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'Famous for being famous' icon Angelyne lets Off-Ramp hitch a ride in her pink Corvette




Without the fan, photos with Angelyne are much more expensive. She says she doesn't want to
Without the fan, photos with Angelyne are much more expensive. She says she doesn't want to "blow her wad" by giving everything away at once.
John Rabe
Without the fan, photos with Angelyne are much more expensive. She says she doesn't want to
Angelyne and Off-Ramp host John Rabe share an intimate moment in her pink Corvette.
John Rabe
Without the fan, photos with Angelyne are much more expensive. She says she doesn't want to
At the French Market in West Hollywood, Angelyne pets a fish named Lightening,who apparently knows and loves her.
Angelyne's playing koi. (John Rabe)


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In 2000, when I arrived in Los Angeles from an obscure state in the Upper Midwest, people tried to explain Angelyne. "Who is she? What does she do? Why is she famous, again?" Then, after a while, you get it: She is Angelyne, and Angelyne simply is.
 
In an article about her new 2015 pink Corvette, Los Angeles magazine described her thus: "The enigmatic billboard legend Angelyne is famous for being famous — the original Kim Kardashian (without the sex tape) — and though her pictures have appeared above city streets for the last three decades, only her closest confidants know her original identity."
(1997 photo of an Angelyne billboard. Anthony Friedkin/LAPL/L.A. Neighborhoods Collection)
 

A friend in his 30s remembered in a tweet:

I'd glimpsed her signature pink Corvette a few times, but until I went to an art opening at Meltdown Comics a few weekends ago, I had never seen Angelyne in the flesh. But there she was,  promoting one of her acrylics — a self-portrait of her, nude but Barbie-neutered, astride a skeleton.

We can't really show the picture, but she's an artist, a singer:

Angelyne singing "My List" in a music video from the early 1980s

... and an actor:

Angelyne in "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988)

She's also, as I was to learn, beloved by many — including a fish named Lightning at the French Market — and a very good parallel parker. I know because, after 15 years in L.A., I not only got to meet Angelyne, but ride with her in the famous car. I knew Off-Ramp producer Kevin Ferguson would appreciate it:

I already was. (And, by the way, if Huell and Angelyne would have met, there would have been a cosmic singularity that would have destroyed the world.)

During our half-hour drive, I learned:

  • Why she charges for fan photos and shields her face behind the Japanese fan: she doesn't want to "blow her wad" by giving everything away for cheap
  • That she puts proceeds from her sales into a purse shaped like a chicken
  • That she's happy, "because I make people happy." Although she is "questing for a pink, pain-free existence, and I'm going to find it, gods and faeries."

In all, I have to say Angelyne seems old-fashioned nowadays. Almost demure. She's sexy and sex-positive, sure. But while she shakes her silhouetted boobs in that music video, there's no sex tape of her. She's much more a Mae West than a Kim Kardashian. In an age when many famous people share everything about themselves, we still know almost nothing of Angelyne but what she wants us to know.

(Photo of Cassie reacting to Angelyne reposted courtesy Erica Fields)

And still, people get a kick out of seeing her (there were many honks as we drove around) and meeting her, and nobody balked at paying for a photo. They seem to admire her for continuing to do her own thing. "God bless America," said local historian Chris Nichols, talking that night about Angelyne.

Or as Peggy McKay, star of "Days of Our Lives," put it in the French Market parking lot as Angelyne sold T-shirts to fans, "I can't explain [Angelyne's allure], but I recognize it. I think it's an amazing legend that she has created. And I congratulate her on being Angelyne."