesting editorial where her, and boyfriend at the time, Bill Whitehall, took a vacation to Las Vegas from Hollywood.
champagne flight to VEGAS
a california couple enjoys an unusual date
“Bill Whitehall and Sally Todd live in Los Angels. They date regularly and there is plenty in an exciting city like L.A. for a couple to see and do. But one Saturday morning not to long ago, Bill sat in his apartment trying to plan something special for that evening – a date to a place he and Sally had never been – and he realized there was very little the two of them had not seen and done in their city. An ad in the morning paper supplied an answer to his dilemma, and a telephone call to STanley 7-3456 made reservations for two on the Champagne Flight to Las Vegas. Bill called Sally, told her he had a unique date arranged for that day, told her to put a thing or two into a bag and he would picker her up a bit past two.
“For $25 each, plus tax, Bill had arranged an afternoon and evening in Las Vegas, Nevada, that both he and Sally would remember for a long time. The special Champagne Flight left Lockheed Air Terminal at 3 that afternoon. It is called a “Champagne Flight” because champagne is served on the plane, and Bill’s $25 included the bubbly and air transportation to and from Vegas, plus limousine service between the Vegas airport and the Hotel Showboat, dinner (14 oz charcoal broiled steak or chicken), cocktails while watching the gala floorshow and $5 in chips to spend in the million dollar Showboat Casino. The $25 each, plus tax, is usually only the down payment on a Vegas date, of course, for the spirit of chance in the Nevada air and a gambler isn’t apt to get too far on the $5 in chips supplied. But if a couple really wants to, they can enjoy all the pleasure of Vegas on just that $25 each. Bill spent more, but felt the date was a reasonable one considering the fun they had.
“The Showboat is neither the biggest nor the fanciest of the many fabulous spots along the Strip, but it offers such variety in its entertainment that Sally and Bill spent their entire date there. The hotel, casino, and show lounge are built as a neon-lighted replica of an old-time Southern river boat – the sort of side-wheeler Mark Twain once navigated down the Mississippi. The Showboat does its navigating in the center of a spacious swimming pool and Sally and Bill arrived early enough to enjoy a swim and Bill got to practice some golf shots at the driving range across the way.
“When they arrived at the hotel, a hostess gave each of them a plastic bag containing tickets for drinks and dinner, $5 worth of gambling chips and a plastic money clip. Sally changed into evening dress before dinner and after eating, the couple enjoyed the games of chance featured in the casino, including roulette, black jack, bingo, craps and the ever present One-Armed Bandits. Between games they had drinks in the lounge and watched a part of the continuous show performed there. Sally liked the slot machines most, won $20 on a dollar machine; Bill enjoyed roulette and the live entertainment. Both had a date in Vegas they won’t forget for a long while.”
Sally’s second appearance in Playboy was a, even for Playboy at that time, a rather demure pictorial in February 1957, this time as the Playmate Centerfold. The article consisted of several of the fully clad photos from the February 1956 pictorial, and one photo of Sally fully nude, but showing only her backside.
Through out the next several years Sally Todd acted in several more movies, continued her modeling career and was published in many pulp magazines, the names of which mostly seem to be lost to time. And to the delight of the gossip magazines and media, she dated and married her way through Hollywood. In the 70s she moved behind the camera, but is mostly uncredited for this work. Her Hollywood career ended in 1980. She moved to Santa Barbara to care for her ailing mother and ended up running an antique store there. As late as 2012, at the age of 75 she was set to star in “Checkmate: A Saga of Santa Barbara”. This movie looks to have never been made.
Unknown – Bachelor
Unknown – Brief
Unknown – Focus
Unknown – Sir Knight
Unknown – Show
Unknown – Tab, October
1956 – (The Male) Point, March (Cover Model)
1956 – Playboy, June – Non-nude
1957 – Playboy, February – Playmate
1957 – Bare, June (Cover Model)
1957 – Blighty, August (Cover Model)
1953 – The French Line (uncredited)
1955 – The Johnny Carson Show (one of the Carson Cuties)
1955 – 1957 – The Bob Cummings Show
1956 – The Revolt of Mamie Stover
1956 – The Best Things in Life Are Free (uncredited)
1957 – The Unearthly
1957 – The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
1958 – Flight
1958 – Frankenstein’s Daughter
1958 – 1959 – Dragnet
1959 – Al Capone (Uncredited)
1959 – M Squad
1959 – Rescue 8
1960 – The Untouchables
1960 – Lock Up
1960 – Johnny Ringo
1960 – The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
1960 – G.I. Blues (uncredited)
1960 – 77 Sunset Strip
1960 – The Tab Hunter Show
1961 – Holiday Lodge
If you know anything more about Sally Todd, please comment below!