Ted Withers

When Withers began Painting pin-ups for Brown & Bigelow in 1950, he had already spent twenty-five years working in the Hollywood film industry. He was ready for a change, and so was the calendar company, which assigned him the honor of painting the Artist's Sketch Pad calendar for the 1954 market. Wither's first twelve dreamy pin-ups would be followed by many more in the years to come, until the calendar passed on to Fritz Willis in 1961.

Edward Withers was born in Wellington, New Zealand. After studying at Wellington College, he enrolled at the Royal Academy in London and leter at the South Kensington School of Art and the Slade School of Art. Eager for more training, Withers moved to Paris and the prestigious Académie Julian. During World War I, he saw service in Samoa, Egypt, France and Germany and received three decorations.

In 1924, Withers came to America with his wife and two children. In his Hollywood years, he did a number of celebrity portraits while employed in a series of jobs, including art director at MGM Studios, supervisor in the trick and miniature department at Universal Studios, art director for Earnshaw-Young Advertising Agency. and art director for the Stirling Press Lithograph Company. He also painted fine-art works for his own enjoyment, and his award-winning landscapes were widely exhibited.

In November 1950, at his first Brown & Bigelow cocktail party, Withers was talking with Norman Rockwell when Rolf Armstrong and Gil Elvgren arrived. These two pin-up greats were introduced to Withers, who was bowled over when Armstrong praised him as "one of America's greatest, most versitile painters" and Elvgren, who had a keen interest in photography, added "one of the best photographers in the country".

Withers had an analytical mind, a great personality, and a supurb sense of humor - not to mention the technical skills of Da Vinci. In a letter to Brown & Bigelow, he once described the view from his Hollywood apartment in this way: "At night I look out on a carpet of jewels composed of neon and street lights, and here I work and am grateful that way over the eastern horizon, you nice people multiply my effort and enable me to live very well indeed". He passed away in Los Angeles in early 1964.

Additional Gallery

Ted Withers bio from 'The Great American Pin-Up