(ABC News) -- When millions of viewers tune into the hit drama “Mad Men” each week, one of the first faces they see in the show’s iconic, award-winning title sequence is of a top fashion model of the 1950s and 1960s — only for years, she didn’t know it was her image.
Gita Hall, 79, says she had no idea she was part of the iconic title sequence for one of TV’s most popular and lauded shows, which has aired on AMC since 2007.
“I wished they had had the courtesy to get in touch with me,” she told ABC News.
The former model has just filed a law suit with the Los Angeles Superior Court against Lionsgate Entertainment, which distributes the show, claiming her image was ripped off.
“I was surprised because nobody had checked with me about it– they must have thought I was dead,” she said.
Hall’s attorney Kevin Leichter says that the suit has merit because the company would feel the same way about their product. ”If two minutes of ‘Mad Men’ had been taken for commercial purposes, Lionsgate would be throwing thermonuclear bombs,” he said.
Hall, a native of Sweden who appeared in films such as “Wolf Larsen” and the Ernest Hemingway adaptation “The Gun Runners,” says she never gave consent for Lionsgate to use her image.
The lawsuit estimates “Mad Men” has earned more than a billion dollars to date, and calls her image the “center piece” of the show’s opening — the same opening credits that won an Emmy in 2008 for outstanding title design.
The suit also suggests Hall should be compensated for the value of using her image to “evoke recollections of this now distant time.”
“She actually may have a case here, you cannot use someone’s likeness without their permission,” ABC News Legal Analyst Dana Cole said.
Lionsgate told ABC News it has no comment on the lawsuit.
ABC News’ Patrick Doherty contributed to this report.