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 Заголовок сообщения: Релна Брюер / Relna Brewer
СообщениеДобавлено: 28-10-2010, 13:09  
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Откуда: Северная Столица
Статья о ней на английском. Кроме прочего, описан интересный случай как Релна заменила Мэрилин Монро. В аэропорту собралась толпа народа ожидая прибытия Мэрилин и агент Монро попросил Релну надеть черные очки и срртветствующий прикид. Релну выдали за Монро и все фотографировали её и пялились на "звезду". А Монро тем временем незаметно ускользнула.
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Oxygen Sports (WeSweat.com), 2000

I first found Relna Brewer in 1995 in the dusty backroom of the Bettmann Archives. Actually, it was two pictures of Relna that I came upon in a file drawer crammed with ancient photographs from every conceivable sport. Relna’s shots showed a smiling teenager in a modest two-piece bathing suit, flexing her impressive biceps proudly on a California beach. They contained only the briefest of captions: “Relna Brewer, Venice Beach, California, November 22, 1937.”
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My curiosity was piqued. I searched every source I could find for any mention of Relna Brewer, but with no success. I didn’t have a clue why she had been immortalized by a wire-service photographer, but I decided to use the shots on the cover of the young-adult book I was writing, a photohistory of American women in sports called Winning Ways (Holt 1996). The images of this buff bathing beauty seemed the perfect example of the clash of femininity and athleticism, one of the themes of the book.

It wasn’t until after Winning Ways was published that a lucky coincidence led me to the woman in the photos. Relna’s niece, a children’s book author, received a copy of my book to review, and she contacted my publisher to ask us to send Relna a copy. That led to an exchange of letters, then phone calls, and finally, a visit to Relna’s San Diego home, where I finally learned about her trailblazing achievements in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Relna Brewer was one of the first women to frequent Santa Monica’s legendary Muscle Beach, a patch of sand where young and nimble men and women practiced gymnastics routines in front of admiring crowds. Relna’s brother, Paul Brewer, was one of the founders; he helped persuade the city of Santa Monica to install professional parallel bars and high rings for the performers’ use. Paul also convinced his 14-year-old sister to join the group at the beach as part of her recovery from severe burns, the result of a household accident. “I started hanging on the horizontal bar to stretch the scars,” she remembered. “My right shoulder was four inches lower than my left shoulder at the time, but now they’re even.”

What began as therapy quickly turned into a way of life. By the time she was 20, Relna was a weightlifter, a circus trapeze artist, a swimmer, and a skater with the Ice Follies. Weighing only 110 pounds, she could clean and jerk 165 pounds and bench press 150. But her specialty was adagio, the balletic lifts, spins, and balances used in gymnastics and pairs skating. Relna was equally comfortable lifting or being lifted. Magazines showed her supporting three women whose combined weight was more than 300 pounds.

In fact, Relna was a media favorite, thanks in part to the high visibility of the Muscle Beach athletes. Newspapers called her “the world’s strongest girl” and ran articles about her under headlines such as “Dainty but Dynamite,” and “Pretty as a Picture and Stronger Than Most Men.” She was featured in a Movietown News newsreel, tearing a phone book in half, and was offered work as a Hollywood stuntwoman. She ended up doing a half dozen movies, falling off cliffs, barns, and horses in westerns, and gracefully diving off a swinging platform in the Esther Williams film, Million Dollar Mermaid.
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Relna’s stunt work led to one of her most unusual roles, as a decoy for actress Marilyn Monroe. “Her agent didn’t want her besieged by people when she was at the airport, leaving for a trip,” Relna said. “So I’d put on dark glasses and wear the type of dress that she wore, and carry an empty suitcase. I would pose and the photographers would take flash pictures, and the real Marilyn would slip out the back. Then they would give me $150 and I’d go home.”

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Relna Brewer married weightlifter Gordon McRae in 1939; they had a daughter and two sons. Now an 80-year-old widow with four grandchildren, she still keeps in touch with her Muscle Beach pals and she still exercises, taking long walks, stretching, and doing calisthenics. Indeed, one look at Relna’s solid biceps makes it clear that she’s not your typical grandmother. That and the pair of three-pound weights resting at the side of her bed, ready for her next workout.

To learn more about Muscle Beach, check out Remembering Muscle Beach by Harold Zinkin with Bonnie Hearn (Angel City Press, 1999).


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