Forty-eight years ago this month Herb Alpert’s landmark Whipped Cream & Other Delights was released and went on to sell over six million copies—and its playful erotic cover with the whipped cream-covered Dolores Erickson launched as many male fantasies.
A fashion model from the age of 14, Erickson appeared in magazines such as Vogue and Seventeen, as well as on album covers by Nat King Cole and the Sandpipers. As an actress, she rubbed shoulders with John Wayne, double-dated with Audrey Hepburn and guested on TV shows such as Father Knows Best and 77 Sunset Strip. While married to music industry exec Gil Friesen, she befriended Herb Alpert and was asked to pose for Whipped Cream & Other Delights. Today, Erickson, who describes her age as “the ’60s meets the 60s,” is a successful painter and appears occasionally at record conventions.
How did you get the job of posing for this album?
Peter Whorf, who designed the album cover, was engaged to my best girlfriend. Peter was a wonderful photographer who I worked with many times before on cover shoots at Capitol Records. He had his garage converted in a studio, and that’s where we worked. It was just like any other job.
Were you wearing anything beneath the whipped cream?
I was wearing a bikini, and there was a cotton cloth that went around my body. It was shaving cream on the cloth, but on my head was whipped cream. And of course it was whipped cream on my fingers, too. Shaving cream probably doesn’t taste very good (laughs). I don’t remember how many cans it took. We were just talking and hanging out while all this was going on.
Had you done anything as provocative in your modeling?
It didn’t seem any more provocative than other assignments. Many of the couture gowns I wore in magazines were way more revealing.
After the album took off, did you get recognized a lot?
No. It wasn’t until much later that the cover started getting recognition. When I got my first requests for autographs, I thought, “Are you kidding?” (Laughs)
But you did public appearances to promote the album …
Every time there was an awards ceremony, I was flown out from New York. But I was never asked to stand up to be recognized. It was kind of self-explanatory; everyone knew it was me. It was really about Herb and his hot music.
Are you proud to be known as that Whipped Cream girl?
It seems more important than I ever thought it would be. It’s Herb’s album, his music. It’s very humbling to be part of it all. They tell me it’s the world’s most famous album cover. So I just graciously accept the compliment.
—By Bill DeMain