One of the most iconic pinup girls of the Seventies, Roberta Pedon, is lost to the mists of time and mystery, friends. Which makes her story –– or what’s actually known of it –– all the more interesting, we think.
In this current rotation of ‘retro-cool,’ where the Seventies and Eighties are the current hipster darlings, Roberta is being discovered and rediscovered all over again. And with good reason. Well, two good reasons, to say the least, dig? But what makes Roberta so captivating, besides the obvious, is the complete mystery and speculation surrounding her. And please forgive –– we’re going to be using alot of “probably” and “most likely” and “apparently” and “allegedly” from here on out…
Probably born in Ohio (or was it California?) in 1954, Roberta –– not her real name –– grew up in some sort of Argentinian or Latvian or Italian or Portugese Jewish household. And from what we’ve heard, her mother was an overbearing woman, so Roberta claimed her grandmother as the one adult in her childhood she was most fond of. We mention this because her mother, most likely, had much influence over the bad decisions she’d make the rest of her life…
But let’s get on with it: at some point in the early Seventies, Roberta moved to San Francisco and claimed that she’d allegedly graduated from a Bay Area high school. What we do know is that she was living in the city with some lucky dude in ’72 before a brief few months in Washington state, followed by a move to Venice Beach by early ’73.
It was at some point in 1973 that she began using the name “Roberta Pedon” almost exclusively once she started modeling for an early Southern California “valley” outfit, dubiously named “American Art Enterprises.” For roughly two years, Roberta adopted the character of a free-spirited hippie for most all of her photoshoots and the few bits of film work she produced. The embodiment of the quintessential fantasy hippy chick –– the hot girl with the easy smile, the near-comic book proportions, the headband, the bellbottoms and lack of hairy armpits –– worked well for her (not to mention all the guys in the suburbs who wanted the ‘ol lady riding on the king-and-queen and the Mrs. Robinson model of Anne Bancroft all wrapped up in the same woman).
And in those few short years, she’d develop a voracious appetite for drugs, sex and men –– none of which she handled with much ease or success. By ’75, she’d been hospitalized for an overdose, which led to her being let go from the rolls of A.A.E., arrested in San Francisco for prostitution and that’s where the trail starts to run cold.
“Melody O’Hare,” “Roberta Weaver,” “Robin,” “Mooschi,” “Sam,” “Robbie” and just plain “Roberta” were all names she worked under in magazines ranging from outlaw biker titles to fetish books and more than a few adult monthlies, as well as a few obscure films. While Roberta tried to break into Hollywood as a legitimate actress, the closest she got was a few alleged affairs with none other than sexaholic “Hogan’s Heroes” wonderboy, Bob Crane and Moses-turned-damned filthy ape-hater/lover, Chuck Heston. But not much is known of her since the mid-Seventies.
It’s been claimed that Roberta had been seen as late as ’79, when she was picked up on her way to a shoot of some ill repute in Southern California, but legend has it that she was just a shadow of her former, unbelievably stacked self: drugs and homelessness had apparently taken their toll on the hippie vixen.
Rumors of Roberta’s death may have also been exaggerated: some claim she died in Oakland, CA in ’82, some say it was ’84 or ’85. Others claim that she’s not dead at all, rather she was involved in a bank robbery, changed her name once again and is still on the lamb. Still others state a specific date of July 30, 1982 as the day of her reckoning.
What we absolutely DO know is that we love Roberta Pedon. We hope she’s still out there somewhere, reading this and laughing all the way to some Swiss bank where she’ll take out a few fat/phat stacks from her secret account, go pay for the bike Nicke‘s finishing up for her and ride it like a Mann painting off to the coast of Croatia where we’ll meet her in some underground opium den and listen to Serge Gainsbourg records and drink Moroccan tea. Fuck yeah.