Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas' dress

Courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

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Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas' Dress, 1967
While the Mamas and the Papas were defining a lifestyle for their fans to emulate, Cass Elliot was redefining the concept of beauty. There's no doubt that with her rich, vibrant contralto, vocally she was the strongest member of the group. Most critics, however, focused on her size. While Cass may or may not have internalized all of the attention paid to her weight, she gave every appearance of being comfortable in her skin and is a seminal influence in the movement towards destigmatization of obesity. In 1966, New York magazine wrote about Cass, "She is a star, not despite her weight, or because of it, but beyond it."

More about Cass
From 1965 to 1968, the Mamas and the Papas recorded a series of Top 10 hits. The group's last hit, "Dream a Little Dream of Me," essentially launched Cass Elliot's solo career. Her solo hits included 1969's "It's Getting Better," "Make Your Own Kind of Music" and "New World Coming." In 1974, Cass traveled to London, where she had a two-week engagement at the London Palladium. After performing to sellout audiences, Cass succumbed to a heart attack on July 29, 1974.