Miss February 1973 was the lovely and talented Cynthia Wood, a model and actress from an established Hollywood family.
Her mother was an actress, her father a recording-company executive and, as a Hollywood native to boot, Cyndi naturally gravitated to the entertainment world. “My parents’ friends were actors, producers and directors; my friends were their sons and daughters.”
“For as long as I can remember, my life was nothing but lessons.” Cyndi admits that there were times she felt pressured. “Whenever there was a school play, I’d try out for it. Whenever the chorus auditioned, I was there. Between those activities and my dance and music instruction, I had little time to think about what I wanted to do.” But she’s far from bitter about the experience. “I’ve always liked being in the spotlight,” says Cyndi.
No complaints from this corner. You keep on shining, kiddo. Psst. This playful shoot by Pompeo Posar has a fun theme that sends up Cyndi’s Beverly Hills background; see if you can guess it before the end when I display the spoiler picture.
(If this pictures does not asplode your brain with its cuteness, you have an old and joyless soul.)
For a while, our Playmate tried her hand at fashion designing (“just for myself”), songwriting and even sound engineering (“I do some great mixing and can work off any 16-track”).
Well, hey, Mr. Deejay. That is pretty cool shit. I do not imagine a lot of ladies were doing that, even by ’73. (Cue slew of vitriolic emails from the Historical Society of Female Deejays Against Boobies. It’s cool because I always wanted a reason to talk to Samantha Ronson.)
“I love being in front of people,” Cyndi says. “I suppose it appeals to the actress in me. In fact, much of my work in commercials calls for acting. Sometimes I even get a chance to sing and dance, too, and that’s great.” (“Class Act,” Playboy, February 1973)
Some of Cyndi’s credits include Warren Beatty’s Shampoo and, even more prestigiously, Apocalypse Now, in which she played the Playmate of the Year (breathtaking range, like, are you blown away?). You can check that out on the youtube. Her scenes in the 1979 theatrical release of Coppola’s masterpiece were brief though memorably jiggly, but in the 2001 Redux directors’ cut release, her part was expanded significantly.
IN MY SPARE TIME: I sew and design clothes and write and sing tunes.
GREAT FOODS: Spaghetti and stew.
I LOVE BEING A PLAYMATE: Because it pays well and it’s great publicity. I also have no hang-ups about nudity when it’s in the right place or situation.
(Playmate data sheet)
Heck, yeah, spaghetti and nudity. Ms. Wood, you have won my hard heart. You may slide on up to Northern California any ol’ time to hoark down some pasta and marinara with me while we sew and sing “Hello, Dolly!”
In some of these pictures she looks like Sharon Tate when she had her hair strawberry blonde for Polanski’s Fearless Vampire Killers (the picture they met making), and it’s kind of weirding me out. Is anyone else seeing it? Bueller? No? Just me, then? Cool.
According to the imdb, “Cynthia gave an especially lively and winning performance as sassy spitfire Moon in the enjoyable drive-in comedy romp Van Nuys Blvd.” I have not seen this 1979 film, so I cannot speak to claims of her lively winningness, but the imdb offers the following lines as “memorable quotes:”
Officer Albert Zass: Why won’t you help me?
Biker: Because you’re The Man, man.
Bobby: If we don’t get a doctor down here right now out I’m gonna shut your mouth permanently!
Nurse: You cant talk to me like that!
Bobby: Oh, I can’t, can’t I?
[slams fist down]
Nurse: Okay, okay! Stay right there.
This Bobby seems like a rough young customer. Nurses are nice people, mister. Show some respect — that woman went to school to help sick people. Sheesh. The description of the movie mentions “topless dancers,” so, two guesses what part Ms. Wood played.
Besides making appearances as herself on “The Sonny and Cher Show” (awesome) and “The Jim Stafford Show” (I’m too young to reckon at all what that was), Cyndi did CSA (that’s casting agent) work for Michael Lesner, which is either a typo or his completed projects have not made it on to imdb. A mystery.
That was the theme of the shoot. Go back and look at the pictures and see how the story comes together. Cute, right? I think it’s cute. I suppose I should be chagrined and outraged or whatever by the “Rich Bitch” slogan, but I think it’s funny. Besides, didn’t I hear that women had, like, reclaimed the word “bitch” or some such? I don’t remember, I was probably busy ironing and cooking a roast while serenely giving birth. All with a book balanced on my head to practice posture. That’s the kind of good old-fashioned second-class class I’m bringing to the picnic. Hope you can keep up.
These days, Ms. Wood is actually Doctor. Despite admitting to some aimless early-on academic meandering in her Playboy interview, it seems she finally found a true interest and pursued it with admirable tenacity, earning a Ph.D. in psychology. That should keep her in zebra-skin rugs and studded tank tops quite adequately. Rock on, gorgeous!