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- September 01, 1977
- February 05, 1955
- Los Angeles CA USA
- 5' 4"
- 114 lbs
A sunny day in Beaumont, TX, a Playboy photographer’s assistant found himself hungry at a local restaurant when the waitress approached him and offered him a friendly hello with a hint of Southern charm. Maybe it was his hunger setting in or maybe it was her knee-length, sparkling golden locks, but the Playboy employee could have sworn that right in front of him, the famous Italian painting, The Birth of Venus, had come to life. Her name was Debra Jo Fondren, an all-natural beauty from the small-town who described her very long hair as her way to standing out of the crowd. “To me, a woman’s hair is her glory and my long hair is my trademark. It’s what sets me apart from everyone else. It makes me feel more feminine. I love to have a guy run his fingers through it,” says the blue-eyed blonde who practically sings when she speaks. Instantly, we fell in love with Debra Jo and her unbashful honesty—even if it means telling a story where she is the punchline. “Once, some deep-sea-fishing friends left me on a secluded offshore drilling rig and I took off my clothes to get an all-over tan. But, the spot I had picked just happened to be a helicopter landing platform,” recalls our busty Miss September 1977 who begins to laugh before she could conclude her story. “Before I knew what was happening, a chopper was trying to land and blew my clothes off the platform into the water. When the pilot and I stopped laughing, he was nice enough to lend me something to wear.” Endearing and charming don’t even begin to appropriately describe Debra Jo and Playboy was quickly swamped with fan mail from readers asking when she was going to be made our Playmate of the Year. There was no way to deny that the gorgeous blonde with the Rapunzel-like mane was the Playmate of the people. When she was made our Miss 1978, cheering was heard around the country and even in Paris, where she shot her PMOY pictorial with photographer Francis Giacobetti. “At the time we arrived, it was cold and rainy, but you could still tell it was beautiful,” says our lovely Miss 1978 who was a little thrown off by all the Parisian men trying to stroke her golden strands. “It got so bad we had to hide it under my coat. I look so different from the average Frenchwoman that even women would stare at me in a restaurant. In fact, they looked at me more than the men did.” With the twinkle of Paris still in her eye and a Playmate of the Year title under belt, Debra Jo is ready to take on the world of acting. “I could see myself doing movies,” says our Playmate who has acted in television shows like Mork and Mindy and Fantasy Island. “There’s an energy surrounding a movie set that I really like, and if the right script came along, sure, I’d love to do it!” Until the perfect script comes along, the Playmate reincarnation of Venus is going to continue to ride the Playboy wave. “I used to dream about being in the centerfold and think how lucky the girls were who made it now, here I am, Playmate of the Year. It really is hard to believe. And it’s doubly enjoyable because I know and like Playboy. It’s my favorite magazine,” gushed Debra Jo who was voted one of the top 20 Playmates of all time. “The gifts I’m receiving are great, but even without them, I’d be honored to represent Playboy.” We are honored to have a goddess like Debra Jo Fondren be our Miss 1978.