Portrait of Lisa Larsen. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Portrait of Lisa Larsen. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A recipient of many awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, which she received just one year before she died of cancer, Lisa Larsen (c. 1925-1959) used her Leica to render sympathetic portraits notable for their warmth. She survived a rigorous trip to the Himalayas and was the first American photographer to enter Outer Mongolia after a government-enforced 10-year ban. Beyond these far-flung assignments, the German-born Larsen was known as the “glamour girl” of press photography for her way of endearing herself to people, particularly those in the news. The otherwise gruff Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gifted her with a bouquet of peonies, and North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh said, “If I were a young man, I’d be in love with you.”

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Girls of the Children's School of Modern Dancing, rehearsing on the beach. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Girls of the Children’s School of Modern Dancing, rehearsing on the beach. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Soviet athletes Boris Tokarev (L) and Vladimir Suharev (R) practicing for the Russian Olympics. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Soviet athletes Boris Tokarev (L) and Vladimir Suharev (R) practicing for the Russian Olympics. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Eleanor Roosevelt talking to another UN delegate near a mural by artist Fernand Leger, 1952. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Eleanor Roosevelt talking to another UN delegate near a mural by artist Fernand Leger, 1952. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

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