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October 21, 2011

Celebrities in the Air: 33 Fabulous Portraits of Famous People Jumping Taken in the 1950s and ’60s by Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman, who had 101 LIFE covers to his credit when he died in 1979, felt a portrait that did not show psychological insight was “an empty likeness” of its subject.

Rolleiflex in hand and tongue in cheek, he invented his own Rorschach test – “jumpology” – and talked his subjects into becoming airborne in the interest of science.

Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, Marilyn Monroe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are among the celebrities he launches into orbit.

Marilyn Monroe and Philippe Halsman, 1954

The Cat Girl, Lilly Christine, 1953

Duke & Dutchess of Windsor, 1956

Grace Kelly, 1959

Richard Nixon, 1955

Eva Marie Saint, 1954

Dick Clark, 1952

Dianna Dorrs, 1956

Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1958

Dali with three girls, 1949

Weegee, 1961

Edward Steichen, 1955

Mike Wallace, 1957

Marilyn Monroe, 1959

Lena Horne, 1954

Murray Kempton, 1956

Tamara Toumanova, 1953

Sophia Loren, 1959

Aldous Huxley, 1958

Brigitte Bardot, 1951

Danny Kaye, 1954

Benny Goodman, 1957

Gisele MacKenzie, 1956

Harold Lloyd, 1950

Jackie Gleason, 1955

Edward Villela, 1961

Janet Leigh, 1951

Jean Seberg with cat, 1959

Adam Clayton Powell, 1959

Ed Sullivan, 1955

Donald O'Connor, 1952

Jayne Mansfield, 1953

Audrey Hepburn, 1955


  1. A great selection of images that reveal a great deal about the photographer and the subjects. Thanks for putting them together.

  2. the chimp J Fred Muggs is still alive today :)




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