Carol Lynley

Carol Lynley

77 (passed away Sep. 3rd, 2019)
Feb. 13th, 1942
Born in
New York City, New York, USA
5' 4

Carol Lynley's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Magician (1973) TV Show
The Magician (1973)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Blond, blue-eyed and with an attractively feline appeal, Carol Ann Jones began her professional career as 'Carolyn Lee', a successful child model for the Sears & Roebuck department store in New York .Trying to branch out into acting early on, she discovered that another individual by that name (born seven years earlier) was already on the books of Actors' Equity, thus Carolyn changed her moniker by fusing the 'lyn' and the 'lee' to create 'Lynley'. From the age of fifteen she acted on Broadway, played juvenile roles in early anthology television and was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in April 1957. Her first important film roles came in decidedly wholesome fare, beginning with The Light in the Forest (1958) for Walt Disney Productions. It was a promising start. A New York Times reviewer praised her performance (alongside that of fellow screen newbie James MacArthur), describing both as "real charmers with more than their share of talent." In her next important outing, Blue Denim (1959), Lynley reprised her earlier Broadway role as a naive girl who becomes pregnant and faces the dilemma of confronting her father or having an illegal abortion. For this role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer in 1959. Lynley went on to essay other ingénue roles and troubled teens before gradually shedding her wholesome image by the early 60s.
Return to Peyton Place (1961) headlined the actress as a best-selling novelist who controversially reveals the town's darkest secrets and scandals. This was followed by the bawdy (and mostly irritating) sex farce Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963), with Lynley as a virginal college student in a New York apartment block pursued by a lecherous landlord/playboy (played by Jack Lemmon). Luckily, better opportunities to prove her acting mettle turned up with a double role in The Cardinal (1963) (opposite Tom Tryon) and as the tormented mother of a kidnapped child in the excellent psychological thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) , directed by Otto Preminger and co-starring Laurence Olivier.
In March 1965, Lynley posed nude for an issue of Playboy magazine. That same year, she played the title role in a turgid biopic of 1930s Hollywood sex symbol Jean Harlow. While the quality of her films tended to decline after the mid-60s, there were still entertaining moments in B-pictures like The Shuttered Room (1967) and Once You Kiss a Stranger... (1969) (in this lurid thriller, Lynley rose above her material and was memorable in the role of a psychotic murderess). In Irwin Allen's The Poseidon Adventure (1972), she was merely one of the ill-fated passengers who ended up in Davy Jones' Locker. After 1967, television provided most of her work, including guest spots in seminal shows like Mannix (1967), The Invaders (1967), Hawaii Five-O (1968) and as co-star of the TV pilot for The Night Stalker (1972) (as Carl Kolchak's girlfriend). In her penultimate role, Lynley played a grandmother in a film with a very similar title to the one which had launched her career: A Light in the Forest (2003).
A very capable actress who perhaps should have made it bigger in Hollywood, Carolyn Lynley retired from screen acting in 2006 and passed away on September 3 2019 from a heart attack at the age of 77.

  • Lynley owned the boots and pendant she wears in _The Poseidon Adventure (1972)_ (qv). She complained during production that the boots were shrinking due to constant immersion in water, making them extremely uncomfortable.
  • "Carolyn Lee" was her modeling name -- a name that was already registered with Actors' Equity, so she changed it to use the homophone "Carol Lynley".
  • The character named "Caroline Cushing" in the 2008 'Ron Howard (I)' (qv) film _Frost/Nixon (2008)_ (qv) is based on her.
  • She had an affair off and on with 'David Frost (I)' (qv) for 18 years.
  • With her friend, entertainment reporter 'Nelson Aspen' (qv), Lynley appeared in several interstitial showbiz segments covering a variety of topics. For Australia's #1 morning show _"Sunrise" (2003)_ (qv), she reflected on the remake of _The Poseidon Adventure (1972)_ (qv). On _"TV Guide Television" (1999)_ (qv), she discussed her long career in TV, film and on Broadway. For "New with Nelson," she revealed some of her Oscar picks for that year and named her all time favorite Oscar winner as 'Frank Sinatra' (qv).
  • Is a fan of 'Cameron Diaz' (qv), one of her favorite films being _There's Something About Mary (1998)_ (qv).
  • Was close friends with actor/dancer 'Fred Astaire' (qv). In the 1970s, it was rumored in the press that they might even marry; however 81-year old Astaire wed the much-younger 'Robyn Smith (IV)' (qv) in 1980. Carol is quoted extensively in the book "Fred Astaire: His Friends Talk" (1988), by Sarah Giles.
  • She was featured on the April 22, 1957 cover of LIFE Magazine. 'Walt Disney' (qv) saw her photo and article, and decided to cast her in his 1958 release _The Light in the Forest (1958)_ (qv). It was Carol's debut (she received "and introducing" credit in the opening title), but it was also her swan song for Disney's studio. Opposite 'James MacArthur (I)' (qv), a Broadway actor, both gave convincing performances, receiving mixed critical reaction, mostly because of the entrenched polarized "pro" and "anti" Disney factions.

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