‘Mad Men’ Sued by '50s Model Gita Hall for Using Her Image to Open Show

Monday, 04 Mar 2013 04:07 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A 79-year-old Swedish model who might look vaguely familiar to viewers of AMC's "Mad Men" is suing Lionsgate Entertainment for using a photo of her taken decades ago to anchor the opening of the popular, award-winning television show.

Gita Hall, a top fashion model of the 1950s and 1960s, said she had no idea until recently that her image had been used in the TV show's opening since 2007.

"I wished they had had the courtesy to get in touch with me," she told ABC News which is displaying side-by-side images of Hall and the one from the show's opening. "I was surprised because nobody had checked with me about it – they must have thought I was dead."

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Hall claims the photo was taken more than half a century ago by famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon as part of a Revlon cosmetics advertisement and was used without her consent. She filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday.

Hall is seeking an undisclosed compensation, claiming the "the value her image contributed to their property or the revenues that her image contributed to their profit," The Hollywood Reporter reported.

The lawsuit also claims producers used Hall's image to "evoke recollections of this now distant time" and estimates the show has earned more than a billion dollars so far. Hall says her image is a "center piece" of the show’s opening, ABC News reports.

Kevin Leichter, Hall's attorney, said that if the situation was reversed, Lionsgate Entertainment would take a similar action against a person using their products for commercial purposes.

"If two minutes of ‘Mad Men’ had been taken for commercial purposes, Lionsgate would be throwing thermonuclear bombs," Leichter said.

ABC News Legal Analyst Dana Cole agreed.

"She actually may have a case here, you cannot use someone’s likeness without their permission," Cole said.

A native of Sweden, Hall appeared in films like "Wolf Larsen" and the Ernest Hemingway adaptation of "The Gun Runners."

Lionsgate did not comment on the lawsuit.

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"Mad Men," which premiered on July 19, 2007, is set in the 1960s and based around a fictional advertising agency in New York City. The show has won 15 Emmys and four Golden Globes in the past six years.

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