Sports Illustrated (50); Gif by Joseph C. Lin / TIME
The first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was published on January 20, 1964. It was the brain child of Sports Illustrated editor André Laguerre — the winter months were typically a slow season for sports news, so the swimsuit issue was born to fill pages in the magazine.
Fifty years later, the swimsuit issue has grown into one of the world’s most recognized franchises — and propelled countless models to superstardom along the way.
NBC and Time Inc. have partnered to create “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful,” a two-hour TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue set to air on NBC, Monday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.