21 May 2024

Carol Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in New York in 1942. She studied ballet at the age of seven and then began a modeling career when she was ten.

Using the name Carolyn Lee, her face became well known in advertisements as "the Coca-Cola girl." When she started acting, Lee had to change her name to Carol Lynley because another actress with her name was already registered with Actors' Equity.

Lynley developed her craft on the stage, performing in various productions. When she first appeared on television, it was in the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1957.

A front cover of Life Magazine in April of the same year led Walt Disney to sign the newcomer to a contract and her first big screen role in The Light In the Forest (1958). Strangely, it would be her only film for the Disney Studio.

In the early '60s, Lynley made a variety of pictures including Return To Peyton Place (1961) and 1963's Under the Yum Yum Tree with Jack Lemmon. The suspenseful Shock Treatment (the following year) gave her an interesting role as a manic-depressive in a mental institution.

Lynley portrayed Jean Harlow in a 1965 film and then was given the lead in Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing. It was a thriller about a young woman whose life is turned upside down when she places her child in an English nursery. Upon picking her daughter up from the day care, she discovers the child has disappeared and there is no record of her having been there. Keir Dullea played her brother.

By this time, Lynley's considerable good looks did not go unnoticed by movie critics. Cinema Magazine wrote, "With a face like that of a fallen angel, Carol Lynley has beauty that is often awe inspiring."

1967 saw the actress in The Shuttered Room AKA Blood Island, a haunted house affair based on a novel by H. P. Lovecraft. A role as a singer in The Poseidon Adventure, one of the biggest hits of 1972, kept Lynley in the public eye. But by this time, she was working mostly in television.

There were parts in The Night Stalker (1972), Death Stalk (1975) - and an excellent episode of the British Thriller series, If It's a Man, Hang Up! She played a model who is terrorized by a black-gloved stalker in the giallo-type story.

Clearly enjoying making horror movies, Lynley was good in an adequate version of The Cat and the Canary (1978). She worked less frequently in the '80s and '90s but returned to the genre with 1991's Howling VI: The Freaks.

Despite all her years in the business, Carol Lynley has always maintained a healthy lifestyle and outlook. She has said, 'I've never been in a scandal. I've never been caught running naked down a highway. I've not tried to shoot anybody. Nobody's ever tried to shoot me. My child is legitimate...I've never been to Betty Ford...no porn...no drug addictions...I've outlived three of my doctors. So if you're going to write a juicy book, I've got a problem."

Beware of the Blob 1972
Bunny Lake is Missing 1965
The Cat and the Canary 1978
Death Stalk 1975
If It's a Man, Hang Up! 1975
The Night Stalker 1972
The Shuttered Room 1967
Weekend of Terror 1970
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