Carol Lynley

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Carol Lynley
Carol Lynley 2 1965.jpg
Lynley in 1965
Carole Ann Jones

(1942-02-13)February 13, 1942
DiedSeptember 3, 2019(2019-09-03) (aged 77)
Other namesCarolyn Lee
OccupationActress, former model
Years active1956–2006
Michael Selsman
(m. 1960;div. 1964)

Carol Lynley (born Carole Ann Jones; February 13, 1942 – September 3, 2019) was an American actress and child model. She is known for her roles in the films The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and Blue Denim .

A child model refers to a child who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art, such as photography, painting and sculpture.

<i>The Poseidon Adventure</i> (1972 film) 1972 film directed by Ronald Neame

The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American disaster film directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's eponymous 1969 novel. It features an ensemble cast, including five Oscar winners: Gene Hackman; Ernest Borgnine; Jack Albertson; Shelley Winters; and Red Buttons. Parts of the movie were filmed aboard the RMS Queen Mary. The plot centers on the fictional SS Poseidon, an aged luxury liner on her final voyage from New York City to Athens before being sent to the scrapyard. On New Year's Eve, she is overturned by a tsunami. Passengers and crew are trapped inside, and a rebellious preacher attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety.

<i>Blue Denim</i> 1958 Broadway play by James Leo Herlihy adapted to film in 1959

Blue Denim is a 1958 Broadway play by writer James Leo Herlihy. It starred Carol Lynley, Warren Berlinger and newcomer Burt Brinckerhoff in the lead male role. Opening on February 27, 1958, the play ran for 166 performances at the Playhouse Theatre.


Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in Manhattan, to an Irish father and New Englander mother. She began her career at the age of 15 as a child model appearing on the April 22, 1957, cover of Life . She started her acting career in 1958 with the Disney film The Light in the Forest followed by Holiday for Lovers (1959) and Blue Denim (1959). In 1959, Lynley was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film The Light in the Forest. She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956-57" for her performance in Blue Denim. In 1960 she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female for the film Blue Denim.

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, , is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. Manhattan serves as the city's economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

New England Region in the northeastern United States

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast and Quebec to the north. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city, as well as the capital of Massachusetts. Greater Boston is the largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population; this area includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

<i>Life</i> (magazine) American magazine

Life was an American magazine published weekly until 1972, as an intermittent "special" until 1978, and as a monthly from 1978 to 2000. During its golden age from 1936 to 1972, Life was a wide-ranging weekly general interest magazine known for the quality of its photography.

Early life

Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in Manhattan, the daughter of Frances (née Felch) and Cyril Jones. Her father was Irish and her mother, a native of New England, was of English, Scottish, Welsh, and German ancestry. She studied dance in her childhood. [1]

Child artist

She had first appeared on a local television show and at the age of 14 she was signed as a child model. She then appeared on live TV shows, the Goodyear Television Playhouse , Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Danger Route . [1]

Goodyear Television Playhouse is an American anthology series that was telecast live on NBC from 1951 to 1957 during the "Golden Age of Television".

<i>Alfred Hitchcock Presents</i> American television anthology series

Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series that was created, hosted, and produced by Alfred Hitchcock; the program aired on CBS and NBC between 1955 and 1965. It featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. Between 1962 and 1965 it was renamed The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

<i>Danger Route</i> 1967 film by Seth Holt

Danger Route is a 1967 British spy film directed by Seth Holt for Amicus Productions and starring Richard Johnson as Jonas Wilde, Carol Lynley and Barbara Bouchet. It was based on Andrew York's 1966 novel The Eliminator that was the working title of the film. The film was released in the United States as a double feature with Attack on the Iron Coast.

She began her career as a child model under the name Carolyn Lee. She appeared on the April 22, 1957, cover of Life identified as "Carol Lynley, 15, Busy Career Girl." at age 15. [2] [3] When she started acting, she discovered that child actress Carolyn Lee (born Carolyn Copp, 1935) [4] had already registered the name in the Actors' Equity union. She modified it by using the final syllable of Carolyn and fusing it with Lee to make Lynley. [5]

Actors Equity Association American labor union

The Actors' Equity Association (AEA), commonly referred to as Actors' Equity or simply Equity, is an American labor union representing the world of live theatrical performance, as opposed to film and television performance. However, performers appearing on live stage productions without a book or through-storyline may be represented by the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). As of 2010, Equity represented over 49,000 theatre artists and stage managers.

In her teenage years Lynley appeared in several Clairol and Pepsodent advertisements that were publicized across the country. [1]

Clairol Hair care product

Clairol is an American personal care-product division of company Coty, specializing in hair coloring and hair care, that was begun in 1931 by Americans Joan Gelb and her husband Lawrence M. Gelb, along with business partner and lifelong friend James Romeo, after discovering hair-coloring preparations while traveling in France. The company was widely recognized in its home country, the United States, for its "Miss Clairol" home hair-coloring kit introduced in 1956. By 1959, Clairol was considered the leading company in the U.S. hair-coloring industry. In 2004, Clairol registered annual sales worth about US$1.6 billion from the sale of its hair-care products. As of 2014, Clairol manufactures hair-coloring products sold under the brand names "Natural Instincts", "Nice 'n Easy", and "Perfect Lights".

Pepsodent American brand of toothpaste

Pepsodent is an American brand of toothpaste with the minty flavor derived from sassafras. It has been owned by Unilever since 1942, except in the United States and Canada, where since 2003, it has been owned by Church & Dwight.

