Cynthia Plaster Caster was born Cynthia Albritton in Chicago in May 1947.
The only child of Lithuanian-Americans from Chicago’s Southside, she was shy and unpopular at school and developed a thing for English men and for rock musicians.
In college in the late 1960s, she received an assignment to make a plaster cast of “anything hard enough to retain its shape” and hit upon the idea of casting the erect penis of rock stars.
The project proved to be her entree to groupiedom, and notoriety was her revenge on her schoolmates.
Using a dental mould-making substance called alginate, her first celebrity “model” was Jimi Hendrix in February 1968.
Cynthia found a patron in Frank Zappa – who found the concept both humorous and creative as an art form – and he moved her to Los Angeles, where she found no shortage of willing musicians eager to be immortalised in a casting.
The casts were entrusted to Zappa’s legal partner, Herb Cohen, for safekeeping.
In 1993 – after years of wrangling – Cynthia initiated court proceedings to retrieve the 25 casts Cohen held (she received all but three of them back).
In 2000, she finally held her first exhibition of the casts in New York City.
The collection includes Hendrix, Eric Burdon of The Animals, Wayne Kramer of MC5, Lovin’ Spoonful, guitarist Harvey Mandel, Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys and Jon Langford of The Mekons.
In 1969 Pamela Des Barres, of Frank Zappa’s groupie group The GTOs, recorded a telephone conversation with Cynthia for the GTOs album Permanent Damage.
In 2001, Albritton was the subject of a film documentary, Plaster Caster, and contributed to the BBC Three documentary My Penis and I (2005). She has inspired at least two songs: Five Short Minutes by Jim Croce and Plaster Caster by Kiss.
In 2010, Albritton ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Chicago, Illinois on the “Hard Party” ticket.
She passed away on 21 April 2022 after a long illness.