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Boss Lady

LOS ANGELES — A young blonde, wriggling along with Desi Arnaz in the Copacabana’s conga line in New York, catches the eye of Twentieth Century Fox founder Joseph M. Schenck. She gets a train ticket to Hollywood, a screen test and invites...

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But during World War II, when American manufacturers cloned Europe’s boxy cuts, it was the sexy fit Israel-Curley insisted on that had lasting impact.

"I was in the habit of redesigning and correcting the fit of the clothes I purchased from Bullocks or the May Co. with an old Singer foot-pedal sewing machine," she says. Of course, Mrs. I, as her employees called her, always cut a glamorous figure herself, resembling Tippi Hedren in the "Marni" era.

But as fun as it all was, running the show at a time when women stayed at home strained her marriage to Larry Isreal.

"Very few of my closest friends really knew me because I hid my identity to be a respectful, feminine person," she says. "They knew I had a part in Judy’s, but they had no idea how much of a part. And that was fine with me, because it made my marriage look better."

In 1964, she had a coming out of sorts when The Los Angeles Times named her Woman of the Year. The article began: "Is she the boss’s wife? No, she is the boss."
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