SAMANTHA FOX became one of the country’s most famous women almost overnight after her debut on Page 3.
She first graced the pages of The Sun in February 1983, and it led to her joining Margaret Thatcher and Princess Di as one of the decade’s most photographed females.
Her Page 3 career also became the launch pad to a world of lavish celebrity parties and later for her global success as a pop star, with 30million record sales.
Sam, 54, was the first girl to be signed by The Sun on an exclusive four-year deal. This meant she was used for all kinds of shoots.
Remembering her time on the iconic page as we celebrate today’s 50th anniversary of the first ever picture, she said: “I did Page 3 but also loads of fashion and swimwear shoots.
“I promoted Sun bingo and the paper even made pillow cases with my face on that readers could buy.
“One Saturday at a signing there were about 10,000 teenage boys who banged so hard on the windows to get in they broke them and rushed in. I had to escape with bodyguards in a helicopter from the roof.”
“My nan and grandad slept with them on their bed every night.”
Sam’s assets became so famous she even insured her boobs for £1million.
She said: “It was 500,000 each. My agent said, ‘If Betty Grable can insure her legs, you can insure your boobs’.
“It was a crazy time. Although I worked exclusively for The Sun I would be asked to open lots of big shops, go on chat shows, do autograph signings in department stores. Sometimes I was behind glass.
At the time, The Sun reported on Sam Fox superfan Chris Tiney, 25, who covered his house with pictures of the beauty.
It was only when he tried to replace his wedding photo with one of Sam that his wife put her foot down.
Sam said: “I think I was popular because I had a good figure, but I think lots of people liked me because when they heard me talking they realised I was just a working- class girl done good.
“I had a fan club and would get lots of letters from women actually asking me things like what shampoo and make-up I used and my skincare regime.”
Sam, born in Mile End, in London’s East End, was spotted by The Sun after she won a modelling competition. Her mum Carole accompanied her to her first shoot with Sun snapper Beverley Goodway.
She said: “I thought he was going to be a woman, but he was this ever-so-posh, lovely man who called me Samantha in his plummy accent.
“He was a great photographer, had the best lighting and took the best photographs. And at the end of shoots he always used to make me a jacket potato with tuna or beans so I had energy to set me up for the rest of the day.
“My mum would style my shoots for me and would always make me look classy, bringing along a huge array of glamorous accessories.
“I think that’s also the reason I got booked for so many other shoots, because they knew I would turn up with immaculate styling and accessories thanks to my mum.”
When Sam’s picture first appeared in the paper she was still at school — and was instantly expelled. Her dad John, a carpenter who later became her manager, confronted the headmaster and begged them to let her sit her exams.
She said: “He rang them up and told them I had worked so hard for years and in the end they let me back in to sit them.”
Page 3 fame brought with it a glamorous lifestyle, a whirlwind of VIP areas and red carpets.
One showbiz bash in particular sticks in Sam’s memory — and gave her fledgling music career a huge boost.
She said: “The most amazing party I ever went to was at Kensington Roof Gardens in London following a Queen gig at Wembley in 1986.
“They had naked women painted green in the lifts and everyone who was anyone at the time was there. Annie Lennox, Duran Duran, all the big music stars.
“I had just started my music career but some people were sceptical and didn’t believe it was me really singing.
“They didn’t know I had attended theatre school from a young age.
“Freddie Mercury pulled me up on stage at the party and we sang Tutti Frutti as a duet. It was on the front pages the next day and changed everything for me.
After that, people started to take me seriously for my music.”
Sam retired from Page 3 in 1986 to pursue her pop career and had a huge worldwide hit that year with single Touch Me.
She went on to sell more than 30million records, broke America and still tours now.
Sam — who is in a relationship with Norwegian mum-of-two Linda Olsen, 45 — also writes music. She co-wrote a song for girl group All Saints in 2000.
Despite her huge success in music, Sam will always have fond memories of her days as a Page 3 girl and has no regrets.
She said: “When I did my last Page 3, the paper did a picture of a gravestone with the headline ‘Thanks for the mammaries’. It was genius.
“So many girls nowadays have silicon boobs, but Page 3 was always about natural curves and the girl-next-door look.
“I have no regrets about doing it and I want to thank The Sun for a fabulous career. I’ll always remember winning Page 3 Girl Of The Year three years running.
“Page 3 was a uniquely British institution and I am happy I put a smile on people’s faces.”
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