In 1955, she made her first stage appearance in Moss Hart's Broadway stage hit, Anniversary Waltz. [1] At the age of 15, she played the role of Dame Sybil Thorndyke's granddaughter in the Broadway play The Potting Shed. [1]

Early on, Lynley distinguished herself on both the Broadway stage and in Hollywood screen versions of the controversial drama Blue Denim (1959), in which the teenaged characters played by Lynley and co-star Brandon deWilde had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy and (then-illegal) abortion. [6] She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956-57" for her performance in Blue Denim. [1] This recognition helped her get a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox. [1]

Film career

She started her film career in 1958 with the Disney's film The Light in the Forest followed by Holiday for Lovers (1959). [7] In 1959, Lynley was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. [8] In 1960 she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film Blue Denim. [8]

She acted in 20th Century Fox, productions, Holiday for Lovers , Blue Denim (film), Hound-Dog Man , Return to Peyton Place and The Stripper (1963). The Stripper was based on the play A Loss of Roses written by William Inge. [1]

Lynley appeared in many films, often portraying the blonde-girl-next-door gone bad. [1] Lynley is best known for her film roles in Return to Peyton Place , sex comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree , thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing , The Pleasure Seekers , drama The Cardinal , and The Poseidon Adventure , in which she lip synced the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" (although her singing voice was dubbed by studio singer Renee Armand). [9] [10]

The Hollywood Reporter reported that she was on the peak of her career in the year 1965. [1] Lynley posed nude at age 22 for the March 1965 edition of Playboy magazine (pp.108-115). [11] [12] She played the role of the mother of a kidnapped child in the thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965). Lynley took the role of the blonde bombshell Jean Harlow in the biopic titled Harlow (1965). [1]

She appeared in the pilot television movies for Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Fantasy Island . [10] Her many other series appearances include The Big Valley , Mannix , It Takes a Thief , Night Gallery , The Invaders , Kojak , Hawaii Five-O , Hart to Hart , and Charlie's Angels . [7] [13] Lynley appeared in the fourth season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the two-part episode "The Prince of Darkness Affair". [14]

The decline in her career started in the late 1960s and '70s. She did smaller roles, guest appearances and appeared in low-budget productions like The Maltese Bippy, Norwood, The Four Deuces, The Washington Affair and Bad Georgia Road. In 1992, she acted in a low-budget thriller Spirits, as a nun. She has acted in Flypaper (1997) followed by the low-budget film Drowning on Dry Land (1999). [1] Many of the low-budget movies she acted in during the later part of her career were direct-to-video. [10]

In 2000, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle , Lynley discussed the difficulty faced by middle-aged actresses in finding roles. She predicted she'd have a comeback in old age, stating, "I don't mean to sound conceited, but I am a very talented actress, and I have my head screwed on right." And she added "I'm not going to drug clinics, I look good, and I've got all my marbles. So I really believe I'll be back." [10]

In 2006, she appeared in a 30-minute film, Vic , co-written and directed by Sage Stallone, the late son of Sylvester Stallone. [7] [13]

Personal life

In 1960, she married publicist Michael Selsman. The marriage produced one child, Jill Selsman (a director of short films), and ended in divorce in 1964. [1] [7]

Lynley had an 18-year intermittent affair with English broadcaster and writer David Frost. [15]


Lynley died aged 77 of a heart attack on September 3, 2019, at her home in Pacific Palisades, California. [1] [7]

Selected filmography

Lynley as Jean Harlow in the film Harlow (1965) Carol Lynley as Harlow.jpg
Lynley as Jean Harlow in the film Harlow (1965)


1958 The Light in the Forest Shenandoe [7]
1959 Holiday for Lovers Betsy Dean [7]
1959 Blue Denim Janet Willard [16]
1959 Hound-Dog Man Dony Wallace [1]
1961 Return to Peyton Place Allison [7]
1961 The Last Sunset Melissa 'Missy' Breckenridge [1]
1963 The Stripper Miriam Caswell [1]
1963 Under the Yum Yum Tree Robin Austin [7]
1963 The Cardinal Mona / Regina Fermoyle [7]
1964 The Pleasure Seekers Maggie Williams [7]
1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing Ann Lake [7]
1967 Danger Route Jocelyn [1]
1969 The Maltese Bippy Robin Sherwood [1]
1970 Norwood Yvonne Phillips [1]
1972 The Night Stalker Gail FosterTV movie [7]
1972 The Poseidon Adventure Nonnie Parry [7]
1975 The Four Deuces Wendy Rittenhouse [1]
1977 The Washington Affair Barbara Nicholson [1]
1977 Bad Georgia Road Molly Golden [1]
1987 Dark Tower Tilly Ambrose [13]
1990SpiritsSister Jillian [1]
1991 Howling VI: The Freaks Miss Eddington [13]
1997 Flypaper [1]
1999 Drowning on Dry Land Marge [1]
2003 A Light in the Forest Gramma Irene(no connection with the 1958 movie) [10]
2006 Vic Carrie Leeshort film [7]


1956 Goodyear Television Playhouse "Grow Up" [1]
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Janice"The Young One" [1]
1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Annie Justin"The Prince of Darkness", (parts 1 and 2) [13]
1967 The Invaders Elyse Reynolds"The Believers" [7]
1968 The Big Valley Dilly Shanks"Hell Hath No Fury" [7]
1969 It Takes a Thief Michelle"Boom at the Top" [7]
1971 Mannix Dorothy Kinman"Voice in the Dark" [7]
1972 Night Gallery Jenny Tarraday"The Waiting Room/Last Rites for a Dead Druid" [7]
1977 Kojak Polly Ames"Kiss It All Goodbye" [7]
1977–1984 Fantasy Island various charactersTV series, 11 episodes [10]
1978 Hawaii Five-O Karen Baker/Valerie Bates"Angel in Blue" [7]
1980 Charlie's Angels Lisa Gallo"Island Angels" [13]

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