R.I.P. Carol Lynley, 1950s teen covergirl turned blonde ingénue of the 1960s

The Golden Globe winner went from Playboy to The Poseidon Adventure.

The Everett Collection

Carol Lynley could be seen smiling on the cover of magazines throughout the Fifties. The teenager was a constant presence on newsstands. Born Carol Ann Jones, she began her precocious modeling career under the name Carol Lee, before changing it to avoid confusion with another Carol Lee. "Carol Lynley, 15, Busy Career Girl," declared the cover of LIFE magazine in April 1957, as the cheery blonde pulled her hair up into a bun. 

"Carol Lynley — Bored With Boys?" asked the cover of Hep Cats in 1959, underneath the cover line, "Necking – Must You?" Elsewhere, the Manhattan-born model graced the covers of Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and many more. She sold Clairol and Pepsodent in commercials, too.

Lynley on the newsstand

That fame landed her the role in the Broadway play Blue Denim, a controversial drama about teen pregnancy and abortion. Mind you, this was still 1958, when abortion was illegal. The acclaimed play was adapted from stage to screen in 1959, earning Lynley the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer – Female.

In the next, revolutionary decade, Lynley continued to work in slightly scandalous films and sex comedies, from Return to Peyton Place (1961) to Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963).

Naturally, the popular model — an early supermodel, really, before the term was coined — landed roles on television, as well. One of her earliest was an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "The Young One," directed by Robert Altman, in which she played a rebellious girl who will do anything to escape being raised by her domineering Aunt. A decade later, she popped up as the lead guest star in another MeTV show, The Invaders, in "The Believers," a crucial episode in the second season.

The Everett CollectionLynley with Dick Van Dyke in the TV special ''Henry Fonda and the Family''

In March 1965, Lynley posed in the pages of Playboy magazine. That same year, she portrayed Jean Harlow in the biopic Harlow. Seen as the next in line of classic Hollywood blonde bombshells, Lynley continued to nab memorable roles.

Perhaps the most well-known is The Poseidon Adventure (1972), the sinking ship's singer who performs the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After." (She actually just mimed the song. Her voice was overdubbed by vocalist Renee Armand.)

From there, Lynley continued to find small guest roles on TV shows, from Hawaii Five-O to Fantasy Island, as well as low-budget films.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lynley died on September 3. She was 77.

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drcrumpler 15 months ago
Carol Lynley also played Kolchak's fiancee in the TV-movie "The Night Stalker."
JeffPaul76 23 months ago
Why have I read an article about Carol Lynley dying almost 3 years after it happened? I've been on MeTV.com for longer than that. I guess I wasn't paying attention back then.
Lisano 23 months ago
I loved her in Jean Harlow movie. She was a real beauty.
PulsarStargrave 40 months ago
You called it, I, too fell in love with CAROL LYNLEY after having seen her in a late night showing of BLUE DENIM on a local TV station! I remember searching for it on VHS but failing because like many of the B movies or teen dramas from the period, if a Hollywood A lister wasn't in it, it was considered disposable!

I saw her appear on various TV shows, unfortunately, my hope of her getting her own program never happened; however, she did come close! In the 70s they sometimes broadcast pilot episodes of shows that weren't picked up by the 3 major networks! One show was apparently an American rip off of the British show PRISONER CELLBLOCK H, a soap opera about the inmates and gaurds within a Women's Prison; Carol Lynley played one of the inmates!

Too bad,I would have watched it mostly because of her!

rayb1201 58 months ago
Please bring back I love Lucy leave it to never has run its course you can drop it to one airing a day.
CJLV 59 months ago
We keep losing all these beautiful talents from tv / film (and today's generation is crap by comparison) 😢
geisler2 59 months ago
Yes i remember Carol Lynley a fine actress mostly on t.v. shows like Night Gallery and such she'll be missed also.
59 months ago
I think I have seen every movie this lovely lady made. I liked all but one. It was some movie she made where she starred with Burl Ives and she was evil! She tried to run down someone in a golf cart. Heaven has a new star with Carol. Rest In Peace Carol. 😥
Greg 59 months ago
Had such a crush on her when I was a teen in the 70s RIP
Edward Greg 59 months ago
"Such a crush ?"
PulsarStargrave Greg 40 months ago
DITTO, Carol and NATALIE WOOD plus a few others....
jimmypinet 59 months ago
And iconic in "The Poseidon Adventure." Thank you Miss...
Michael 59 months ago
I always liked her breathy voice.
MrsPhilHarris 59 months ago
She was in that creepy Bunny Lake movie.
MrsPhilHarris 59 months ago
You must have watched that Sunday Night. I did too. And I watched Blue Denim too. I used to look forward to her movies, My favorite one was The Poseidon Adventure. My unfavorite one was some crazy movie where she was a Psycho where she tried to run down someone in a golf cart.
BrittReid 59 months ago
Carol was also in the original NIGHT STALKER film.
pumkinheadfan BrittReid 59 months ago
I also recognized Howling IV: The Freaks from her IMDB page. When They said she did alot of TV they they meant it! Charlies Angels, Quincey M.E., Police Women, Kojack, Hart to Hart and The Fall Guy, and Monsters. That was only from the 70's through '90! I'm gonna have to check out those earlier films. R.I.P
PulsarStargrave BrittReid 40 months ago
I always forget she was in the original movie! This is gonna sound weird but that movie terrified me so much as a child, I can't watch it too much because it still gives me the shivers!
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