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Pin Up Models: Elyse Knox

Updated on January 29, 2012
Daniella Lopez profile image

Danielle Lopez is a published fantasy author, freelance health and medical writer, finance author, and certified birth & bereavement doula.


Quick Info

  • Professional Name: Elyse Knox
  • Birth Name: Elsie Kornbrath
  • Birthdate: December 14, 1917
  • Occupation: Actress, Model, and Fashion Designer
  • Nationality: American


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Elyse Knox was a B actress and WWII pin up model. Her career only really lasted during the 1940's due to her decided to be a housewife.

Elyse Knox was born Elsie Kornbrath on December 14, 1917 in Hartford, Connecticut. Knox was the daughter of one time Secretary of the Navy, William Franklin Knox. She initially wanted to get into the field of fashion design, which is what she studied at Traphagen School of Fashion.

It was actually her career in fashion design that helped her enter the modeling world when Vogue picked her up after seeing her model some of her own products. This eventually allowed her to enter into the acting world.

Knox worked for a few different film companies, but ultimately settled with Universal in the 40's. It was also during the 40's that she appeared as a pin up model for YANK magazine, a publication by the US military.

In 1942 she married her first husband, photographer Paul Hesse. Hesse had been the one to shoot many of her modeling shots. Their marriage was short lived and ended almost exactly a year after they were wed.

In 1944 she married her former boyfriend, Tom Harmon. Harmon had been a star football player, having won the Heisman trophy in 1940 and also played for the Los Angeles Rams for a year. He was also a WWII hero, having received a Purple Heart due to his plane having been shot down over Japanese territory. The parachute he used to escape his shot down plane was later used as part of his wife's wedding dress.

Elyse Knox ended up becoming the mother of an acting family dynasty, most notably through her son, Mark Harmon (NCIS star). Her other children include Kristin Nelson, wife of Ricky Nelson (son of Ozzie and Harriet) and Kelly Harmon.

Knox never saw her career take off into a huge success, but her modeling shoots can still be found across the internet and by pin up model fans.



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    • maryhoneybee profile image

      maryhoneybee 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      I love coming across articles like these. =) A very beautiful woman. I was most impressed by the parachute being used as part of her wedding dress!

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Thanks guys for the comment! It would be nice if the "celebrities" of today still looked like her. Thanks for reading. :)

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      In a time when babes were babes and still show it! Very classy ladies, all! Great hub!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Wow, I didn't know Elyse Knox did all of that before settling down and having a family. And I agree she looks like a real woman instead of a plastic model of perfection. Very cool hub!

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 6 years ago from Arkansas

      She is stunning! I agree... women had a classier look to them back then that was far more beautiful than what we see today.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Stunning! I prefer the old-time classic look ANY day to the plastic, copy cat "pin up" girls of today.