Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Linda Vargas, Miss December 1957

Color work by Herbert Melford, b&w by Mike Shea.

Lithe as a cat, a satiny, black, unblinking cat, and restless as a cat, too, is lovely Linda Vargas.

(“Siren in Search.” Playboy, December 1957.)

When I end up with that many commas in a sentence, I try and revise it to a less awkward phrasing. But the older I get, the faster and more loosely I play with comma rules, anyway, so I should shut my critical piehole.

She stalks Chicago’s foggy lake-front streets, wanders alone through the labyrinthine corridors of the Art Institute …


… sits by herself sometimes in a club, listening to the muted wail of a trumpet as it weaves through her consciousness like a caress.


A trumpety caress? Anyone who’s ever seen a spit valve emptied finds that simile as gross as I do.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by this point that this write-up is not much of a write-up, but instead is a little noir vignette from a writer with much higher aspirations than “What were you like growing up? Have you always known you’d one day take your clothes off for money.” This frustrated, anonymous Playboy pencil-pusher produced sort of a weird poetic-prose character capsule and not an article about Ms. Vargas at all.

The work would have been very at home in a mystery magazine from the same era, maybe Dime Detective or even something higher brow like Ellery Queen, but it’s weirdly “off” for Playboy. It goes on:

Self-involved and unsatisfied, Linda searches for a purpose and fulfillment that she herself cannot define.


Wow. But don’t get any ideas that she’s a loner —

— She knows how to please a man when she wishes.

It is by choice, of course, that she spends much of her time alone, for Linda is beautiful and she knows how to please a man when she wishes. But most often she prefers her own contemplative company and the search.


When a writer uses “for” in lieu of “because” in anything but write-like-Nathaniel-Hawthorne-for-charity situations, it sort of sets my teeth on edge. Let’s see if we can find out some actual facts about Linda Vargas and not this murky, radio-serial voice-over malarkey.

This one is my favorite.

A troll through the wiki finds no individual entry for Ms. Vargas, but does describe her on a list of 1957 Playboy appearances.

Vargas, who began modeling when she was a teenager, had a steady career before and after her Playmate appearance as a model and bit actress.

Frequent Playboy photographer Peter Gowland used images of her in many of his instruction books.

The Gowlands and their fun and important contributions to the history of cheesecake have been explored here, before. Super-cool connection.

Wiki may have let me down, but good ol’ Java’s Bachelor Pad thankfully had more to add.

Linda Vargas didn’t have the most successful career as a glamour girl, nor is she remembered except by the most ardent Femme Fatale fan, but she was one of those rare models who had that spark that made her pictures come alive.

(“Femme Fatale: Linda Vargas.” Java’s Bachelor Pad. 2007.)

Linda Vargas, as happened with most models in the glamour era, was compared to already famous actresses/models. In this case the comparison was to Ava Gardner, even though that seems like a bit of a stretch.


Agreed. A resemblance to Ava is cursory at best. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually think that with the limpid eyes and fuller mouth, Linda is more arresting than Ms. Gardner.

On the other hand, Ava Gardner had such a star presence that it’s hard to separate her just-plain-picture from my associations of the animation she brought to the roles she played onscreen.

As far as current star resemblances go, Linda Vargas looks a lot like Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd, though, wouldn’t you say?

Original article scans.

Vargas started modeling when she was 15, was the cover model and centerfold in the December 1957 issue of Playboy, and was pretty much done with modeling by the mid 1960’s.


Haven’t got the least clue what she’s up to these days. Coming up total goose-eggs on searches. If you know anything, drop me a line. I’d saved the bathtub picture of her, like, four years ago and was looking forward to a more complete Linda Vargas entry. So let me know — I hate unfinished business.

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10 Responses to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Linda Vargas, Miss December 1957”

  1. Music&Meaning Says:

    these lovely photos were taken 3 years before i was born…50 cents!…”downward to darkness on extended wings” RT

  2. Arthur Says:

    I discovered your blog a while ago when peering through the old delightful Playboy pictures you included in your blog. If I keep visiting it now though it is thanks to your elegant writing. Thanks.

  3. Ron Says:

    I found your blog while reading an interesting article and doing some searching it turns out Ms Linda Vargas whereabouts are unknown, like she went missing.

    It’s an interesting article with cause of death for a number of famous playboy models.

  4. Jerry Sinkovec (@JerryQuill) Says:

    Her real name is Pat Krest and is half Irish and Cherokee Indian. I knew her in Chicago when she was 16 and I think to young to be in Playboy at the time. She was stunning

  5. JerrySinkovec@jerryquill Says:

    It’s rather sad. One of her relatives contacted me after my earlier post asking me about Linda and I told them about Linda and myself and our relationship. And they told me that she died of a drug overdose in 1973. She is the third extremely stunningly beautiful woman I’ve known in my life that died of a drug overdose. I guess having great beauty doesn’t mean you’ll be happy.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Jerry-Sometimes those are the Women that are so attractive, they are unapproachable to the average guy and as such are very lonely.

  6. Duke Says:

    Linda Vargas, under the name Patricia Crest, acted in a few movies and TV shows in the late fifties and early sixties, among them “Strait-Jacket,” in which she and Lee Majors were hacked to death by Joan Crawford. Here’s a still of the two of them:

    And here’s her IMDb page:

  7. Aitch Cee S Says:

    Her whereabouts are unknown is all I have found.

  8. Aitch Cee S Says:

    She was a favorite of glamor photog. Peter Gowland. Jerry I wish you will tell us more!

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