Willy Demond. Willy of Hollywood. Stocking Maker to the Stars. Willy the Stocking Man. At one time, Willy had a virtual silky smooth monopoly...90 percent of the legs in Hollywood were Demond's.
Willy Demond started making stockings around 1928. He sold his first pair of fancy ones to Marilyn Miller for her role in "Sally" for nine dollars, according to the Miami News of June 11, 1948. The story ran in gossiper Hedda Hopper's column. He kept at it and got $2700 for a pair he made for June Haver. Soon he was more than a stocking salesman…he was receiving credits as "movie hosiery designer" and in 1950 he was called "movie town hose specialist." Of course this was all back in the day when gams WERE Hollywood. All singing, but just as important, all dancing. Legs.
Willie made more than stockings. He made news. In a 1956 AP story he claimed to have made a $650 pair of diamond flecked stockings for President Truman's off-key daughter Margaret Truman, but she denied it. Um…Margaret? Declare your gifts! By that time Willy had become one of those "go to" guys whenever the papers needed some filler on skirt length. So Willy? How long with skirts be this year? Willy always knew.
IN 1945, He was so critical of Greer Garson's legs, she had to tell him to STFU!
In another example of Willy News, the Toledo Blade reported Willy had made a deal with a hosiery company to bring his creations to the masses. The masses of Bonwit Teller, apparently. That happened, and I believe the trade name still exists…but since I've never shopped for a pair I can't tell you. I did find a pair on ebay, and they were still pricey!
He even started a regular award called "The Golden Calf" which was awarded to everyone from Marlene Dietrich to Raquel Welch, Rita Hayworth to Ann Robinson. At one time, it was reported he was working on his autobiography to be called "Hollywood Legman" but I think someone beat him to it…Hedda Hopper's gofer wrote a book by that title. Too bad. Hedda Hopper again!
I"m not sure when Willy's 50 year career of putting the glamor on gams ended, but in 1976 the Hartford News and Courier reported he was critically ill.
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