Pamela Tiffin – 1960s It Girl that was supposed to be the Next Audrey Hepburn
Big hair, big lashes – in the early 1960s, Pamela Tiffin was being called the “next Audrey Hepburn” and had her own signature look. She had the same classic beauty and grace, and she starred in a few well-received movies, like “Summer and Smoke” and “One, Two, Three“. However, her career didn’t quite take off like many people expected it to. And while other stars from the time went on to become household names, Pamela Tiffin seemingly never achieved the same level of stardom, even though she was on track to be one of the It Girls of her generation. Is there a sad Hollywood story or did she wanted a more quiet life for herself? Who was Pamela Tiffin what happened to her? In this article we’ll explore Pamela Tiffin’s life and work, and try to answer these questions.
Pamela Tiffin early life and modelling days
Pamela Tiffin was born in 1942 in Oklahoma City. Her father was a successful businessman, and her mother was a homemaker. Pamela had two older sisters. When she was a child, her family moved to Dallas, Texas where she attended private schools growing up. She graduated from Highland Park High School in 1960. That same year, she enrolled at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. However, she only stayed there for one semester before dropping out to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
In 1961, Pamela’s modeling career took off when she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. She also started getting acting roles around this time. She then went on to model for some of the biggest names in fashion, including Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Tiffin also appeared in magazines like Vogue, Life, and Newsweek. A lot of iconic Pamela Tiffin photos come from this era that are still circulating platforms like Pinterest on boards full of 1960s models and actresses.
Rise and fall of Pamela’s acting career
Her first movie role was in the film “Summer and Smoke,” which was based on a Tennessee Williams play. She also appeared in the film “The Horizontal Lieutenant” that year. Billy Wilder, the director of “The Horizontal Lieutenant,” was so impressed with Pamela that he predicted she would be the next Audrey Hepburn. And indeed, many people saw similarities between the two actresses. Pamela Tiffin was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Most Promising Newcomer” in 1962.
However, despite all this promise, Pamela’s career never quite took off like everyone expected it to. She continued to work as an actress throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but she never became a major movie star. So what happened? Pamela’s career stalled in the late 1960s. She made several films that were not well-received by critics or audiences. By the early 1970s, she was mostly appearing in made-for-television movies.
There are a few theories as to why she never went on to become a household name. One is that Pamela was simply too beautiful, that it was hard for people to take her seriously as an actress. Let’s remember that this was a very different time and unfortunately sexism was alive and well in Hollywood. Not that we live in a perfect world now, however as a society we’ve made a lot of positive changes during the last couple of decades.
American Girl in Italy
The other theory is that she didn’t have the same drive and ambition as other actresses of her generation. Or she simply wanted something else. Not long after making a 1965 film “Oggi, domani, dopodomani” with Marcello Mastroianni, she pretty much abandoned Hollywood and went on to star in Italian films. In 1967, Tiffin decided to move to Italy, she was quoted telling The Los Angeles Times that she is moving to Italy “to find out what I want“. Which, I believe, many of us can relate to.
While in Italy she starred in several films like “I protagonisti” and “L’arcangelo“. Even after going back to America, Italy seemed to be calling her as Pamela returned to Italy to make several movies over the years. Tiffin released a memoir, “Daring: My Passages” in 2014 and a biography of her life, “Pamela Tiffin: Hollywood to Rome,” where she talks about her experiences in Italy.
In 1974, when Pamela was in her early 30s, she decided to retire from acting. Which was not what Hollywood had predicted for her. Whatever the reason, Pamela Tiffin’s career never reached the heights that many people predicted it would. But she remains a fascinating figure from Hollywood’s golden era, and an example of what might have been.
Pamela Tiffin personal life and later years
Pamela Tiffin was married twice. Her first marriage was to an American magazine editor, Clay Felker. They got married in 1962 and divorced in 1969. Her second marriage was to Edmondo Danon, a philosopher and son of the Italian movie producer Marcello Danon. They got married in 1974 and had two daughters, Echo and Aurora. Pamela Tiffin died during the pandemic on December 2nd, 2020. Pamela Tiffin cause of death was not disclosed. She was 78 years old at the time of her death.
Even though she never quite became the next Audrey Hepburn, Pamela Tiffin definitely left her mark on the 1960s and 1970s fashion and movie scenes both in Hollywood and Italy. In her later years, she didn’t make many public appearances, which has only added to the mystery surrounding her.