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

(1942-02-13)February 13, 1942
New York City, U.S.
Died September 3, 2019(2019-09-03) (aged 77)
Other names Carolyn Lee
Occupation Actress
Years active 1956–2006
Michael Selsman
(m. 1960; div. 1964)
Children 1

Carol Lynley (born Carole Ann Jones; February 13, 1942 – September 3, 2019) was an American actress known for her roles in the films Blue Denim (1959) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

Lynley was born in Manhattan to an Irish father and New England mother. She began her career as a child model before taking up acting. She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956–57" for her performance in The Potting Shed. Lynley started her film career in 1958 with the Disney film The Light in the Forest, followed by Holiday for Lovers (1959) and Blue Denim (1959). In 1959, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film The Light in the Forest. A year later, she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film Blue Denim.

Early life

Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in Manhattan, New York City, 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. Lynley's parents divorced when she was a child, and her mother worked as a waitress until Lynley's income from modelling was enough to sustain the family.

Lynley 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.

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. When she started acting, she discovered that child actress Carolyn Lee (born Carolyn Copp, 1935) 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.

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


Early career

In 1955, Lynley made her first stage appearance in Moss Hart's Broadway stage hit Anniversary Waltz. At the age of 15, she played the role of Dame Sybil Thorndyke's granddaughter in the Broadway play The Potting Shed (1957).

Early on, Lynley distinguished herself on both the Broadway stage and in Hollywood screen versions of the drama Blue Denim (1959). She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956–57" for her performance in Blue Denim. This recognition helped her get a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox.

Film career

Carol Lynley as Harlow
Lynley as Jean Harlow in 1965's Harlow

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

She acted in 20th Century Fox productions Holiday for Lovers, Blue Denim, Hound-Dog Man (all in 1959), Return to Peyton Place (1961).

Lynley appeared in many films, often portraying the blonde-girl-next-door gone bad. She is best known for her film roles in Return to Peyton Place (1961), the drama The Cardinal (1963), the romantic drama The Pleasure Seekers (1964), the thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), and The Poseidon Adventure (1972), in which she lip-synced the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" (her singing voice was dubbed by studio singer Renee Armand).

The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lynley was on the peak of her career in the year 1965. She starred in the Otto Preminger directed thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965). Lynley played Jean Harlow in the biopic Harlow (1965), co-starring Ginger Rogers, but the film failed at the box office.

The decline in her career started in the late 1960s. In 1967, Lynley had major roles in the horror The Shuttered Room and the British spy caper Danger Route, but the films were not successful. She did smaller roles, guest appearances and appeared in low-budget productions like Once You Kiss a Stranger (1969), The Maltese Bippy (1969), Norwood (1970), and the Larry Hagman directed horror spoof Son of the Blob (1972). In 1972, she made a brief comeback when she had supporting roles in Night Stalker, TheThe Night Stalker, a made for television film which drew top ratings, and The Poseidon Adventure, which was one of the top-grossing films of the year. However, she was unable to maintain her career momentum. She then appeared in The Four Deuces (1975), The Washington Affair (1977) and Bad Georgia Road (1977). In 1992, she acted in a low-budget thriller Spirits, as a nun. She acted in Flypaper (1997), followed by the low-budget film Drowning on Dry Land (1999). Many of the low-budget movies she acted in during the later part of her career were direct-to-video.

She appeared in the pilot television movies for Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Fantasy Island. Her many other series appearances include The Big Valley, Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Night Gallery, The Invaders, Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Tales of the Unexpected, Hart to Hart, and Charlie's Angels. 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".

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.

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

Personal life and death

In 1960, Lynley married publicist Michael Selsman. The marriage produced one child, Jill Selsman (a director of short films), and ended in divorce in 1964. She also had an 18-year intermittent affair with English broadcaster and writer David Frost.

Lynley died aged 77 of a heart attack on September 3, 2019, at her home in Pacific Palisades, California. She was cremated; her ashes were scattered at sea off the Southern California coast.

Selected filmography


Year Title Role Notes
1958 The Light in the Forest Shenandoe
1959 Holiday for Lovers Betsy Dean
1959 Blue Denim Janet Willard
1959 Hound-Dog Man Dony Wallace
1961 Return to Peyton Place Allison
1961 Last Sunset, TheThe Last Sunset Melissa 'Missy' Breckenridge
1963 Under the Yum Yum Tree Robin Austin
1963 Cardinal, TheThe Cardinal Mona / Regina Fermoyle
1964 Pleasure Seekers, TheThe Pleasure Seekers Maggie Williams
1965 Harlow Jean Harlow
1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing Ann Lake
1967 Danger Route Jocelyn
1967 The Shuttered Room Susannah Kelton
1969 Maltese Bippy, TheThe Maltese Bippy Robin Sherwood
1969 Once You Kiss a Stranger Diana
1969 The Immortal Sylvia Cartwright TV movie (pilot for TV series)
1970 Norwood Yvonne Phillips
1972 Beware! The Blob Leslie
1972 Night Stalker, TheThe Night Stalker Gail Foster TV movie
1972 The Poseidon Adventure Nonnie Parry
1975 The Four Deuces Wendy Rittenhouse
1976 Flood! Abbie Adams TV movie
1977 The Washington Affair Barbara Nicholson
1977 Bad Georgia Road Molly Golden
1978 The Cat and The Canary Annabel West
1982 Vigilante Assistant D.A. Mary Fletcher
1983 Balboa Erin Blakely
1988 Blackout Esther Boyle
1989 Dark Tower Tilly Ambrose
1990 Spirits Sister Jillian
1991 Howling VI: The Freaks Miss Eddington
1997 Flypaper
1999 Drowning on Dry Land Marge
2003 Light in the Forest, AA Light in the Forest Gramma Irene (No connection with the 1958 movie)
2006 Vic Carrie Lee Short film


Year Title Roles Episode
1956 Goodyear Television Playhouse "Grow Up"
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Janice "The Young One"
1962 The Virginian Judith Morrow "Man from the Sea"
1962 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Sister Pamela "Final Vow"
1967 Man from U.N.C.L.E., TheThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. Annie Justin "The Prince of Darkness" (parts 1 and 2)
1967 Invaders, TheThe Invaders Elyse Reynolds "The Believers"
1968 Big Valley, TheThe Big Valley Dilly Shanks "Hell Hath No Fury"
1968 Journey to the Unknown Eve "Eve"
1969 It Takes a Thief Michelle "Boom at the Top"
1970–1971 The Immortal Sylvia Cartwright TV series
1971 Mannix Dorothy Kinman "Voice in the Dark"
1972 Night Gallery Jenny Tarraday "The Waiting Room/Last Rites for a Dead Druid"
1974 The Evil Touch Guest role “They”
1976 Quincy M.E. Lynn Dressler "Who's Who in Neverland"
1976 Police Woman Nina Daniels "Trial by Prejudice"
1977 Kojak Polly Ames "Kiss It All Goodbye"
1977–1984 Fantasy Island various characters TV series, 11 episodes
1978 Hawaii Five-O Karen Baker/Valerie Bates "Angel in Blue"
1979 The Love Boat Carol Gilmore "Best of Friends/Aftermath/Dream Boat"
1980 Charlie's Angels Lisa Gallo "Island Angels"
1983 The Fall Guy Ivy "Pleasure Isle"

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carol Lynley para niños

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