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VAN HORN, Nina
(Just Shoot Me!)
c/o Blush Magazine
New York, City, NY (Manhattan)

Nina is a fashion editor for Blush magazine. She is an ex-model, neurotic, anorexic and a smoker.  As a child, Wisconsin-born Nina was abandoned and then adopted by the Noodleman's, farmers from Kansas. They named their new daughter "Claire" (after the family's missing cat) On the farm, Nina performed jobs like calming down the horses. When she had a chance, Claire escaped to the outside world and became Nina Van Horn.

Wendie Malick as Nina Van Horn
The Fabulous Nina Van Horn

Back in the 1970s and 80s Nina had been a top model and partied hardy with the jet set. She married Robert Evans for a month and was responsible for the closing of Studio 54, a popular nightclub. In 1974, Nina was voted model of the year. Nicknamed the "Gotcha Girl," Nina's face graced the covers of such magazines as Blush, Redbook, Mademoiselle, and Vogue. Supermodel Twiggy was once Nina's roommate.

Nina’s leopard skin bikini that she wore on a 1978 Sports Illustrated swim suit issue was put on display at the Model Cafe. A Japanese businessman offered $10,000 to buy it. Nina’s friends later stole it back when she found out it was displayed in front of a trash dumpster. Once, Nina had a genuine zebra-skin dress custom made for Earth Day.

The Cast of JUST SHOOT ME!
The staff of Blush Magazine (Vicki, Jack, Maya, Finch, Nina and Elliot)

Nina's coworkers at Blush included:

  • Jack Gallo, the magazine's oft-wed publisher and Nina's close friend who gave her a job at Blush after he found her down on her luck working as a model [dressed as a mermaid] at a convention
  • Maya Gallo, Jack's daughter, an accomplished journalist who unsuccessfully tries to change the magazine’s “fluffy” tone
  • Dennis Finch, Jack’s sarcastic, power-hungry assistant.
  • Elliott DiMauro, the magazine’s commitment-phobic photographer who sleeps with all the models he shoots
  • Newcomer Vicki Costa, who was hired by Jack for her fresh ideas on fashion (this made Nina feel threatened)

From time to time, both Elliot and Finch joined forces to play practical jokes on Nina. Once, Elliot painted Nina's body gold for a photo shot to revive her modeling career, but when Nina got on his nerve, he told Nina he ran out of the solvent needed to remove the paint. Forced to wear the gold coating for a while, Dennis Finch put his arm about her waist and began to thank the Academy for his Oscar.

Nina's greatest fear in life is losing her looks. But, nothing brightens Nina’s day like hearing about the failure of others. As for Nina’s money situation, what she didn’t put up her nose, she invested in a peanut-powered lawnmower. Nina is allergic to peanut butter. When she eats it, her lips swell up. Her best friend is Binnie.

In 2000, the A&E cable network did a biography retrospective of her career entitled "Nina Van Horn: Trouble Be Thy Name." Hosted by Harry Smith, it revealed some amazing facts about the life of Nina Van Horn, including being a gun totting member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, her recuperation from drug abuse in Upper New York State, starting a failed singing career by cutting a single record called “Sweet Party Time” that fizzled on the charts, going over the edge during a live taping of A.M. Milwaukee and single-handedly broke up the rock group "The Eagles."

Nina Van Horn Painted Gold Nina Van Horn as Foxy Brown - 'I've got your number, super pimp!'
Nina painted gold for cover shoot.

Nina in leather as "Foxy Brown"

As musician Don Henley recalled "She was crashing at Joe Walsh's house and he used to bring her to recording sessions. He didn't want to leave her alone in his house because, well, she would steal things. In the studio, she used to try to sneak in and play tambourine and do background vocals. We couldn't get rid of her, so finally we just said, 'To hell with it, let's all go solo'.'' When asked to sum up Nina with one word, Don Henley, who had mixed feeling on the subject said "destructive, no vibrant. Is there a word that means both those things? I bet the Germans had one." Nina was known as "Flower Power" in the days of Haight-Ashbury and Altamont.

Comedian Buddy Hackett called her a "Back seat driver" while actor Jamie Farr called her "Hot!" Sidney Pollack described Nina as a “beautiful traffic accident.” And author George Plimpton said “Nina opened the toolbox that held the hammer that drove the nail into the coffin that was the 60’s.” Bernie Casey, Nina's costar in the Foxy Brown blaxploitiation films remarked "That was the last time I saw the bitch." (Nina's catchphrase in the film was “I got your number, super pimp.”)

At the turn of the millennium, Nina was approached by a elderly couple who claimed to be her biological parents. Nina took a blood test which proved negative, but she was so enamored with her alleged parents, she lied to them to continue the ruse. Unfortunately, her parents turned out to be a team of gold-digging con-artists who only wanted her money.

In January 2002, Nina received the shock of her life when her daughter, Chloe whom she had given up for adoption 34 years earlier arrived on her door step. Reluctant at first, Nina soon became friends with Chloe and then was further surprised to learn she had a granddaughter named Tess. Unfortunately, Tess, like Nina in her youth, was a wild child who loved, bars, boys and clubs. Both Chloe and Nina went into intervention mode to save the girl for her own good. They even promised to sleep with Dennis Finch, whom Tess was romancing, if he would stop seeing her.

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