Saturday, May 26, 2012

Peggy Lipton –– The Prettiest + Coolest Lady

In 2007, I read Peggy Lipton's autobiography Breathing Out. Around the same time, I bought and began watching Seasons 1-4 of The Mod SquadI got on the Peggy Lipton train and never looked back. Soon after, I featured Ms. Lipton in two of my videos, Undun by The Guess Who and my style compilation video, Classic.Sporty.Chic. 
I never had a chance to watch 'The Mod Squad' before–––on TV or in reruns–––although I'd been trying to watch it for years. I went on a binge of sorts with it when I finally got the chance. In fact, when I created Retro Active Critiques, it was out of my desire to write posts about shows like 'The Mod Squad' and people like Peggy Lipton. 

That's why she's had a permanent home here on the right rail. ––––>
There's so much to love and admire about Peggy Lipton, I hardly know where to begin. Superficially, in my eyes, she's one of the most naturally beautiful women of all time. She was, and remains today, an effortlessly lovely woman. 
This is my opinion, but Peggy Lipton always pops in my mind when I think 'pretty'. She's the prettiest woman I've ever seen. 
Here are some especially lovely, rare photos of her by Guy Webster-Globe. (They're not easy to access, but still worth posting here.)
Other actresses might be considered beautiful, gorgeous, stunning–––and she fits any of those descriptions, as well–––but I equate the word 'pretty' with her. If I had to place a photo in a dictionary entree for 'pretty' (not that we have 'dictionaries' anymore) I'd add one of Peggy Lipton. 
She's always been natural in her acting methods, not to mention in her personal style. She wasn't a highly trained actress, having started out as a commercial model for Eileen Ford.
Peggy Lipton, Clairol Deb Star of The Year, 1965
While developing her character Julie Barnes in 'The Mod Squad', she found that she was comfortable with nailing a certain look for Julie, and a mood, and just sticking with that each time. Rolling with it. The method worked, and she was nominated for playing Julie numerous times during awards seasons. She even won a Golden Globe in 1971 for her portrayal.
Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes
Despite being raised on Long Island, the only daughter of fairly conservative Jewish parents, Peggy Lipton came to embody the cool California girl with her long-running stint as Julie Barnes on 'The Mod Squad', a runaway from San Francisco who gets arrested for vagrancy in LA, only to become an undercover cop. 
'The Mod Squad' might feel somewhat dated today–––although I love the key players' style and lingo, especially when Linc Hayes stoically says 'solid' to mean he gets it (in just about any situation.) But the drama still holds up and remains effective in many ways. And one of the greatest charms of the show is Peggy Lipton's manner of playing the sweet, gentle and resourceful Julie Barnes.
The Mod Squad with kitties. Solid.
The Mod Squad
On the show, Julie always has a soft spot for her friends and fellow undercover cops, Pete and Linc. The three of them seek justice while still being distrustful of 'The Man'. The show was a hit because it touched on topics of the time with sincerity and poignancy. Peggy Lipton's soulful, kind eyes and demeanor were a perfect fit for the show's vibe.
Julie Barnes' empathetic nature extended into Peggy Lipton's personal life, as well. Her relationships ran the gamut of (what I consider to be) very different men. She's someone who I would say never had a 'type'. I believe she was simply attracted to a certain man for his spirit.
Prior to becoming a household name, she had a short-lived (publicity-based) 'date' with Paul McCartney, after which she became the sort of classic 'who's that girl' story, with newspapers the next day posting her photo and everyone wondering who she was.
Paul and Peggy, newspaper clipping
Other notable men she (actually) dated include Terence Stamp, Keith Moon, music producer Lou Adler, Sammy Davis, Jr., even Elvis Presley (and her candid story about her The King was especially touching to read in her book.) Of course, she fell for and married Quincy Jones. The greatest similarity these men shared, as far as I can tell, is that–––apart from Terence Stamp–––they're all musicians. Something I find interesting about Peggy Lipton is how open her heart has always seemed to be, which is a beautiful way to be. 
Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peggy Lipton
Lou Adler and Peggy Lipton
Peggy Lipton and Terence Stamp
Back when she and Quincy Jones got married, it was still very unusual to be a mixed-race couple. Peggy Lipton never cared for a moment what people would think. Her carefree and kind spirit shines right through, which is why she is so beautiful on the surface. She and Quincy Jones have two lovely daughters together, Rashida and Kadida, and they remain very close despite the fact they're no longer married.
Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton
Peggy Lipton with her family
Speaking of music, Peggy Lipton also sang for a while. Her voice didn't have a massive range, but she put a lot of soul and style into her vocals. Her voice suited the confessional, pretty style of the 1970's, and she was able to put it to use on several of her own albums.
Peggy Lipton's single for 'Stoney End' & 'San Francisco Glide'
Musical Peggy
Peggy Lipton recording
In the clip above, Peggy Lipton sings on 'The Mod Squad'. 'She's now. She's where it's at.' That's how Sammy Davis, Jr. introduced his friend Peggy to his audience, below.
As if all of that wasn't cool enough, Peggy Lipton also portrayed Norma Jennings on 'Twin Peaks'. The lovely Norma is my favorite character in that show, and that's also because of Peggy Lipton. I'm not sure that character would have struck me the way she did if someone else had played Norma.
Peggy Lipton as the lovely Norma Jennings
Which brings me back to the Peggy Lipton who still remains incredibly charming and beautiful today. This is how a natural and effortless woman can look at 65 (!) even after beating colon cancer. Extra kudos to her for looking this great in a sea of plastic women who succumb to the pressures of Hollywood at her age. She's a woman who inspires me in many ways.

