Though it started and ended in tragedy, it was filled with excitement and several trail-blazing firsts.
"Lee Miller - The Movie" would star: Miller's interesting supportive parents, two husbands, famous WWII figures, her son who was disappointed by his alcoholic mother, celebrities, and famous artists (including Picasso) and photographers. Major scenes would include the tragic childhood sexual abuse that left her with gonorrhea, the fairytale discovery of her by photographer Conde Nast, her New York modeling career, her two marriages, her experiences photographing World War II, and the disastrous effects the war had on her that ultimately lead to her own tragic demise. The final scenes would chronicle the world's amazing "rediscovery" of Miller through her son's book and her daughter-in-law's rummaging in Miller's attic, after Miller's death in the 1970s.
Lee Miller was born "Elizabeth Lee Miller" in Ploughkeepsie, New York on the 23rd of April 1907 to parents Theodor and Florence Miller. She was the middle child, with an older brother John and a younger brother Erik. Theodore Miller, her Father was an engineer and a businessman. Like many of his time Theodor was a strong believer in science and technology - going as far as to run his household scientifically.2 He had several affairs and not much is known of his relationship with his wife Florence.3
On a visit to family friends at the ages of seven Florence left Elizabeth in the care of "Uncle Bob". This short visit changed her life as, though the exact details are unclear, "Uncle Bob" raped her.4 She was rushed home, and shortly after to a doctors when it became apparent that she had contracted gonorrhea from "Uncle Bob".5 The available treatments for the disease at the time - before the discovery of antibiotics - were painful, frequent, and took many weeks.6 Elizabeth was traumatized by the rape and the subsequent treatments. To help her emotional recovery, her parents took her to a psychiatrist. This doctor taught Elizabeth that love and sex were separate things - a fact that probably contributed to her many amorous liaisons later in life.7
Theodore, an amateur photographer, quite likely thinking that he was following the doctor's directions in helping his daughter separate her physical being from her emotional one began taking nude photographs of his daughter on her eighth birthday. She soon became proud of her appearance and was a good model. The photography sessions continued until she was twenty. The family was accepting of Theodore's new hobby, treating it as art.8
The camera loved Lee Miller and so did a lot of men. She was a beautiful woman and the true definition of American beauty with her golden locks and blue eyes. She was an independent woman; a true feminist who would break all rules if they were not to her liking.9 Though outwardly she led an independent life, there was a dark side to her that she hid from the world.10 She was undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and mercurial women of the twentieth century. Beauty is central to her story: it was her passport to the glamorous and artistic worlds she plunged into between the world wars.
New York Modeling Career
While in Manhattan, when she was 19, her life was saved by a magazine publisher, Conde Nast, who was so impressed by her beauty that he helped launch her modeling career. She thus became