10 Facts About Blondie's Debbie Harry On Her 75th Birthday

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On July 1, 1945, Angela Trimble was born in Miami, Florida. If that name doesn't sound familiar, it's probably because you know her as Debbie Harry, the co-founder and lead singer of the iconic New Wave and punk rock band Blondie. While Harry recently shared a lot of herself in Face It: A Memoir, here are a few facts you might not know about the blonde bombshell and her band.

1. Debbie Harry is a natural redhead.

In a 2017 essay for InStyle, Debbie Harry revealed that her natural color pulls red. “My own hair was strawberry blonde with a lot of red in it,” she wrote. “In the summer my highlights would really come out. I hung out with older girls at the municipal pool in Hawthorne, New Jersey, where I grew up. There was one girl in particular whose blonde hair I really liked. Her mother was a beautician, so I asked her about accelerating the highlight process.” The girl told her to mix two-thirds peroxide with one-third ammonia and comb it through her hair—basically, a homemade Sun-In. “It worked,” Harry said. As an adult, she’d go increasingly platinum, favoring at-home box dyes and becoming ever more adept at achieving ultra-pale shades.

Even to this day, Harry mostly continues to bleach her hair at home. “I’ve always liked doing my color at home myself because I can walk around and do things,” she said. “I used to take a bath while I had the bleach on my head, and at the end I’d just submerge. It may not have been the best method, but it was expedient. I get very antsy in a salon chair."

2. As a child, Debbie Harry used to daydream that her real mother was Marilyn Monroe.

Deborah Ann Harry was adopted at 3 months old by New Jersey gift shop owners Richard and Catherine Harry. She learned that she was adopted at age 4, and said it gave her a sense of freedom. "They explained it to me in a really nice way," Harry told the Independent. "It made me feel quite special somehow. I sometimes attribute my, uh, adventurous nature to that ... I have an open mind about things. It didn't present me with any borders.”

3. “Blondie” was the nickname truck drivers gave Debbie Harry when they saw her sashaying along the sidewalk.

“It was just from what people yelled at Debbie,” Blondie guitarist Chris Stein told Boston radio station WBUR of the band name's origins in 2017. “Debbie came home one day with her hair dyed blonde and then told me within a week or so truck drivers were yelling, 'Hey, Blondie!' at her all the time.”

There’s apparently been a persistent rumor that the band was named after Adolf Hitler’s dog, but Stein debunked that myth. “The Hitler’s dog thing? I don’t know if I knew about that [then],” Stein said. “There’s no 'e' on Hitler’s dog’s name; it was B-l-o-n-d-i.”

The band’s original name was Angel and the Snake. They changed the name to Blondie in late 1975. In the early days, casual fans and the press seemed to believe that “Blondie” and Debbie Harry were interchangeable. So the band had buttons made that read “BLONDIE IS A GROUP.”

4. Another one of Debbie Harry's childhood nicknames wasn’t as flattering.

When she was a kid, Harry was nicknamed 'Moon.' "An oval face was considered beautiful, not a broad round blob like mine, which earned me the nickname Moon,” Harry revealed in the book Making Tracks: The Rise of Blondie. She’s since obviously grown into her face, with Vogue even including her in their list of the ‘Best Cheekbones of All Time.’

5. Debbie Harry once worked as a Playboy bunny.

Harry worked at New York City’s Playboy Club from 1968 to 1973, according to TIME, and her hair was long and (reddish) brown. Then in 1973, she met guitarist (and future boyfriend) Chris Stein, and the rest is history.

6. “Rapture” was the first Number 1 song in the United States to feature rap vocals.

Harry is realistic, however, and realizes that this does not make her a rapper. “Creatively it did one thing in particular: It was the first rap song to have its own original music. Commercially it made rap viable for the mainstream charts,” Harry told Rolling Stone in 2004. “I don’t think it was a tremendous influence. I am nowhere close to being a rapper. I’m completely in awe of great rappers.” A few of the rappers she admires? Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, Ludacris, and 50 Cent.

7. Debbie Harry likes a good bottle of Chardonnay.

In fact, it’s the one thing Harry has to have backstage when she’s touring. In 2017, Harry told Bon Appétit that she usually prefers Cakebread Cellars. However, there’s a nameless one that still sticks in her mind. “Once I was at a festival in Europe—I can’t remember where—and the promoter was really into wine," she said. "He brought out a bottle of Chardonnay that I probably would have slept with if it had been a person. So delicious.”