How to age well... Peggy Lipton


  1. She is lovely and refreshing but no singer as she freely admits in her book. She was tormented by sexual abuse and affection withheld at early age. Her family life was strained because of preoccupied parents and hidden secrets. It produced symptoms of "border line personality syndrome" and the need to feel wanted and secure. I lived this life too on a lessor plane and had the same kind of family life and shared history. Her parents didn't mean to withhold love but were absorbed in their own lives and the restraints of the day. I am 53 and I still have those days with my parents but it is what it is. We can let it mold us or we can take the reins.

  2. martin.5736@yahoo.comOctober 26, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    i grew up with the mod squad i'm 55 now an peppy lipton still has a place in my soul.she is an always will be a lady that won young american boys hearts,with her shy atitude.when you see her for the first time,her eyes hit you with love.alot of pretty words could go on n on but she says it all, when she walks into a room, with a glow around her. i keep it in my music bout her.peace n love.

  3. I stumbled upon your blog post today as I was "googling" Peggy Lipton. I loved reading and seeing the photos. I actually was not sure who she was, I was too young and did not grow up with the Mod Squad. I actually thought she was the ice skater (realized that was Peggy Flemming). For some reason I was drawn to this book though. As it was very very cheap (used book store) I picked it up and read it in a weekend. Fascinated by her story, I spent the day googling her to find out more. She seems like a cool/interesting person. Would love to know what she is up to these days...
    For some reason though her story resonated with me. Thanks for putting your post up!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you found the post and enjoyed it :-D

  4. Peggy Lipton is the most beautiful woman on the planet. An opinion I've held since I was 7 (I'll be 49 in Oct.), and I will hear no arguments to the contrary.

  5. No argument here, Anonymous –– sorry for the delayed reply!

  6. I'm almost insulted for Peggy when people describe her as 'pretty'. Pretty is everywhere; I can find pretty down the street. This woman is a natural, miraculous BEAUTY. I'll be 50 next year; that's almost a half a century of thinking she's the most beautiful woman on the planet. Sounds like I'm going overboard? I don't think so. I still haven't come up with the best set of words to adequately describe how beautiful I think she is.

    1. That's okay, and there's no need to feel insulted. Pretty in terms of Peggy is true, it may not actually apply to anyone else. I'll also agree that there are more substantial words to describe her beauty -- and would not have written this piece had I not been enormously enamored, I love everything about Ms. Lipton.

  7. she is the most natural beauty and i just love her on the mod squad . i wish i could meet her in person

  8. Love that Sammy's smoking a cigarette while singing with Peggy!

  9. Crazy that I was thinking of Peggy the other day and wondering what became of her. I too, followed Mod Squad faithfully.I just saw a site of mother/daughter look a likes and saw Peggy.It made me look her up and I came across this site. Thanks for the memories and update. She is still quite beautiful!

  10. "Her voice suited the confessional, pretty style of the 1970's, and she was able to put it to use on several of her own albums." "Several of her own albums"? If only. Her recorded musical output adds up to just one album (in 1968, incidentally) and a couple of non-album singles, collected in 2014 as "The Complete Ode Recordings". Not a *strong* voice, but helped plenty by subtlety, a lovely tone and an actor's sense of phrasing.

  11. I watched the Mod Squad as a kid - Peggy really didn't register. Now I'm binge watching ancient old Twin Peaks. Peggy Lipton is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.