Cynthia Albritton, aka Cynthia Plaster Caster, superfan famed for making molds of rock stars’ private parts, dead at 74

She got the idea for her plaster casts from her art teacher at the University of Illinois Chicago and made them using Jeltrate dental mold, plaster and water.

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Cynthia Albritton (right), aka Cynthia Plaster Caster, and super-groupie and author Pamela Des Barres in front of the movie poster for “The Banger Sisters” at the film’s premiere in 2002 in Los Angeles.

Cynthia Albritton (right), aka Cynthia Plaster Caster, and super-groupie and author Pamela Des Barres in front of the movie poster for “The Banger Sisters” at the film’s premiere in 2002 in Los Angeles.

AP

Cynthia Albritton, aka Cynthia Plaster Caster, the superfan famed for making molds of the private parts of rock musicians, died Thursday in Chicago, according to a friend, musician Babette Novak, and the funeral organization handling her arrangements.

The longtime Lincoln Park resident would have turned 75 next month, Novak said.

Ms. Albritton called herself “a reformed groupie.” But, to many, she was an avant-garde artist.

She got the idea for her plaster casts from her art teacher at the University of Illinois Chicago and made them using Jeltrate dental mold, plaster and water, she said in a 2010 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ms. Albritton was featured in documentaries including “Plaster Caster” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies.”

Her molds — which she referred to as her “sweet babies” — included Jimi Hendrix, his bassist Noel Redding, Eric Burdon of the Animals, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and singer-songwriter Anthony Newley.

In the Sun-Times interview, she recalled how she and a friend located Hendrix and Redding in a Chicago hotel after a 1968 show at the Civic Opera House.

“Jimi was kind of stoned and mellow,” she said. “He said he had heard about us somewhere in the cosmos.”

In 1997, she lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago, where an instructor introduced her as a sculptor “in the classic sense, translating the fleeting moment into durable material.” Ms. Albritton said she didn’t consider herself an artist until Frank Zappa called her one.

“I used art to help myself meet rock artists,” she said at the Art Institute. “I always thought artists were just people who wore berets and stood around with their thumbs sticking out.”

Later, she started casting breasts of musicians including Peaches and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

She was said to be the subject of the Kiss song “Plaster Caster.”

Ms. Albritton died at the Symphony of Lincoln Park, according to Novak. She’d had problems with neuropathy in her feet and was in nursing care since a fall in January 2021, said another friend, musician and record collector Bruce Dinsmor.

She grew up on the South Side in Greater Grand Crossing. Novak said she attended South Shore High School. Her mother was a secretary and her father a postal clerk, Ms. Albritton told the Sun-Times.

“They never really knew what I did,” she said in the interview. “My mom learned about the evolution of it by reading one of my diaries. I was tempted to tell her on her deathbed …. but I thought otherwise. It wouldn’t have made her happy.”

For Ms. Albritton, though, her art made her happy.

“Up until the 2000s, she was still doing it” — making casts — “when she found a band that she liked,” Dinsmor said.

“I bought a ‘Jimi’ from her,” Novak said.

In the early 1990s, she filed suit to get her casts back from Herb Cohen, a record company executive. She’d placed them in his keeping after a burglary.

At the time, the Los Angeles Times quoted her saying: “What’s going on here isn’t just a fight over art. It’s more like a child custody battle. These things aren’t just pieces of plaster to me — they’re like my children. Each one holds precious memories for me. This man has no right whatsoever to them. They’re mine — and he knows it.”

She won, and the court ordered Cohen to return her collection.

Ms. Albritton was a luminous, magnetic presence, according to friends, who rallied to bring her chocolate and flowers when she became ill.

“She was the kind of person who, no matter where you were — in a crowded club or a restaurant — she would make you feel like you were the person she wanted to talk to,” said Novak, who’s in the group Femme de Champagne. “She was mischievous. She always had a twinkle.”

“She was really fun, and she was really sweet, and she had so many stories,” Dinsmor said. “She’s one of the few people I know who was there for the ’60s, she was there for the alternative era, for punk, the indie movement, you name it.”

“She was just the nicest woman,” said record dealer Ric Addy, who used to operate the Shake Rattle & Read book and record store in Uptown. Usually, she was in the front row at shows. “She’d always find her way backstage.”

Ms. Albritton was a close friend of Pamela Des Barres, the super-groupie who wrote the best-selling book “I’m With the Band.”

“She is like the only sibling I ever had,” Ms. Albritton told the Sun-Times. “We’re both only children. We’ve been friends since Frank Zappa introduced us over the phone.”

Des Barres posted about the death of her friend on Facebook, including a photo of Ms. Albritton holding one of her casts and writing: “My dear soul sister in so many ways, and a most unique artist, Cynthia Plaster Caster has passed on. I’ll miss sweetness deeply.”

In “I’m With the Band,” Des Barres recalled their first meeting in Chicago in 1969.

“She had a sweet, precious face, completely hidden by long, thin black hair and a chubby huddled body cowering into itself, covered with layers of sweaters and coats, scarves and boots,” Des Barres wrote. “She grinned up at me with pure sweetness.”

Des Barres wrote that she seemed “painfully shy,” but: “I saw the casts for myself, and was wowed by the artistry involved. For Cynthia it was a science, her true calling in life, the thing she was born to do.”

Funeral arrangements are pending, her friends said.

“A lot of us think she should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Dinsmor said.

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