Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Orion Slave Girl Won the Powder Puff Derby in 1970



Yesterday, I was going through a Star Trek Memorial site, which paid tribute to all of the actors who had worked on any of the many incarnations of that show, who had passed away.

One of the actresses who had died - relatively young - was Susan Oliver. She'd only been 58 when she died of cancer. She'd been born in 1932 and died in 1990. (She played Vina in the first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage".

I checked out her biography on the IMDB, and much to my surprise discovered not only that she'd been a licensed pilot but that she'd also flown in - as co-pilot, and won the 1970 Powder Puff Derby.

Here's what the bio said:

She won the Powder Puff Derby in 1970.

Was a licensed pilot.

Was named Pilot of the Year in 1970.

Attempted to become the first woman to fly a single-engine plane solo from New York to Moscow, but was deterred in Denmark when the Soviet government denied her permission to enter their air space.


So I checked my Powder Puff Derby Record and it's true - she did. There's even a photo of her and her co-pilot in the book, albeit a poor reproduction of it since it was taken from a newspaper.

Indeed, in July 1970, Oliver got a lot of publicity from her win. It's interesting to read some of the other articles on the pages that features comments on her victory, detailing men's opinions of women in general in the 1970s... I'll share some PDFs of those articles tomorrow.

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