Although her mother managed to get her into this party dress and curls, Laura was a tomboy, playing baseball with kids in her neighborhood, fishing with her uncle up in Coffeyville, Kansas, building forts and climbing trees.
Meanwhile, she was busy writing stories. All kinds of stories. Pencil-written tales about campers in the Ozarks facing rampaging elephants; short stories about pioneers building rocket ships to the moon.
All along, she planned to be a writer. She did just fine in school, becoming a spelling champion and prize-winning essayist – until 11th grade. Then, teenage distractions took over. Grades went into free-fall. Our girl slunk out of high school with her diploma and called it quits on her formal education. Mom and Dad were not pleased.
A few months later, Laura ditched Tulsa for New Orleans with $34 in her pocket and the promise of a job at the local Playboy Club.
For the next year and a half, she worked as a Bunny in the French Quarter, doing the Bunny Dip and introducing the nightly shows upstairs in the Penthouse.
One evening, a Playboy rep from Chicago came into the club, scouting talent for the magazine.
Laura was plucked from the chorus line, so to speak, and ended up in the gatefold (centerfold) and on the cover of the February 1975 issue. Not too many Playmates have graced both the cover and the gatefold of the same issue.
Bimini, The Bahamas, 1976
Photo by Ray Fisher
All this led to a brief acting career in some not-very-memorable movies -- Mandingo, Mardi Gras Massacre, French Quarter -- and one halfway decent flick, Hard Times, with Charles Bronson and James Coburn.
Laura’s first Playboy Magazine cover shot (above) was taken in her Mandingo costume and makeup. She did a later cover featuring all the 1975 Playmates. Her initial test shots for the magazine were taken by Playboy legend Pompeo Posar. The wonderful Richard Fegley shot her gatefold and accompanying layout and did many other photo shoots with Laura, fashion and otherwise, over the next few years.
Laura also worked with top Playboy staff photographers Dwight Hooker and David Chan, and well-known commercial photographers Ray Fisher (out of Miami) and Chris Callaway (out of New Orleans).
With Playmate fame came personal appearances. Along the way there were car shows in Sioux City, Iowa, trips to military bases; a private birthday party for an oil baron at his antebellum mansion, where Laura popped out of a huge cake in a bikini; a hot-air balloon race in the Bahamas; a maraca-shaking turn in the San Antonio River Parade with First Lady Betty Ford; and a Special Appearance (yeah!) at the Spanky McFarland Invitational Golf Tournament in Marion, Indiana. Yes, that would be Spanky of Our Gang. Yep. It was that glamorous.
Photo by Chris Callaway
Laura kept busy doing layouts for the magazine, modeling in New Orleans and making Playmate appearances from Texas to Iowa to Florida and points in between.
The wild ride lasted about five years. It was time to boogie out of New Orleans. Laura followed the sun down to Miami, and promptly got a job as a bartender at the Whale and Sail Club. That led to a gig at the Dade Athletic Pub, which turned out to be a media hangout. And the key to her future career. It was at the DAP that Laura met people from The Miami Herald. Through those contacts, she began freelancing for the paper and eventually landed a job as a copy girl on the financial page.
At the age of 26, she left the late-night club scene, plunged into the newsroom and never looked back. She worked her way up to reporter, covering city hall, cops, courts, religion, the waterfront, general assignment (GA, her favorite), you name it. She loved it.
Though she was working as a daily assignment reporter, Laura also wrote longer pieces for Tropic, the paper’s Sunday magazine, and found a niche as a feature writer. At that time, The Herald was one of the best newspapers in America, known for its top-notch investigative reporting and stellar writing. South Florida in the late Seventies and early Eighties was a wild mix of high rollers, cocaine cowboys, international intrigue and lowdown politics.
It was a great time and place to be a journalist.
After a lengthy sojourn in the sub-tropics, the heartland was calling, and in 1986 Laura moved to high and dry Colorado, where she has hung her cowboy hat ever since. There were stints at The Rocky Mountain News and the alternative weekly Westword before settling in at The Denver Post.
In 1997, St. Martin’s Press published her first novel, Carry Me Back, a tale about an ex-con who goes on the road to be a bluegrass musician and falls back in time with Hank Williams. Critics called it “Jack Finney’s Time and Again meets the Grand Ole Opry.” Carry Me Back got nice reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly), and Laura kept on with newspapering and freelancing for magazines.
In 2005, just after Hurricane Katrina, Salon published an essay by Laura about her life in New Orleans. You can read it here:
In 2012, Laura's latest novel, Yours Truly, the Queen, was published, receiving five-star reviews on Amazon and BlueInk. Is there a sequel in the works?
In her spare time, Our Miss February is an avid golfer – currently playing to a 16 handicap – and an equally avid bicyclist and banjo player!
Do not adjust your set – Laura, though right-handed, plays golf as a lefty. Hey, it works for Phil Mickelson!
Here she is teeing off in Palm Springs, one of her favorite places.
In closing, a note from Laura:
You’ll notice, of course, that this website is not set up to sell anything, nor is it set up to be interactive. It’s strictly informational. At least for now that’s how I prefer it. I’m just a banjo-pickin’ gal from Colorado. You understand. I’m content to kick back, enjoy the mountain scenery and be myself.
Thanks for visiting Laura Misch’s webpage, and check in again from time to time for updates. Playboy, Playmate, and Miss February are registered trademarks of Playboy Enterprises Incorporated (PEI) registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. No copyright infringement intended or implied. All pictures and text on this site are copyrighted Laura Misch, 2013, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. No portion of this website may be used in any other format, including print and electronic, without express written permission from the copyright owner. Violators will be prosecuted. This site is run strictly as an information site for the fans of Laura Misch and has no connection to Playboy Enterprises Incorporated