Pioneers in Plastic Surgery: Famous Faces

Susan Anderson

by Susan Anderson | September 7, 2012 @ 11:00AM

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Not only have doctors expanded the cosmetic surgery industry, many famous faces can be credited with bringing the practice into mainstream awareness and acceptance. The following is a list of a few notable Hollywood celebrities who speak up on the topic and whose bodies of work speak for themselves.

Joan Rivers

Joan RiversAdmitting to over 739 procedures, Joan Rivers is obsessed with cosmetic surgery. Starting in 1965 at age 32, Rivers underwent an eye lift. Since then, the potty-mouthed comic and TV host has added multiple facelifts, several nose jobs, Botox, liposuction, breast implants, cheek implants and a brow lift to her expansive list of cosmetic procedures. Never one to be shy, Rivers chooses to openly discuss and joke about her cosmetic surgeries.

“I talked about it from the beginning because it’s so wonderful. There is still a certain group that doesn’t talk. They want you to think they’re naturally  gorgeous. That makes me laugh. Just look at your old pictures. Your teeth got straight overnight!”

Rivers’ enthusiasm for going under the knife does not sit well with her family. At 79, daughter Melissa Rivers, thinks mom has had more than enough and even staged an intervention to make her position clear. Despite her daughter’s concerns, Rivers still believes in a little maintenance work every four months and continues to be an advocate of plastic surgery for older women making her a pioneer in plastic surgery.

"I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery."

Phyllis Diller

Phyllis DillerThe wonderfully unique Phyllis Diller began her Hollywood career seemingly late in life but easily found her stride next to Jack Paar, Jack Benny and Bob Hope, to name a few. Her brazen quirkiness only added to her charm but Diller decided to alter her unconventional looks starting in the 1970’s making her one of the first actresses to embrace cosmetic surgery. Diller has confessed to at least 15 different procedures including facelifts, breast reduction, tummy tucks, teeth bonding, cheek implants, rhinoplasty, and chemical peels.

Diller famously disparaged her looks in her comedy routines and the series of surgeries and procedures only gave her more material. Revered for her quick wit and trailblazing career, Diller was not only a pioneer for other female comedians, she was one of the first famous faces to publicly applaud their cosmetic surgery and surgeons.

"I love to go to the doctor. Where else would a man look at me and say 'Take off your clothes'?"

Kathy Griffin

Kathy GriffinComic Kathy Griffin loves to talk trash about her celebrity friends and enemies and it wasn’t a surprise that she turned the tables on herself to discuss her cosmetic surgery story. With aspirations of going from the “D” list to one of Hollywood’s go-to gals, Griffin’s first cosmetic surgery experience was with liposuction in 1999 and from which she developed potentially fatal complications. But, never a quitter, Griffin decided to go for it again and over a period of several months underwent rhinoplasty, Japanese hair straightening, dental veneers, brow lift, more liposuction and a facial peel. Read more.

Griffin’s candidness regarding her procedures is a refreshing change of pace for the usually tight-lipped tinsel town and that’s why Griffen make our list of plastic surgery pioneers.                                                                                                                                      


Heidi Montag

Heidi MontagReality TV star Heidi Montag put herself on the cosmetic surgery map in 2010 when she elected to undergo ten procedures in one day. No stranger to cosmetic surgery (Montag had previously had rhinoplasty, collagen lip injections and breast implants), the admittedly obsessed actress added a brow lift, rhinoplasty revision, liposuction, butt augmentation, breast augmentation revision, facial fat injections, chin reduction, otoplasty and botox to her resume. Montag was seeking ‘perfection’ in the hopes of advancing her career and sex appeal.

In reality, Montag did not find the type of stardom she was hoping for. With minimal industry credits since surgery, Montag has become an example of going too far in the name of fame.

Almost three years later, Montag says she regrets the marathon surgery and will focus on exercise and a healthy diet to look and feel better.  

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton“It takes a lot of money to look this cheap” and Dolly Parton has committed to the quote she made famous many years ago.  With a famous set of 40DD’s, not only has Parton had breast augmentation surgery, the country songstress has regular breast lifts to keep them perky and in the proper place. But she doesn’t stop there, Parton has had Botox, upper eyelid surgery, a facelift, neck lift, buttocks lift and chemical peels.

Parton’s looks were inspired by a woman in her tiny Tennessee town who dressed in gaudy clothes with bottle blonde hair. Parton’s mother dismissed the woman as “trash” but the then 8 year-old Parton knew she wanted to be that woman when she grew up.
Dolly Parton was meant to stand-out and become a star and through her commitment to her “style” created and maintained by cosmetic surgery, Parton is a pioneer in plastic surgery.

"If I see something sagging, bagging, and dragging, I’m going to nip it, tuck it, and suck it. Why should I look like an old barn yard dog if I don't have to?"

Kenny Rogers

Kenny RogersNashville royalty and country music superstar Kenny Rogers might regret some of the cosmetic surgery he’s had in his life but this self-proclaimed ‘plastic surgery king’ opened the door for men in Hollywood to nip and tuck on their way to aging gracefully. Pressured to keep a more youthful appearance after marrying a younger woman, Rogers has had eyelid surgery and a brow lift. The procedures left the skin surrounding the eyes too tight, taking some of the warmth away from his appearance. Rogers continues the upkeep on his appearance and continues to melt us with that voice and for that, Kenny Rogers is one of our pioneers in plastic surgery.

‘'I think when you’re in the public eye, you feel a pressure to stay younger looking."

Pamela Anderson

Pamela AndersonPamela Anderson’s breasts have had a career all on their own. They were first discovered at a British Columbia Lions football game while wearing a Labatt’s Beer t-shirt and the appearance won Anderson her first commercial contract. From there, Playboy came calling (a call they have made 13 times thus far). But it was only after Anderson’s second Playboy appearance that she underwent the first of several breast augmentation procedures. Over time, these surgeries have been to both enlarge and decrease the size of her implants

Anderson is more than a pretty face and a curvy figure, she has been a spokesperson for the breast implant industry and advised the FDA on silicone breast implants.

"I don't recommend surgery at all. Women's bodies are beautiful as they are, and I've had a love/hate relationship with my breasts my whole life."

Who else would make your list for influential famous faces in cosmetic surgery? Let us know in the comments.

Read Part 1 Pioneers in Plastic Surgery: Doctors

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