Cynthia Albritton, who as Cynthia Plaster Caster became famous for immortalizing the genitalia of male musicians in plaster, has died, Variety reports. She was 74.
Albritton started her career in Chicago in 1968, thanks to a plaster casting assignment from her college art teacher. She came up with the idea of casting the male member, and her first celebrity “subject” was Jimi Hendrix. After meeting Frank Zappa, he became her patron and moved her to LA, where she found plenty of other willing subjects.
Among her dozens of subjects: Jimi Hendrix Experience bass player Noel Redding, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, The Rascals’ Eddie Brigati, The Lovin’ Spoonful‘s Zal Yanovsky, Beach Boys drummer and Rutles member Ricky Fataar, Foghat‘s Tony Stevens, Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys, Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks, and Television guitarist Richard Lloyd.
In 2000, Albritton expanded her repertoire by casting the breasts of female musicians, including Suzi Gardner of L7 and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
As Variety reports, Zappa and Albritton decided in 1971 that the casts should be kept somewhere safe for a future exhibition, and gave them to Zappa’s business partner, Herb Cohen. In 1993, Albritton had to initiate legal proceedings to get back the casts she’d given Cohen for safekeeping. All but three of the 25 were returned.
Albritton has either inspired or been mentioned in several songs, including KISS’ “Plaster Caster” and Jim Croce‘s “Five Short Minutes.” A recording of a telephone conversation between her and famed groupie Pamela Des Barres appears on Permanent Damage, the first and only album by the all-girl group The GTOs, which was produced by Zappa. She was also the subject of the documentary titled Plaster Caster.
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