Look for one of the most notorious fashion icons of the 1970s in this Adam-12 episode
Edy Williams sure knew how to stand out on the red carpet.
Image: The Everett Collection
In the annals of Oscar history, the 46th Academy Awards was a rather memorable affair. A young George Lucas made his debut at the annual ceremony, taking a victory lap for his nostalgic American Graffiti. A 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actress, setting a mark for the youngest actor to ever win an Oscar. The Academy bestowed Groucho Marx with an honorary statue. A streaker named Robert Opel interrupted the proceedings when he sprinted naked across the stage.
And yet, Edy Williams might have upstaged them all on the red carpet.
The 31-year-old bombshell strolled into the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion wearing a leopard-print bikini. A fur coat draped over her shoulder provided a modicum of modesty. Her pet Great Dane, speckled black and white like some lean cow, trotted alongside her on a leash. What else would you expect from the wife of B-movie maven Russ Meyer?
To this day, Williams' animal-print swimsuit ranks as one of the "worst-dressed," "scandalous" and "controversial" looks in Oscars history. It was hardly a stand-alone event in her career. Two decades later, she showed up sporting gold pasties under a sheer black top, trailing a train of black sequins. Sparkle, skin and canines were sort of a recurring theme for the actress and model.
Likewise, 1974 was not the first time the Utah-born attention-getter turned heads. She played up to her stereotype months early on Adam-12. In the opening scene of "Venice Division," Malloy and Reed receive a "311-W" dispatch — indecent exposure at a "community beach."
The officers arrive at the oceanfront to find a crowd gathered around nude sunbather Tammy Warren (Edy Williams). They throw a towel down to cover her. "Oh, go away," she purrs.
Audiences would have certainly been aware of her celebrity and her fashion sense by then. She made her screen debut in 1962 on The Twilight Zone, playing a "Chorus Girl" in the episode "The Dummy." That's her second from the right below:
Four years later, she popped up as Rae, one of Liberace's (well, "Chandell's") henchwomen on Batman. She also appeared on The Beverly Hillbillies and Lost in Space (as the blonde Non in "Two Weeks in Space"). But it was 1970's titillating Beyond the Valley of the Dolls that made her name.
That film was, of course, directed by Russ Meyer, the king of camp and schlock. Williams would become Meyer's third and final wife in that same year. The couple would split in 1975. She hardly needed him to keep the flash bulbs popping.