Context: 1964,1965. More On Paige’s Lawyer Marvin Mitchelson. Who Is Photographer Peter Gowland?

1964 At this stage, after winning 1 million for Pamela Mason, Marvin Michelson has a steadily increasing clientele, consisting primarily of Beverly Hills and Hollywood women against rich and powerful men; most often their husbands. Paige Young is one of his divorcing clients who has no money to pay him up front.

NEW YORK, NY – CIRCA 1979: Marvin Mitchelson, Celebrity divorce lawyer circa 1979 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Later this year, Michelson represents legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline.

LAT Dec. 22, 1964

Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. Father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to friend and potential car thief Rex Ramsey. Still he wasn’t in a league with rich and famous My Fair Lady composer Alan Lerner.

Both men did have a couple things in common: estranged wives represented by rising lawyer Marvin M. Michelson. The other is being found in contempt of court by failing to pay alimony to these estranged wives.

1965-Marvin Michelson goes hard on Mark Segal this year. For every month Mark fails to make his monthly alimony payment to Paige and the lawyer’s fees, Michelson files a contempt suit in court.

And it turned out to be all 12 months. (documents in collection of author.)

Mark is held in contempt in April of 1965 for making only one payment on his 6 months of alimony obligation. Many documents were filed over this divorce from 64-69. The record dept. gave me a duplicate copy of the pile of documents.

Tucson Daily Citizen Aug. 3, 1957

1963-1965 It was around this time I think, Paige meets and models for famous photographer Peter Gowland. She may have met Alice Gowland later, 67/68. The Gowlands would produce Paige’s Playboy magazine centerfold published in November of 1968. 

Looking over many photos of Paige, some were clearly taken at different times in her life, different hair lengths, eyebrow shape etc. They are all credited to Peter Gowland. Richard Sample confirmed to me that Paige had known and modeled for Gowland already several years before her Playboy centerfold issue was released in November of 1968. See chapter on Richard Sample interview.

By the 1960s, LA native Peter Gowland and his wife Alice, had already enjoyed a thriving photography business for over a decade.

They were one of a small number husband and wife pin-up photography teams in the Los Angeles area.

The “pin-up model” was transforming along with photography styles and equipment, lighting, appeal as a hobby, in the 1950s. Peter and Alice Gowland were at the forefront of the genre and the business.

Their specialty was selling glamour, cheesecake, swimsuit, and “artistic nude” photos for use in different types of men’s magazines,  girlie calendars, mainstream commercial work and many photography instructional books.

Petaluma newspaper July 25, 1957

Peter himself was often featured in magazines for amateur photographers, he not only built his own outdoor sets by hand at his Rustic Canyon home, he invented a large format 4×5 camera he named the Gowlandflex. Throughout the 50s and 60s, Peter and Alice Gowland photographed many well-known glamour models such as the legendary model and nudist Diane Webber. Webber appears on the latest paperback edition of Gay Talese’s book: Thy Neighbor’s Wife, one of the first books I read about the hidden side of Hugh Hefner and Playboy.

Other subjects were famous in the day starlet/models Mara Corday, Saundra Edwards, Linda Vargas, Jayne Mansfield and Elsa Sorensen aka Mrs. Guy Mitchell, all Playboy Playmates. Saundra Edwards is mentioned in the above article. She would go one to kill her husband, actor Tom Gilson, in self-defense when he drunkenly approached Saundra during a separation, demanding to see his son. This happened in Oct. of 1962 in Van Nuys.

Ogden Standard-Examiner Oct. 11, 1962
Popular cover girl and early Playboy Playmate Saundra Edwards

Saundra Edwards already had two children by a previous marriage.

Other notable models who worked for the Gowlands were model and swimsuit designer Barbara Osterman, mid-century pop culture phenomenon  Vicki “The Back” Dougan, Julie Newmar (pre-Cat Woman) Tina Louise (pre-Gilligan’s Island) cult movie actress Edy Williams, starlets Yvette Mimeux and Venetia Stevenson. And many more.

A big thank you to Michael for this information and history Please checkout his website for an in-depth discussion of the Gowlands and other photographers from the classic era of postwar glamour and pin-up photography.

The Gowlands produced dozens of instruction manuals from the 50s through the 80s at least. Some were magazine format and others were hardback books. 3 examples below from my collection.

Interest in Figure or Artistic nude photography, grew in the 1950s culture as did photography as a hobby. This edition is from 1961. Cover model is Colleen Whitman.

1961 Meiling Gordon cover model
1969 No credit for cover model

Many of them pushed boundaries for nudity (topless) standards or simulation of nudity, (naked back turned toward the camera, almost see-through garments etc.) for the times.

The Gowlands did publish a few photos with obvious frontal nudity in a small number of instructional books

Mainly though, it was swimsuit attire.

Peter Gowland is well-known (Alice less so) for contributing to the Playboy magazine Playmate feature in the 50s and 60s. (list below)

Most fans know Paige Young was the last of the Gowland’s Playmates with her feature in November of 1968.

The other Playboy Playmates are:

Lynn Turner (Miss Jan. 1956)

Elsa Sorensen (Miss Sept. 1956)

Saundra Edwards (Miss March 1957)

Jean Jani (Miss July 1957)

Dolores Donlon (Miss Aug. 1957)

Judi Monterey (Miss Jan. 1963)

Susan Denberg (Miss Aug. 1966)

Joey Gibson (Miss June 1967)

Peter Gowland has has a type of fame, but not one that is necessarily “mainstream” fame. He has more of a cult status.

He was more mainstream in the 50s and 60s when clothed pin up models were used in a myriad of ways in mass media culture.

Beauty contests of all kinds flourished in the 1950s and 60s.

Southern California was a hub for all kinds of beauty contests and displays of physicality, for example the Venice Beach “muscle” scene.

Peter Gowland was a judge at several of these contests in Los Angeles per newspaper articles in archives.

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