In the spring of 1978 Mary was booked for an assignment with prolific glamour photographer Colin Ramsay, at a studio in London’s West End. An enthusiastic Mary undressed and reclined on a satin-covered sofa, hugging her mink coat to her bosom. The background was decorated a rich red, to emphasise Mary’s increasing fame as a ‘scarlet woman’. It was just another job for Mary, but the photographs that emerged from that session became some of the most widely-distributed of her career. Ironically, although the mink coat was stolen during a break-in at Mary’s house in Putney later that year, the photos had a longer life, even after her tragic death.
Ramsay sold one of the photos to Futura Books for the front cover of Mary’s ghosted ‘autobiography’ The Amazing Mary Millington, released in September 1978. It was a cheeky shot since Mary’s bum could be viewed on the reverse of the cover. An alternate shot appeared on the front and back covers of the magazine-version of Mary’s story, posthumously published in the autumn of 1979.
A year later, in 1980, yet another pose from the session was licensed by pornographer John Lindsay, for one of the covers of his VHS and Betamax compilations of early-seventies’ 8mm shorts. Mary’s hardcore film Betrayed – shot in Holland in 1971, with Lindsay directing – was top-billed amongst five other non-Millington shorts, but Mary was definitely the main attraction.
Interestingly, the small scar Mary had on her upper right arm (the result of a polio jab when she was young) was retouched for the book and video covers, but it is clearly visible on the magazine cover.
All words and photograph © Simon Sheridan 2018