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Susan Bernard

Miss December 1966

December 30, 1966
February 11, 1948
Los Angeles CA USA
5' 3"
105 lbs
Photographer Bruno Bernard, also known as ‘Bernard of Hollywood,’ has gifted Hollywood time and again with his eye for beauty. Often called the inventor of pin-up photography, Bruno is actually best known for his discovery of sex icon and Playboy’s first-ever centerfold—Marilyn Monroe. However, Bruno didn’t need to search very far to find our Miss December 1966. In fact, he just needed to look down the hall from his kitchen. Bruno’s daughter, Susan Bernard, practically grew up in front of the camera—thanks to her parents who had her featured in dozen of puppy-and-little-girl calendars as a child. “My father is a well-known international journalist and photographer, and my mother, Ruth Brande, is an actress and also a photographer and they travel together all over the world. My grandfather was an artist, and many of his paintings are displayed in museums,” says the brown-eyed, brown-haired beauty. “The house has always been filled with theater and movie people and after I decided that acting was really for me.” Taking acting lessons along with dance and modeling courses, the petite Californian with the long, brown hair had her first taste of the acting world when she earned a role in a play of Tennessee Williams’ The Property in Condemned. “I’m playing Willie. It’s one of Williams’ most challenging roles—you have to be both a little girl and a woman,” says Sue as she recalls her audition for the part. “These ‘cold readings’ are scary, but they’re terrific practice. You’ve never seen the script before and have to interpret it in your own way.” Eventually acting on television shows likeGeneral Hospital and The Beverly Hillbillies and the cult classic film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Susan explains these opportunities wouldn’t have been made possible if it weren’t for the support she received from her parents. “My parents encouraged me at every step,” she adds. Encouraging his daughter to accompany him during on a business trip to Playboy headquarters in Chicago, Susan was awestruck when her dad took her to Playboy Mansion and introduced her to Hugh Hefner himself. All-natural, busty and beautiful, Hef asked the sexy Los Angeles native if she ever thought of posing for Playboy. Oddly enough, she hadn’t given it any thought. With some encouragement from Hef and her parents, not only did Susan became our Miss December 1966, but she became our first Jewish Playmate of the Month to pose for the magazine’s Christmas issue. “It was such a liberating experience,” admits Susan who adds it felt exactly like dancing to great music. “I really feel alive when I’m dancing to modern jazz.”