I came across Marsha A. Hunt while watching Dracula AD 1972.
Once again race was brought into the equation when many people on forums for the movie voiced their surprise that the "black chick" didn't die first. Sure she ended up dying second, but her limited screen time still managed to catch my attention.
As is the usual case, a little research went a long way and I soon found out that Marsha Hunt has one of the longest descriptions in Wikipedia history. Her biography is longer than half the major actors and actresses on there and it divides her life into the following categories; Actress, Model, Singer, Writer (autobiographer, editor, novelist), Activist, Relationship With Mick Jagger, Battle with Cancer and Black/American identity. Yeah this woman is seriously interesting.
Originally from Philadelphia, Hunt moved to London in 1966 where "anything was possible". During this time, she "married" Mike Ratledge in order to get her visa extended. 18 Months after arriving in London, Marsha embarked on a bit of a musical career. According to her she had no great musical talent but it didn't stop her from singing back up vocals for different people, joining a band called Ferris Wheel, having an awesome solo career and appearing as Dionne in Hair.
Three months after Hair opened, Hunt became the first black woman to appear on the cover of the British high fashion magazine Queen. She also appeared nude on the cover of British Vogue, a picture that she would recreate almost 40 years later after having her mastectomy. The late 60s to early 70s brought forth her brief relationship with Mick Jagger- which resulted in a child. And the 80s was when Hunt's writing career began to take shape. She's written two autobiographies, a number of novels and a memoir detailing her battle with cancer, which began when she was diagnosed in 2004 with breast cancer.
I told you she was interesting. Here are some of my very favorite things about her...
She describes her skin color as "oak with a hint of maple" rather than black.
After her mastectomy she had a conversation with a young boy where she compared her surgery to the "Amazons of old", where the women would have one of their breasts removed before going into battle, so that they could use their bows without their breasts getting in the way.
When she found out she'd be having chemotherapy, Hunt threw a party where each of her friends took turns cutting off her hair.
She is currently at work on a biography of Jimi Hendrix that she considers her life work. She has said that no one else can understand her perspective on the matter because, "He and I shared something--Black Americans who came to London were transformed and re-packaged for the US- although I never became successful there and he did"
Her father was one of America's first black psychiatrists.