Leonard Nimoy in 1952
Feb. 17, 1952: Portrait of actor Leonard Nimoy and actress Mona Knox.
Legally considered a minor at age 20, Leonard Nimoy needed court approval to sign a movie contract.
Assigned to get a portrait of Nimoy, staff photographer Gordon Wallace needed to make it interesting.
Under the headline “It Takes a Pretty Miss to Score With Lensman,” a story in the next day’s Los Angeles Times explained:
When Leonard Nimoy, 20, went before Superior Court Judge Frank G. Swain and received approval of his 10-picture contract with Jack Broder Productions, the next move was to have been in a picture in The Times.
However, the photographer was not impressed with a contract approval in which the minor was the only other guy.
“Who wants to look at a picture of a guy?” he asked logically, for a photographer. Go get a cute tomato and pose with her, and we’ll get your picture in the paper.”
Nimoy left and brought back Mona Knox, with whom he is currently making a picture, “Kid Monk Baroni.”
“I’m a fighter in it, and she’s my feminine interest,” he explained. “She takes my dough in the picture.”
Twenty-two year old Mona, wearing a white sweater and snug skirt, approved his contract that starts at $200 a week, and rises $25 a week every second picture.
The photographer approved of Mona.
Los Angeles Times writer Geoff Boucher first identified this photo and story, which shows the tone (not to mention the casual sexism) of mainstream media coverage of that era, in this 2008 Hero Complex blog post: Leonard Nimoy at age 20, an actor ready to live long and prosper.
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