When we think of the term “worse for wear”, somehow provocative images of 39-26-37 Edwina Beth Williams (better known as Edy Williams) and her outrageous apparel at film festivals and award shows instantly stand out in one’s mind. You have to admit that this wild child, who has now come into her seventies (born on July 9, 1941), can never be accused of being a shrinking violet or not giving her all to her chosen profession.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, this courageous perennial starlet grew up in all sorts of ways in southern California. She first began her career chasing after modeling work with local photographers while in her teens and has not slowed down since. An undeniably fetching and voluptuous presence, she was the recipient of several California beauty titles which led to her eventual signing by 20th Century-Fox in the early 1960s.
Known for her untamed chestnut hair, she displayed her talents initially with taunting, decorative roles in such pictures as For Love or Money (1963), Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964), A House Is Not a Home (1964) (in which she and fellow glamazon Raquel Welch played call girls), The Naked Kiss (1964), the Elvis Presley musical Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) and Nevada Smith (1966) starring Steve McQueen. Television utilized her as sexy scenery or a vapid foil on such series as The Twilight Zone (1959), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Burke’s Law (1963) and Batman (1966).
In her more mainstream prime, Edy earned second-femme lead status next to James Farentino, Julie Sommars and Brian Bedford in the teasing comedy The Pad and How to Use It (1966) and Walter Matthau and Anne Jackson in The Secret Life of an American Wife (1968), but things changed big-time once she associated with producer-director Russ Meyer, her mentor-turned-husband. She was displayed front-and-center as a predatory porn star in his campy softcore erotica Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) and The Seven Minutes (1971), but in the end he failed to make her anything but a cult figure.
She and Meyer divorced in 1975, and since then she has been more or less promoting herself. The notorious publicity hound who could make even Jayne Mansfield wince a little, Edy has made annual cheesecake appearances (not usually in a positive way), opting for jaw-dropping bordello-chic formal wear to get the flashbulbs popping at entertainment events. Her scanty gowns have earned her numerous worst-dressed awards from here to Timbuktu. In later years, she has occasionally departed exploitation with roles in such films as Chained Heat (1983), Lady Lust (1984), Hollywood Hot Tubs (1984), Nudity Required (1990), Bad Girls from Mars (1990) and Snatch Masters 6 (1995). You have to give her credit or praise, Edy Williams certainly succeeded her way.
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