Audrey Munson arguably the world’s first supermodel and the muse of some of the most established artists of her time. Her features are immortalized in dozen of works dotted around the US and in both the public sphere and private collections including the famed statue still on top of the Manhattan Municipal building ad off Alxender woman’s civic fame and the young Munson had been set on a life on show from a very young age although her passion back then in the early 1900s was to be a stage performer her ambitions were supported by her mother who raised her daughter alone following a divorce and as soon as Munson finished school the pair moved to New York with big dreams in the big apple.
The teen Munson soon found her way onto the stage however fate would intervene in another way when as she strolled along the city street one day a photographer asked to take her picture this Munson eventually allowed and she also agreed that the photographer could show his friend the snap that friend happened to be eminent Viennese sculptor ICI door and as it turned out Conti was keen to have months on model for him but on the condition that she posed naked Audrey’s mother at first was totally against this prospect finally though she acquiesced and the young woman took her first steps in a career that would see her become famous indeed that first job would lead to many more word of Munson’s unique beauty quickly spread as a result she soon found herself in demand as a model for a whole host of celebrated artists as it was a stunning rise for the girl for Rochester who hid her career peak while still only in her early to mid 20s fame would also follow along with a remarkable nickname given to her by the press the real miss Manhattan.
The starlet found herself becoming a bona fide celebrity in fact with the media attention and adulation that all often entails as the toast of Newyork city she saw what it was like to live the high life and mingled with the big Apple’s elite prestigious soiree what’s more Munsoon’s mounting popularity eventually helped her NEB her most significant modeling gig to date she would be the one posing for around 60% of the sculptures and other works of art prepared for 1915 panama-pacific international exposition a world’s fair held that year in San Francisco primarily to commemorate the opening of the panama canal the incredible exposure Munson experienced through this huge international event was a turning point in her career she caught the eye of those at the now-defunct movie studio American film company and was offered a huge break as a result Audrey would now be the lead in a silent movie titled inspiration the 1915 released film told the story of the young models unlikely climbed to fame a plot that bears more than a little resemblance to Munson’s own life history of course and just as she had done for a seed or conti and since she posed nude on screen becoming the first lead actress to ever do so for a big movie perhaps understandably for the time the inspiration was controversial but then Munson wasn’t one to be swayed easily by others opinions on what she should and shouldn’t be doing infact Munson strong independent character and stance on women’s rights were both rather progressive for the period much to her fathers chagrin, in particular, Munson’s father Edgar wasn’t a fan of his daughter career choices more of what she did with the money she had accured from her modeling and burgeoning movie career.
She spends it just like water he remarks to a reporter perhaps Munson thought that wealth would just come rolling in for a lot longer sadly though that wasn’t to be a tragic turn of events would, in fact, overshadow Munson’s career and seemingly put paid to her reputation
In 1919 she found her name brought into a murder case involving her erstwhile landlord Dr Walter Keane Wilkins had reportedly taken a fancy to his beautiful former tenant with his admiration turning obsessive Wilkins was arrested for murdering his wife and reportedly confessed to police that he committed the crime so that he could marry Munson he was found guilty at trial and subsequently given the death penalty after Wilkins confession the police hunted down Munson for questioning in Canada where she had traveled to on business. Munson was not charged with any crime nevertheless brutal rumors surrounded her part in the whole sordid affair her once-thriving career left in tatters Munson and her mother moved to the sleepy town of Mexico NewYork.
In 1920 there Munson’s mom had to resort to traveling from house to house peddling silverware in order to support the pair collapse of a romantic engagement who was reported eventually pushed Munson over the edge psychologically that and her financial troubles may have been behind the fallen stars suicide attempt in 1922 fortunately though she survived Munson’s increasingly erratic behavior though led to her to be sent to a psychiatric hospital.
in 1931 where she tragically remained for the next few decades a reprieve of sorts came when Munson reached her 90s and was relocated to a nursing home unfortunately though her trips to a local bar unbeknownst to those who were taking care of her meant that once again Munson would be institutionalized and for the rest of her days.
Munson would pass away in 1996 at the age of 104 the end of her life barely acknowledged by the world that had once celebrated her all those years ago she was laid to rest in an unmarked grave a shockingly and despairingly sad end to a once glittering existence.