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Famous Tobacco Victims - Model Wilhelmina Behmenburg Cooper

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Updated October 25, 2011

Famous Tobacco Victims - Model Wilhelmina Behmenburg Cooper

Wilhelmina Behmenburg Cooper with her husband, Bruce Cooper. 1975.

Tim Boxer/Contributor/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Definition: When she was a child, Dutch-born Wilhelmina Behmenburg moved to Chicago with her family. In the years following, she grew to become one of America's most well-known models of the 50s and 60s. She appeared on 255 magazine covers during her career, including 27 covers of American Vogue. She married Bruce Cooper in 1965 and they started the Wilhemina Models agency.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she lived on a steady diet of coffee and cigarettes to control her weight as a young model. Sometime in the late 70s she fell ill and was diagnosed with lung cancer. She succumbed to the disease on March 1, 1980. She was just 40 years old.

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See also: Smoking and Cancer - Statistics

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