Sunday, May 06, 2007

Miller in Playboy, November 1971

"The renowned--and controversial--author relates his feelings about writing and painting, sex and women, god and man."
[opening blurb, Playboy, November 1971 - p. 183]

The November 1971 issue of Playboy magazine contains a six-page feature on Henry Miller (pps. 183-185, 246-248). The inclusion was meant as publicity for a new book coming from Playboy Press about Henry Miller, called My Life And Times. The book contained Miller's thoughts and memories on numerous thematic topics, and was illustrated with several photographs. The 1971 article announces a "November 15" street date for the book, but the Bibliography of Primary Sources shows that it was actually given its limited release on December 25, 1971.
The Playboy feature contains excerpts from the book, along with a handful of photographs taken by the book's editor, Bradley Smith. In 1968, Bradley--a professional photographer--had the chance to meet Miller while trying to find contact information for Lawrence Durrell. Inspired by Robert Snyder's Henry Miller Odyssey documentary (which was still in production), Smith conceived the Miller book, which would include dialogue from the film. Miller was hesitant about the project, but managed to provide the requested biographical content over an 18-month period.

The above photograph is of Miller with a nude "guest" to his California home. The woman is credited as Candice Thayer, of whom I could find no information. Candice appears in three photos in this feature: 1) the one above; 2) one of her looking up at the base of the stairs, with a painting of Miller done by Beauford Delaney hanging above; 3) one of her playing ping-pong with Miller.

In the same Playboy article, Miller appears in a colour photograph with his young wife Hoki (whom he'd married in September 1967) and her friend Puko.

Henry is also shown indulging in "innocent horseplay" with Israeli actress Ziva Rodann. Miller and Rodann apparently had some "light romance" at one time, according to a letter Henry wrote to Eve McClure in October 1963 [ref. Always Merry And Bright by Jay Martin, p. 472]. By the looks of this photo (circa 1968-1971) they remained friends. Rodann acted mostly in B-films, it seems, and played Queen Nefertiti in the Batman TV series. I've included another of photo of Ziva Rodann at right, which is not in the Playboy article.

Finally, the profile contains a reproduction of a Miller watercolour painting (called Wawawa?). "Though he often uses symbols [...] Miller says that he has no conscious reason for using them," says the Playboy caption.

Miller, on himself: "There must be something perverse about me. What I mean is that I want to be the opposite of what I am, and yet, to be very frank and honest with you, I'm very happy just as I am. I wouldn't want to change a thing. There it is--a frightful contradiction. I admit it shamelessly. I stress this matter of being versus doing, because it's not just my conflict, it's the conflcit of the modern world. We are at the stage now where we can look upon our activity--not our creation, but our activity, and say it stinks. It is the ruination of our world. This busy-bee activity, this senseless activity. That's what I'm against."

Summary of quote topics in this article: Sex; Pornography; Relationships; Appearance; Women; The Real Miller; Pleasures; Painting; Creating; Writing; Eros; Age; Love; Himself; Living; Death.

All photographs (except of Rodann at right) by Bradley Smith.
Model on Playboy cover is Debbie Hanlon, photographed by Dwight Hooker.


Blogger finefettle said...

Glad to see you are back, how's the new job?

6:59 am  
Blogger RC said...

Thanks Finefettle. The job is demanding, but in a good way; a more rewarding way than my previous job.

8:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work on Miller in Playboy, RC. Miller granted an interview to PB in September 1964, an abridged edition of which can be found in THE PLAYBOY INTERVIEW II (1983).
Particularly pertinent are his comments on how docile American men were becoming, and not just in the bedroom!

1:28 pm  
Anonymous xlpharmacy said...

She really was a jewel back then, beautiful pictures, as usual for playboy standards.

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