Sonja Henie (1912-1969) was the daughter of a wealthy Norwegian family, whose parents encouraged their children to take up sports. When Sonja turned out to be gifted at skating, her parents got her the best tutors, which definitely paid off.
She won championship after championship (10 World Championships, 6 European Championships, three Olympic gold medals). Then she went on to a hugely successful career in films and live shows.
Her films were such hits, 20th Century Fox
, her old studio, tried to replicate the success with Carol Heiss in Snow White and the Three Stooges
, but those filmmakers had evidently not realized what made Sonja's films work.
Her work provides examples of:
- Fanservice: She popularized the short skirts for skating dresses.
- Genre Turning Point: Not just for figure skating, but also making ice shows popular in the US.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Wildly popular in the US, and other countries, but between World War II and the mid 1950s, she wasn't liked in Norway, due to her friendship with Adolf Hitler, and not speaking out in support of the Norwegian resistance. But when she finally came back, it was to cheering crowds.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Cesar Romero was in a few of her films.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: Worn for some publicity photos, rather than worn on film as that would get in the way of her skating.
- Non-Actor Vehicle: Her first few films limited her roles until she got used to being on screen.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Her skating dresses were very fancy.
- Pretty in Mink: If someone wasn't wearing a fur coat in her films, she wore a fur-trimmed skating dress. In Real Life, her father and brother were furriers.
- The Quisling: What she was perceived as in Norway for the aforementioned time.
- She's Got Legs: Her outfits showed them off.
- Sweater Girl: Before the trend took off in The Fifties, she was a pioneer of this trope.