Model, actress. Born Eleanor Nancy Gow on March 29, 1964 in Sydney, Australia. Nicknamed “The Body,” the six-foot-tall Macpherson is one of a handful of figures credited with putting the “super” in the word “supermodel.”
Even prior to her ascendancy to modeling fame, Macpherson was no stranger to the high life. After her parents divorced in her early teens, her mother remarried multimillionaire Neil Macpherson, the owner of a chain of stereo equipment stores.
After a brief stint studying law at Sydney University, Macpherson was “discovered” while on a ski vacation in Aspen, Colorado. A contract with Click Model Management soon followed.
Like so many of her contemporaries, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition was her springboard to public fame. The powerful, athletic Macpherson graced four SI covers (1986-1988, 1994) . In addition to appearances in the mainstay publications of the modeling world, Macpherson parleyed her SI success into contracts with Victoria’s Secret and Playboy. For her work in the latter, she netted a whopping $25,000 per page. The spread was ten pages long.
For a time, Macpherson was one of the wealthiest models in the business. She marketed a series of her own photo calendars and starred in a successful fitness video. In 1995, People magazine included her in its “50 Most Beautiful People” issue.
But by the mid-1990s, she turned her attention to acting. She appeared in several films, including Sirens (1995), Batman and Robin (1997) and most recently A Girl Thing (2001), a miniseries for the Showtime Network. She also appeared in a series of episodes of the hit TV sitcom Friends. Critical response to her dramatic attempts was at best mixed, and at worst, unflattering.
Macpherson also experienced mixed success in the business arena. Her personal line of lingerie, Elle Macpherson Intimates, is the top selling brand in Australia. However, her partnership with fellow supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in the creation of the Fashion Café was less fruitful. The troubled restaurant venture went into receivership in 2000.
Macpherson’s first marriage to Gilles Bensimon, a fashion photographer and publication director at Elle, ended in divorce in 1990. In 1998, she and longtime boyfriend Arpad “Arkie” Busson had a son, Flynn. Macpherson and Busson were married in 2002 and had their second child, Aurelius Cy Andrea, in 2003.