In the annals of swimsuit legends, Kathy Ireland deserves a seat at the head of the table [maybe even the seat, can we go ahead and say that? yes? no? let's do it]. The Glendale, Calif. native made 13 consecutive appearances in the magazine and appeared on the cover three times [a feat tied by only Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs, and surpassed by only Elle McPherson], including the 25th anniverary edition cover in 1989 -- one of SI's best-selling issues to-date. Her impressive career extended well past the pages of our magazine, however. She's appeared in several films, such as Necessary Roughness, Alien From L.A. and Loaded Weapon and the much-loved TV show Melrose Place. But her biggest success? Well that came in the business world. Proving brains and beauty go hand in hand, Kathy founded her Kathy Ireland Worldwide line in 1994, after her Kmart sock collection proved a lucrative venture. The collection brings in more than $1 billion in sales annually and has earned Kathy a lot of attention, a lot of respect, and even a Forbes magazine cover [February 2012 Issue]. The company currently markets more than 15,000 products ranging from furniture to jewelry, flooring to bridal gowns, and lighting to baby items. If you need it, Kathy Ireland Worldwide sells it. And it's cute. Fact.
As Kathy turns 50 today, help us wish her a very big 'Happy Birthday!' and enjoy this tribute to her and her amazing [and ongoing!] career with this photo collection of her best swimsuit pics over the years. GALLERY: Kathy Ireland Swimsuit Collection