Leicester Newspaper (Source of Newspaper Name Unknown)
14th March 1979
At 33, the golden girl of punk rock is about to launch a dramatic new career which many experts think will turn her into Hollywood's latest superstar. With a little luck says columnist ROSS MADDEN, she could really become the Marilyn Monroe of the eighties...
Blondie Debby bids for Queen of Hollywood crown
"WHEN I was at school," said Debby Harry, "I always wanted to be a movie star. The other kids used to laugh at me and I would tell them, 'you'll be sorry when I'm rich and famous'."
Now she is. At 33 the golden girl of punk rock, who fronts the Blondie pop group, is about to take Hollywood by storm.
She makes her movie debut as the heroine, Natasha von Braun, in a new version of Jean Luc Goddard's fantasy Alphaville, the story of a city ruled by an electronic brain, on which filming is due to start next month.
Her co-star will be ex-King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, now a solo artist and producer. He plays the part of private eye Lemmy Caution.
And American film buffs are already predicting that Debby will take over the crown vacated by Marilyn Monroe nearly 20 years ago.
Close-up, she has much of the breathtaking allure of Marilyn. The face is fine-boned and beautiful, the hair pure platinum, lips pouting and erotic, and the figure could have been designed with Playboy in mind.
It is very easy to see how, as an 18-year-old in a middle-class home in New Jersey, she dreamed of becoming a star.
That dream drew her to the bright lights of New York. She expected glamour, but found instead a twilight world of drugs and groupies.
Her first job was as a secretary for the BBC in their American office.
"After that," she told me, "I worked as a Bunny Girl and that was fun, and then as a beautician on a health farm. But I left when my boss demanded a lot more from me than make-up, and from then on it was all down hill.
"I joined a pop group, but became very disillusioned with both the business and some of the friends I'd made. I turned to drugs as a cure for mental pain."
There have been wild stories about this phase in her life of how, for instance, she became a groupie and had affairs with some of the top pop stars of the day.
But she says with wry humour: "You mustn't believe everything you read about me. There was even a story printed which said that I became a hooker so that I could get money for the drugs I needed. It isn't true. I was more choosey than that."
She pushed back a stray lock of platinum and said quietly: "I know those years hurt my mother. If I'd been a mother, I would have been worried too. But no matter what they say, I kept my self-respect and I survived.
"Sometimes I think you have to fall to rise again."
One thing she doesn't like to talk about is her age.
"I have an age hang-up," she says. "I know it sounds corny, but I do believe you're as old as you feel... and I don't feel old at all."
Even during the bad days, she clung to her dream of stardom. And the first turning point came in 1973 when she formed a girls' singing trio called The Stilettoes.
"One night," she says, "I was looking out over the footlights and I saw this boy watching me. He had long black hair and was wearing about four tons of jewellery.
"Our eyes met, and I think I knew even then that he would be important in my life.
"Afterwards I learnt he was a musician. One of the other girls knew him and we asked him to join our backing group.
"It was Chris, (Chris Stein). He became our guitarist and the man in my life."
The Stilettoes duly changed their name to Blondie to focus attention on their glittering star. But Chris is still her guitarist and still the man in her life.
She composes much of the music played by the band and her stage performances have created a cult.
The off-one-shoulder tank tops, the micro mini skirts, the boots, the air of sexual challenge, the controlled abandonment as she moves around have been echoed by legions of girls in discos around the world.
One of her most recent releases, Picture This, is a love song she wrote for Chris and her mood can be very wistful when she thinks about the future, and notably when she talks about the coming film.
"I like to think," she says, "that my career is only just beginning... with a little luck, it really could be that way, you know."
Indeed it could. She has for long been known as The Marilyn Monroe of Pop. That title may soon be updated.
With just a little luck, she could become "The Marilyn Monroe of the Eighties."