A former model, Laurel Goodwin’s only acting experience was doing summer stock when producer Hal B. Wallis saw her photograph in the Paramount studio publicity department and tapped her to play a lead role opposite Elvis Presley in Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962). Goodwin was cast as rich girl Laurel Dodge who vies with sultry torch singer Stella Stevens for the charms of fisherman Elvis Presley amid the lush scenery of Hawaii. With her fresh-faced, adorably cute looks, strawberry blonde hair and charmingly perky screen persona, Goodman was a hit in her film debut and won over the critics and fans alike. However, Hollywood typecast her in prim and proper type roles. After playing Jackie Gleason’s daughter in the comedy Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963), she did two B-oaters before getting a good part in the Sam Peckinpah scripted-western The Glory Guys (1965), her last movie. Goodwin’s most famous role though was not in film but on TV. She played Ensign Colt opposite Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek called “The Cage.” When Star Trek finally became a series, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the other cast regulars traveled the galaxies while Goodwin pounded the pavement in Hollywood for a few more years before calling it quits in 1971 to concentrate on her marriage.
Read my interview with Laurel Goodwin in my book Drive-in Dream Girls.