Top Sixties model sues Mad Men studio for using her image 'without permission' in the hit show's iconic opening credits  

  • Gita Hall May, 79, is suing Lionsgate for 'failing to seek permission' to use an advert she appeared in in the 1950s
  • The beauty queen turned model filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the use of her image on the Emmy winning show's famous opening sequence
  • The striking redhead poses in a Revlon advert as the silhouette of an ad man is seen falling in front of her from a Manhattan skyscraper

A top Sixties model is suing makers of the hit TV show Mad Men for using her image without consent in the opening credits, it emerged today.

The stunning image of Gita Hall May, well-known for her eye-catching red hair, is seen projected on a skyscraper in the Emmy-winning show's iconic opening credits.

During the show's title music a silhouette of an 'ad man' is seen falling among the Manhattan skyline with famous adverts shown all around him. May's image is included and comes from an advert she did for Revlon hairspray in the 1950s.

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Controversy: Gita Hall May is suing Lionsgate for this image in the opening credits of Mad Men. The sequence shows an image of the model, pictured, she claims was used without her consent

Top model: Gita Hall May, pictured, was a popular 1950s and 1960s model. She claims Mad Men used her image to give the show credibility and she is entitled to damages as a result

In a complaint filed to Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, showbiz website Deadline reports, Hall May. 79, claimed Mad Men studio Lionsgate failed to request her permission to use the image shot by famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon. 

'I wished they had had the courtesy to get in touch with me,” she told ABC News on Monday.

'I was surprised because nobody had checked with me about it– they must have thought I was dead.'

She says the now well-known opening sequence put together by design firm Imaginary Forces helped the drama, starring January Jones and John Hamm, become a success. 

'At no time did she agree to allow, forty years later, her image to be cropped from the photo, in secret, and inserted as a key element in the title sequence of a cable television series, without her consent and for commercial purposes,' her complaint says.  

'The Main Titles were integral to the success of Mad Men'.

Upset: Hall said on a morning show that no one tried to get in touch with her and she assumes they thought she must be dead

Award-winner: Mad Men which first appeared on screens in 2007 has been both critically acclaimed and popular among the public. It follows central character Don Draper, pictured

Redhead: Character Joan is seen as the epitome of fifties glamor in the hit series. Gita Hall May was a model well-known for her striking red hair

It goes on to point out the titles themselves won an Emmy and the show's producers have made in excess of $1billion as a result of the series' success.  

May says she only became aware of the use of her image last May despite it appearing in the credits since the show's pilot in 2007.

She claims the show used her image to give the series credibility.

'Defendants sought to include the likeness of a famous celebrity from the 1950s in the credits in order to promote and burnish the image of the show in the eyes of the public and to create the 'feel' of the program that was critical to its commercial success... Defendants sought Plaintiff's image because she was among the top models of her day,' the lawsuit says.

Lionsgate were unavailable to comment on the legal action which seeks unspecified damages. 

Fifties beauty: Gita Hall May, pictured, is claiming unspecified damages in the lawsuit filed today

Lawsuit: Hall May filed the lawsuit against the hit TV show in an LA court on Friday

The highly anticipated sixth season of the popular show which follows the lives and affairs of Don Draper and his ad world colleagues is due to return on April 7.

It is said to be the second to last season of the popular AMC drama.

Gita Hall May, 79, was a former Miss Sweden who became an actress and model.

She was famously married to the actor Barry Sullivan and appeared in numerous adverts and fashion magazines throughout the fifties and sixties shot by photographers such as Avedon and Irving Penn.


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