Malibu Canyon’s mysterious pink lady stopped traffic for five days in 1966—and then she was gone

Pink Lady

Barry Balin was 21 years old in 1966 when a friend phoned him and told him to grab his camera and come to Malibu Canyon. “We ran out there . . . it was chaos. We set up our 4x5 Polaroid camera and shot one single photo before leaving.”

One morning in 1966, a 60-foot-high painted image of a naked woman, flowers in her hand, her black hair flowing freely in the wind, appeared on the rock face high above the northbound opening of Malibu Canyon tunnel. Five days later, all that remained of the infamous nude was a ghostly pink outline of her voluptuous body.

In a way, the shadow of who she had been was even more provocative. Those traveling through Malibu Canyon could only imagine what she must have looked like.

The Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon was the work of artist Lynne Seemayer, the then-31-year-old mother of two who wanted to replace the mountain’s graffiti with something beautiful.

Over several months, working only by the light of the moon, the artist used ropes to suspend herself on the rock, painting over the graffiti and then outlining her figure. On the night of October 28 she began painting at 8 p.m. By morning, the Pink Lady was complete.

For days the local news buzzed with reports of the guerilla art. The artist, who worked in a law firm in the San Fernando Valley, told the Los Angeles Times she was surprised by the attention her Pink Lady received. Then, almost as quickly as she appeared, the Pink Lady was gone, painted over by county workers as a crowd of onlookers protested.

But her blurred shadow remained and for many years those who traveled the canyon would point at where, for a brief moment in time, the Pink Lady had danced freely.
—L.G.H.

Photo by BARRY BALIN