In 1937, LIFE Magazine launched the career of an up-and-coming starlet in a multiple-page photo spread that made “Cynthia” a household name overnight.

She became an A-list celebrity, was given her own television talk show and starred on the silver screen, was sent jewels and dresses by top fashion houses, was briefly engaged to one of radio’s biggest stars, hobnobbed with the former king of England, and became one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world.

But there was one catch: Cynthia was made of plaster. Hers was a stranger-than-fiction tale that encompassed the highest circles of New York and London society, the lowest-brow of American entertainment — and even a grisly murder investigation.

Intrigued? see moreCynthia, World’s Most Famous Mannequin



Though James Dean had just three major film credits to his nameEast of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant — his good looks and the cool, brooding attitude he brought to the big screen (particularly in Rebel) made him a cultural icon.

LIFE looks back on Dean’s life and style— James Dean: Hollywood’s Rebel Icon

Good looking actor + dies before he could fuck up = Perfect Cultural Icon