After profitable a number of magnificence pageants together with Miss Coney Island and the eighth annual New York Skate Queen contest, she started modeling as a youngster. The primary agent she spoke with favored her footage however advised her to vary her title. She selected Vikki as a homage to the actress Vickie Lester; Dougan was her mom’s maiden title.
In 1953, at age 19, she appeared on the quilt of Life journal as a part of a narrative on working moms, along with her 3-year-old daughter, Deirdre, the product of a quick marriage.
She was signed as a mannequin by Eileen Ford and appeared in adverts for Maybelline, Cutex and Charmin, and was on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen and Collier’s journal, along with various different extra lowbrow titles, like Trendy Romance. She made upward of $100 an hour working as a mannequin, she mentioned, however at all times harbored desires of appearing. She took courses with world-class coaches like Stella Adler and Eric Morris, and appeared as an announcer on “The Jackie Gleason Present.”
Ms. Dougan mentioned she was provided a contract by Paramount however declined as a result of it was not sufficient cash. “They provided me for per week what I used to be making in an hour as a mannequin.” As a substitute, she signed with Batjac, a transfer she got here to remorse. “I ought to have simply signed with Paramount as a result of not less than they had been making films.”
She spent everything of 1957 attending film premieres and setting the tabloids on fireplace however wasn’t known as for any auditions. She mentioned the agent who signed her to William Morris Expertise Company, Phil Kellogg, forgot her contract in a desk, which is why she was by no means despatched any scripts. After voicing her displeasure about not working to Batjac, “they provided to place me in a film with one line, however I mentioned, ‘Neglect it.’”
#MeToo in Midcentury
Ms. Dougan’s temporary time in Hollywood was marred by various unwelcome overtures from well-known males, which she routinely rebuffed. Jerry Lewis, whom she describes as “a really huge deal,” as soon as known as her into his workplace to learn for a component. The script by no means arrived, however a bucket of champagne on ice did. Sensing the path the interview was entering into, Ms. Dougan made up an excuse about having one other appointment to get to. “He had one thing completely completely different on his thoughts,” she mentioned.