Sadly my favorite actress of all-time Carol Lynley suddenly passed away last week. She died peacefully in her sleep reportedly related to a heart attack. What shook me about her death was that I spoke with her in March and April as she finally agreed to an interview for my upcoming tribute BearMano Media book Carol Lynley, Lady in Peril: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy and Suspense.
I became a fan of Carol’s when in 1973 my parents for my birthday took me to see The Poseidon Adventure at the Westbury Drive-in. I was mesmerized. The movie changed my life. I loved all the characters but the pretty hippy blonde hot pants go-go boot wearing pop singer stood out. While most of the other actors went over the top at times, she projected sheer terror throughout. I asked my mom afterwards who she was and she said, “Carol Lynley. She was in that vampire movie [The Night Stalker] I told you not to watch.” Oh yeah I thought.
I have followed her career ever since and was impressed with her range of movies. The ABC 4:30 Movie introduced me to teen queen Carol (Holiday for Lovers; Return to Peyton Place); sex kitten Carol (Under the Yum Yum Tree; The Pleasure Seekers); and lady in peril Carol (The Shuttered Room; The Immortal; Weekend of Terror). But there were other impressive roles a pregnant teenager looking to get an abortion in Blue Denim; a priest’s sweet sister turned tango-dancing prostitute in The Cardinal; sex bomb Jean Harlow in Harlow; an unstable woman searching for her daughter real or imagined in Bunny Lake Is Missing; a psycho gold club weilding heiress in Once You Kiss a Stranger: a foul-mouthed Southern hooker in Norwood; a reporter’s vampire-believing girlfriend in The Night Stalker; etc. Later films included Death Stalk; Bad Georgia Road; Fantasy Island (original TV movie + 10 guest spots): The Cat and the Canary (outstanding as Annabelle West; The Shape of Things to Come; Vigilante; Dark Tower; Blackout: Spirits; Neon Signs; and Vic.
Yes I was an obsessed fan that perplexed my family to no end. And there was no end. My upcoming book will hopefully be seen as objective and a fitting farewell to such a beautiful and talented actress who brought lots of unknowing happiness to this movie nerd while he was growing up.