Most red-blooded American males remember our first time gazing at the pages of Playboy magazine, and of course, that issue’s Playmate of the Month. She’s a girl we’ll never forget. Some went on to further their careers in the spotlight, (such as Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy) while most others seem to have faded away into obscurity.
I was far too young to buy a copy of the January 1977 issue of Playboy at the time it hit the newsstands, so I creatively acquired it with the help of a friend’s older brother. Miss January 1977 was Susan Lynn Kiger, who went on to have a brief acting career after her gatefold appearance, as well as being featured in and on the covers of a few subsequent issues of Playboy.
Susan (pictured above right from a 1977 Playboy cover shoot) also holds the distinction of being the only Playmate to have appeared in a porn film before becoming a Playmate. (The film was 1976’s Deadly Love and those of you thinking Susan wasn’t the only one, I’ll correctly inform you here and now: No, Miss April 1986 Teri Weigel did porn after she became a Playmate.) Susan’s post-Playmate acting credits consisted of a few TV shows and low-budget movies, most notably the 1979 T&A comedy H.O.T.S., alongside fellow Playmates Pamela Bryant and Sandy Johnson. She also had a small part in the 1980 film Galaxina, which starred another of her fellow Playmates, the ill-fated Dorothy Stratten. Oh, and I’m refraining from using the term “former” Playmates here because according to Playboy (meaning Hugh Hefner); “once a Playmate, always a Playmate.”
Besides the acting roles listed at her IMDb, Susan was also one of the voice actors on the 1981 comedy album The First Family Rides Again, which was a parody of then-President Regan’s family. Her last film appearance was in the 1982 slasher Death Screams aka House of Death. Since then, she’s seemed to have slipped clean off the radar. According to Susan’s IMDb bio, she’s now working as a hair stylist in no specific city in Southern California. It’s safe to say that she’s still alive and well as of this writing, because Playboy sort of keeps tabs on all of their past Playmates and, even though they respect the privacy of those who want to live private lives, if a death occurs, they’ll report it.
My research has revealed Susan’s probable current and former married names, as well as the name of her current business, and what city it’s in, but out of respect for her privacy, I won’t reveal that info here and I have made no attempt to contact her. If she’s reading this, I would very much welcome a message from her, but I assume there’s a slim chance of that happening, as it seems apparent that she wishes to stay away from the public eye. So, until I know for certain why Playboy’s Miss January 1977 suddenly left and has remained out of show biz since the early 80s, and what she’s done since leaving the spotlight, she’ll remain in my “Whatever Happened to..?” file.
(Thanks to A. Pennyworth of 1966Batmobile.com)
(Left to right) Susan, Lisa London, Pamela Bryant, and Kimberly Cameron as the founding members of H.O.T.S.; a group who were sort of an “alternative” sorority. At first, the name appeared to be an acronym of the four ladies’ initials. A rival from another sorority believed it stood for “Hold On To Sex,” but the girls stated later in the film that it stood for “Help Out The Seals.”
With Jacqueline Cole (credited in this and most of her other roles as Jacqulin Cole) in the 1979 action film Angels’ Brigade (also know as Angels Revenge and Seven From Heaven). Directed by Greydon Clark, this film also has touches of comedy and has since become a minor cult classic. Besides Susan, among the cast are a few other ladies who now reside in the “Whatever Happened to..?” file.
As Susie in the 1980 T&A comedy, The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood
As “Blue Girl” in the brothel scene from 1980’s Galaxina. A very small part for Susan, considering she’d already established herself as a fairly good draw among Playboy readers after her starring role in H.O.T.S. However, Galaxina was the then-newly-crowned Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten’s star vehicle and the film had no other prominent female part for Susan. I’ve wondered; if Dorothy had turned down the project or had been killed before it started production, perhaps it still would have been made with Susan in the title role instead.
As Lily Carpenter in Death Screams. Released in May of 1982, this was Susan’s last film appearance. While it was one of her best acting jobs, it wasn’t one of her more memorable roles.
Her January 1977 centerfold, photographed by Ken Marcus
January 2014 Update: