Suzy Parker, 70, an auburn-haired beauty with classic bone structure, startling green eyes and a stunningly svelte figure who as the leading fashion model of the 1950s became the first of that new breed, the supermodel, died May 3 at her home in Montecito, Calif.
The cause of death was not disclosed.
Miss Parker, who also acted in films and on television in the 1960s, became one of the most recognizable women of her time and is believed to have been the highest-paid model of the 1950s.
She was photographed in shoots in Paris, Rome, London and New York. She was the favorite subject of such legendary photographers as Richard Avedon and Milton H. Greene.
Hers became the leading face used by designer Coco Chanel and also appeared in legendary ads for Revlon cosmetics. She also was the model of choice of designer Christian Dior, who said he regarded Miss Parker as the world's most beautiful woman.
Miss Parker created a sensation when her picture appeared around the world in the first big fashion photo featuring a model showing off a bikini. She was said to have made $100,000 a year in the 1950s -- the same salary then paid the president of the United States.
However, she refused to take her profession entirely seriously, maintaining that she was no more than "an animated clothes hanger."
She left modeling for a time to study photography in Paris under Henri Cartier-Bresson and worked as an editor for the French edition of Vogue. She could take on the air of a beat intellectual marching to a different, well, beat. She dressed in black and wore Garbo-like slouched hats to poetry readings and lectures.
If she could project an icy and sexy sophistication in her modeling, people who worked with her saw a different side. Photographers complained that she never stopped talking, about almost everything under the sun. There is a legendary story about the high school graduate, in Paris for a shoot, endlessly lecturing a French economist on the finer points of French economics.
Miss Parker made her film debut in 1957 in the Hollywood musical "Funny Face," which starred Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Astaire played a fashion photographer and Hepburn, who became fast friends with Miss Parker, played a beatnik and reluctant model -- a character based on Miss Parker. Meanwhile, Miss Parker danced in a number called "Think Pink" that poked fun at fashion editors.
Miss Parker's later film credits included "Kiss Them for Me" (1957), starring Cary Grant, and "Ten North Frederick" (1958), in which she portrayed aging lawyer Gary Cooper's young love interest. Among her other credits were "The Best of Everything" (1959), "The Interns" (1962) and "Chamber of Horrors" (1966).
She also made guest appearances in such television series as "The Twilight Zone," "Dr. Kildare" and "It Takes a Thief."
Cecilia Ann Renee Parker was born in Long Island, N.Y. She began her modeling career at age 14 when her sister, the 1940s model Dorian Leigh, introduced her to the business.
At 5 feet 9 inches, many considered her too tall, but the legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland found the teenager stunning. And the rest is history.
At 17, Miss Parker married her high school sweetheart, Charles Staton. The marriage quickly ended in divorce, with Miss Parker later maintaining that the only reason she married was to avoid college.
Her second marriage, to the French writer Pierre La Salle, also ended in divorce. In 1961, she appeared in the spy movie "A Circle of Deception" opposite Bradford Dillman, whom she married in 1963.
In addition to her husband, of Montecito, survivors include four children, two stepchildren and two sisters.