A drop-dead gorgeous purebred Tonkinese, feline supermodel Ms. Lucie's short, meteoric existence—which ended due to liver failure on June 13 at the age of 35 (in cat years)—is a cautionary tale of sex, glamour, fame, and excess.
Ms. Lucie grew up dirt poor in a rural West Virginia trailer park. Her father, Teddy Pontoon, was considered one of Appalachia's foremost crystal meth pioneers, nose-deep in speed long before it penetrated middle-class America. Needless to say, he was out of the picture for most of Ms. Lucie's upbringing, which was left to her mother, Spacek, who worked the JCPenney perfume counter in a mill town called Meowsville.
Spacek put all her eggs in Ms. Lucie's basket when it became apparent that the willowy teen might thrive in the pageant world, pouring her hard-earned wages into tap lessons and weekly grooming sessions. After being named Miss Teen Appalachia, Ms. Lucie was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency and quickly flown to Paris, where she shared a flat with three other runway aspirants—one of whom was Naomi Campbell.
Together, Ms. Lucie and Campbell set Paris ablaze with their primal, revolutionary approach to modeling. By night, the pair eschewed food in favor of bottomless flutes of French 75s and mounds of cocaine, partying until all hours with the likes of Barry Manilow, Sean Young, Walter Matthau, and Natalie Cole. Ms. Lucie ended up in the hospital at the peak of her fame after being drugged and raped by a pug named Neo. Upon her release, she, like so many addicts, swore off drugs—but soon fell into old habits, dating Emilio Estevez and starring in straight-to-video flicks with Richard Grieco (to whom she was also romantically attached for a spell).
Her liver shot from nearly two decades of nonstop debauchery, Ms. Lucie became a virtual shut-in and hired Julie Pearson to be her caretaker. Of her employer, Pearson says: "Her vanity didn't clash with friendship. But God, she was such a bitch."
A feature film based on Ms. Lucie's life, Catwalk/Can't Walk, is currently in preproduction, with Angelina Jolie reportedly set to star.
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