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.

Image: 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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CJLV 5 days ago
We keep losing all these beautiful talents from tv / film (and today's generation is crap by comparison) 😢
geisler2 9 days ago
Yes i remember Carol Lynley a fine actress mostly on t.v. shows like Night Gallery and such she'll be missed also.
Mydoglucky9 11 days 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 14 days ago
Had such a crush on her when I was a teen in the 70s RIP
Edward Greg 10 days ago
"Such a crush ?"
jimmypinet 14 days ago
And iconic in "The Poseidon Adventure." Thank you Miss...
Michael 15 days ago
I always liked her breathy voice.
MrsPhilHarris 15 days ago
She was in that creepy Bunny Lake movie.
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 15 days ago
Carol was also in the original NIGHT STALKER film.
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
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