Sue Williams: Miss April 1965, Playboy
Miss April is one of the small wonders of the modern world
Photography by Edward DeLong and William V. Figge
For those who maintain that it’s the little things in life that make the difference, April Playmate Sue Williams — a 4’11” blonde and blue-eyed native of the Golden State — will undoubtedly provide an attractive 98 pounds of added weight to their argument.
Our most petite Playmate to date, Sue has spent the past 19 years blossoming in the healthy California clime. Born and raised in Glendale, where she graduated from high school last June, centerfoldom’s shortest short subject now resides in her first bachelorette pad, conveniently located within walking distance of her job as secretary-receptionist for a Burbank film-processing firm.
As Sue told us: “My parents wanted me to enroll at USC this year, but I decided I’d better be off getting out on my own for a while. I’m not full of academic aspirations at the moment, and I can’t see going to a university just to get a degree. By earning my own keep and learning to solve my own problems, I think I’ll learn a lot more about life than I would in any classroom.”
An ardent fan of the great outdoors, diminutive Miss April shows a marked proclivity for la vie athlétique. “I guess you could call me a latent tomboy,” says Sue. “After work, I can’t wait to switch into slacks and sneakers. Then it’s either down to the beach for some late afternoon surfing, or out to Verdugo Park for a few innings of softball with the old gang from Glendale. On rainy days, I catch up on my one sedentary hobby — collecting old coins.”
Our outdoor miss also admits a feminine weakness for dining (“Cantonese food is my downfall”) and dancing (“Anything from the frug to the fox trot is fine with me”) with a date who’s “well groomed, considerate, and not so tall that I have to strain my neck to see what he looks like.”
On dateless nights, her tastes run to Ian Fleming thrillers, stereophonic jazz (“Monk and Mingus are my favorites”), and late-late video film fare (“Where else can you see ‘Gunga Din’ these days?”). Her pet peeve? “People who talk big.”
The Playmate Book: Five Decades of Centerfolds by Gretchen Edgren, Taschen 1996
Photographer Melba Figge on Sue Williams:
“She came into our studio to have a glamorous picture taken, because she was sick and tired of going to the firehouse and opening her husband’s locker and seeing centerfolds inside. She had an adorable face, the type Hef likes. So we said, ‘Why don’t you try out for Playboy? Then when the issue comes out you can put it in his locker.’ She did and he was flabbergasted. Sue used her Playmate money to get a boob job, and then she was in several beach movies. I haven’t seen her in 20 years.”
It appears from these photographs that Sue Williams did two nude photo shoots before her breast implants:
According to Melba Figge in a 2005 interview, Sue Williams gave the Figges their start at Playboy:
Her sister worked for us at our studio as an artist. We sent the first [photo] in … and Hugh Hefner said, “She’s really cute. We’d like to see your work.” So we said, “Fine,” and did some more cute pictures of her. They loved our work and pretty soon they added our names to the magazine as contributors… We did 48 centerfolds that were published.
Sue Williams posed in more photos for Playboy after her breast surgery:
Playboy amended her description to match her new measurements:
Bust: 34D. Waist: 20. Hips: 34. Height: 4’ 11″. Weight: 98. Hair Color: blonde. Birthday: 13 May. Hometown: Glendale, CA, USA. Titles: Miss April 1965
AMBITIONS: Happiness, and I’d love to be a Bunny in Los Angeles Playboy Club. TURN-ONS: Eating popcorn in a Paul Newman movie. TURNOFFS: The Beatles. HOBBIES: Water skiing, surfing and swimming. I also have a motorcycle for Sunday afternoons, and a collection of old coins. IN MY FUTURE: I’d like to attend USC. GREAT READS: James Bond novels and “Catcher in the Rye.” GREAT FLICKS: “The Prize,” “The Pink Panther” and “The Birds.” A GREAT MEAL: Cantonese food and light rum drinks (Hawaiian-style). PEOPLE I ADMIRE: John Glenn, Sandy Koufax, Joan Crawford. Joan started with nothing, became a famous actress and then a high-powered executive. With John and Sandy it’s pure hero worship! I DISLIKE MEN WHO: Have bad manners, are sloppy, and who constantly comb their hair. I LIKE MEN WHO ARE: Independent, considerate and ambitious. MY IDEAL EVENING: Cocktails, dinner and dancing, then a late late spot to hear a jazz combo. I LOVE BEING A PLAYMATE: Because it gives my life a spark of something new, interesting and different.
She featured in three Playboy annual calendars:
In September 1966, Sue Williams appeared at a menswear store in Anaheim, in a promotion along with Playmate Kelly Burke (Miss June 1966):
Sue Williams, who posed in 1965, was the first Playmate to get breast implants as well as the first who was less than five feet tall.
Donna Michelle was one of several Playmates to garnish the beach-party movies of the sixties. Another, Sue Williams, Miss April 1965, is the first officially confirmed to have had breast implants, though she seems to have gotten them after her centerfold was published, using the modeling fee to finance the surgery. She may have thought she needed bigger breasts as she tried to gain a toehold in Hollywood as Sue Hamilton, a variation on her legal name. Jo Collins, Playmate of the Year 1965, had forgettable parts in two beach-party movies, but when she traveled to Vietnam to personally deliver a lifetime Playboy subscription to a wounded soldier, she loosely inspired the indelible Playmate sequence in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which had Linda Beatty, Miss August 1976, and Cyndi Wood, Playmate of the Year 1974, choppered to a burlesque stage in the jungle, where, vamping to a cover of “Susie Q,” they caused sex-starved GIs to riot.