Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980)

helen douglas


Helen Gahagan Douglas first made her name as an actress and opera singer, and after her Broadway debut in 1922, she was hailed as one of the ten most beautiful women in the world. She gradually traded her successful performing career for political activism and served three terms as member of Congress in the 1940s. Her life in politics, however, came to an abrupt end in 1950 when she ran against Richard Nixon for the Senate. With anti-Communism the central issue of his campaign, Nixon labeled the liberal Douglas the "Pink Lady," jibing that she was "pink down to her underwear." The name-calling worked; Douglas lost by a wide margin, but not before she herself had pinned Nixon with the nickname that would plague him for the rest of his public life, "Tricky Dick."

Douglas's husband, actor Melvyn Douglas, was enchanted with this bust when Isamu Noguchi completed it in 1935. "It looks like you now," he told his wife, and then added the prediction that "it will probably look like you when you are old."

Source: http://www.npg.si.edu/cexh/nwomen/douglas.htm