8. For decades, Harry believed she might have had a near-disastrous brush with serial killer Ted Bundy.

In 1972, when hitchhiking didn’t have the bad rap it does today, Harry climbed into a stranger’s car on Avenue C in New York’s East Village after she couldn't find a taxi. The driver was a good-looking, well-dressed young man with dark curly hair. According to Interview magazine, Harry’s original account of the event was detailed in an unnamed newspaper in 1989. “I got in the car, and it was summertime and the windows were all rolled up except about an inch and a half at the top,” Harry said. “So I was sitting there and he wasn’t really talking to me. Automatically, I sort of reached to roll down the window and I realized there was no door handle, no window crank, no nothing. The inside of the car was totally stripped out.”

To escape, Harry squeezed her arm out the window and opened the door from the outside. “As soon as he saw that, he tried to turn the corner really fast, and I spun out of the car and landed in the middle of the street,” Harry said. When she read about Ted Bundy’s execution years later, she thought back to that incident: “The whole description of how he operated and what he looked like and the kind of car he drove and the time frame he was doing that in that area of the country fit exactly," she said. "I said, ‘My God, it was him.'"

Her suspicion has since been debunked, since Bundy wasn’t known to have been in New York City, and wasn't known to abduct any women until at least 1974. Harry herself admits that the car didn’t match Bundy’s Volkswagen. She told RuPaul on an episode of his podcast, “I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t [Bundy’s Volkswagen]. It didn’t have the same dashboard. It was squarer.” Still, scary!

9. “Call Me” was originally earmarked for Stevie Nicks.

Written by songwriter Giorgio Moroder, “Call Me” spent six weeks at number one, becoming the biggest-selling song of 1980, according to NME. But the song almost never came Harry's way; Moroder had originally tried to give the song to Stevie Nicks. She reportedly loved the demo, but couldn’t use it due to inter-label politics (she had just signed with a new label, which somehow would have made working with Moroder difficult).

10. Debbie Harry is widely considered a style icon.

From very early on in Blondie’s evolution, Debbie Harry began collaborating with fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse on her outfits. Sprouse was working with Halston at the time, so Harry would often wear slip dresses and fabulous berets and trench coats and boots. But, as she told W magazine, they would also make use of found objects. “There was a real sense of play,” she explained. “New York City was bankrupt and garbage was all over the place, so you could always find fabulous things that people were throwing away. Or people were being evicted and the landlord would just heave-ho their stuff onto the street.”

Dazed & Confused magazine catalogued some of the singer’s looks, and one of the favorites was a dress fashioned from what was originally a zebra-print pillowcase, which Harry wore during an iconic 1978 photo shoot for ZigZag magazine. Other favorite looks include an “Andy Warhol’s BAD” T-shirt (Harry was immortalized in several works by the late artist); a child-sized leather motorcycle jacket (“I was very small then,” Harry said); and a screen-printed homemade T-shirt paired with a black beret and “really hot, good-looking pants.” The latter outfit, she says, was inspired by both Patty Hearst and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon


When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76


Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120


This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90


With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62


This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60


For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100


The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100


Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52


This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

You Can Play Real Music on This 3622-Piece LEGO Grand Piano


Putting together thousands of LEGO pieces can provide hours of entertainment, but there isn't much you can do with most sets once they're assembled. That isn't the case with the new grand piano model from the company; once it's put together, this LEGO set plays like a real instrument, according to Travel + Leisure.

With 3622 pieces and several moving parts, the grand piano is one of the more complex products the toy company has made. Like a real piano, the lid props open to reveal its intricate inner workings, and each of the 25 keys connects to its own hammer, so you can have the satisfaction of playing your toy piano after building it piece by piece. The model also features a keyboard cover that opens, pedals that move up and down, an adjustable bench, and a music stand.

If you don't know how to play a piano of any size, LEGO can take care of that part for you. Connect your creation to a free smartphone app to have it play your choice of five songs on its own. For builders who can read music, the set comes with a piece of sheet music composed by the fan designer who pitched the model idea. You can also use the app to compose and record your own LEGO masterpieces.

The LEGO grand piano is listed at $350 in the LEGO store, though the product is temporarily out of stock. You can watch the complete set in action in the video below.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.