The Pink Lady of Malibu – 42 Years On

Back in 1966, a giant, naked pink lady suddenly appeared in Malibu Canyon. (Now do I have your attention?) Yes, it’s a bit of local folklore but I go for that sort of thing. She was painted by one Lynne Seemayer, a 31-year old local artist (and evidently quite a daredevil). The Pink Lady, as she seems to be commonly known, existed for only five days before she was painted over by Los Angeles County maintenance workers.

Here’s what the Pink Lady looked like in her fleeting glory:

As a lad of a mere eight summers, I never got the chance to see her “in the flesh” but over the years I’ve met many Malibu locals who were around at the time. Each recalls her in the same wistful reverie, like she’d cast a spell or something.

These days I drive Malibu Canyon a couple times a week, and I always look up at the tunnel entrance where the Pink Lady frolicked ever so briefly.  I got so into the whole mystique of the Pink Lady that I started snapping pictures of her old “canvas” and spent a long time trying to trace her outline, which becomes clearer the more you study it. Here’s a picture I took in June of this year. The Lady stood above and to the left of the light pole in the center of the image:

Pink Lady Site Now

If you look closely, you can still make out her head and torso, her arms sweeping down at an angle, and even a sharp diagonal stripe that was the clutch of flowers in her right hand. (If you right-click the image and choose “Save File”, you can view it full-size on your computer. The blog format squashes the image considerably.)

Here’s a closeup taken with more direct sunlight (I told you I was obsessed, right?).

I wonder if she could be restored by removing her “government issued” shroud of paint? It would be great to see Ms. Seemayer’s work of art return to the light of day. Imagine the guts it took to do this! And alone, at night to boot! People were just cooler, smarter and braver back then, I guess. Well, most of them were: No one seems to recall the names of the county officials who decided the Lady’s fate, but I for one hope they got hounded out of office and out of our state, the fascists!

There’s a lot of information on the web about the Pink Lady, even a nice link on Google Maps — check it all out, And if you happen to be driving up Malibu Canyon Road from PCH, give her a wave. She’s still up there, smiling down on us.

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19 Responses to “The Pink Lady of Malibu – 42 Years On”

  1. I’m glad you like my picture that I took on November 1, 1966. Would be nice to have a credit line.
    Best regards
    Barry O. Balin

  2. Tim Ahern says:

    Barry,

    Did you stand in the middle of the road, when you took the photo?
    I just tried to duplicate your position the other day with my camera. I’m thinking about restoring the painting or repainting it.

    Tim Ahern

  3. admin says:

    Tim,

    I’d be happy to help out on a restoration. Thought of doing it myself, maybe adding a bikini so as not to offend the puritans. But the bikini would be done in water-based paint so it would wash off after a good rainfall (if we ever get one, that is).

    J

  4. Barry O. Balin says:

    Tim,
    Sorry for the long delay in answering your question. Yes I did stand in the middle of the road. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it worked!

  5. Terry Welden says:

    I went to high school with Lynne Seemayer’s son Steven. He was a very talented up and coming artist with some intrest in film making. Anyone have any idea where he is today?

  6. admin says:

    Terry,
    Whatever became of Lynne herself? I’ve wondered about that more than any other aspect of the artwork.
    Thanks,

    J

  7. namowal says:

    Glad to know there’s someone who’s as curious about the Pink Lady (and what’s left of her today!)
    My very first blog post compared a contemporary photo with the original painting, pointing out where you could still discern her outline.

  8. admin says:

    Hi namowal,

    Yes, I’m one of the one’s who commented on your blog about the Pink Lady. Small world!

    J

  9. DB says:

    As a lad of roughly the same eight summers, maybe six, I recall the media hoopla about the event & my parents took me on a drive to see it as it wasn’t far from where we lived in the San Fernando Valley.

    Now & then I think of that day and recall the joy of youth and a time when my parents were still alive.

    I look at those old photos & think to myself, it wasn’t a bad piece of art. But then again, what man ever looks at a beautiful woman and doesn’t think so….. even if she was pink.

  10. DB says:

    With reference to the inquiry from Admin, I found a link from 2005 where the artist (now named Lynn Westmore) was showing her artwork in the San Fernando Valley.

    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:g7qCAGvcc48J:artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles1996/Articles0396/Ellis.html+Lynne+Westmore+artist&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

  11. Bob Atherton says:

    I lived in Topanga canyon at that time and drove through the tunnel and was fortunate enough to have taken a 4×5 picture of the lady. I was looking at an old photo album and found it. It is fun to revisit this.

    I’m now pushing 62

  12. Jim says:

    Leave it the local authorities to take the painting of a beautiful women and cover it over with brown paint — a real illustration of the depraved and unimaginative infrastructure which controls this country.

  13. Robert Baldwin says:

    My favorite saying is to never let the facts screw up a good story. I was 9-10 years old at the time of the pink lady. I was told that the artist and county went to court on this issue. The county spent alot of money trying to sandblast and paint over the pink lady.the county of L.A. wanted Seemayer to pay for the clean up or cover up. It was thrown out of court because it was on private property. That the story I have told for years. could be total B S . Also I was told its Chris Frosts sister.

  14. Nile Hight says:

    Has anyone ever actually made any calls or started a campaign to restore the Pink Lady?

  15. admin says:

    Not to my knowledge, but it’s a great idea. Care to get the ball rolling?

  16. John Cougar says:

    I love it! I also grew up in San Fernando (Woodland Hills). Happiest time of my life in fact. Anyways, I was probably seven or eight at the time and remember the kid across the street telling me about it. I think his mom took us for a ride to Malibu just to check it out. We didn’t see it. It must have been right after they painted over it. I remember thinking that it looked like some kind of ghost or something (the paint covering it, that is) and thought anybody who saw a nude lady in that was crazy.

    Sadly, we moved from the valley when I was ten and the whole thing was only a vague memory that I thought may have all been just b.s. my friend had told me. Fun to find out that she really existed. I’m also somewhat obsessed with her and that entire place and time…God, I loved that time…Too bad we can’t turn back the hands of time, huh?

    Would anyone have the balls to haul off and do that today? Hell, there’d be a hundred cops, land use officers, epa and a pack of lawyers breathing down the artist’s neck if she tried it today.

    Thanks for the memories, Zumajim. btw my earliest memory is burying my older brother up to his neck in sand at Zuma. I loved it. Someday I’ll return…someday…

  17. Greg Lasley says:

    I would love to buy a poser size photo of the “pink lady” for my office.
    Are any available ?

  18. admin says:

    Hey Greg,

    Yeah, wouldn’t we all like one! I don’t know if anyone offers a poster but if they do I’ll make sure to let you know.

    ZJ

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