Carol Lynley

Carol Lynley (born Carole Ann Jones; February 13, 1942 – September 3, 2019) was an American actress and child model. She is known for her roles in the films The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and Blue Denim.

Carol Lynley
Lynley in 1965
Carole Ann Jones

(1942-02-13)February 13, 1942
DiedSeptember 3, 2019(2019-09-03) (aged 77)
Other namesCarolyn Lee
OccupationActress, former model
Years active1956–2006
Michael Selsman
(m. 1960; div. 1964)

Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in Manhattan, to an Irish father and New Englander mother. She began her career at the age of 15 as a child model appearing on the April 22, 1957, cover of Life. She started her acting career in 1958 with the Disney film The Light in the Forest followed by Holiday for Lovers (1959) and Blue Denim (1959). In 1959, Lynley was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film The Light in the Forest. She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956-57" for her performance in Blue Denim. In 1960 she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female for the film Blue Denim.

Early life

Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in Manhattan, the daughter of Frances (née Felch) and Cyril Jones. Her father was Irish and her mother, a native of New England, was of English, Scottish, Welsh, and German ancestry. She studied dance in her childhood.[1] Lynley's parents divorced when she was a child, and her mother worked as a waitress until Lynley's income from modelling was enough to sustain the family.[2]

Child artist

She had first appeared on a local television show and at the age of 14 she was signed as a child model. She then appeared on live TV shows, the Goodyear Television Playhouse, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Danger Route.[1]

She began her career as a child model under the name Carolyn Lee. She appeared on the April 22, 1957, cover of Life identified as "Carol Lynley, 15, Busy Career Girl." at age 15.[3][4] When she started acting, she discovered that child actress Carolyn Lee (born Carolyn Copp, 1935)[5] had already registered the name in the Actors' Equity union. She modified it by using the final syllable of Carolyn and fusing it with Lee to make Lynley.[6]

In her teenage years Lynley appeared in several Clairol and Pepsodent advertisements that were publicized across the country.[1]

In 1955, she made her first stage appearance in Moss Hart's Broadway stage hit, Anniversary Waltz.[1] At the age of 15, she played the role of Dame Sybil Thorndyke's granddaughter in the Broadway play The Potting Shed.[1]

Early on, Lynley distinguished herself on both the Broadway stage and in Hollywood screen versions of the controversial drama Blue Denim (1959), in which the teenaged characters played by Lynley and co-star Brandon deWilde had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy and (then-illegal) abortion.[7] She won the Theatre World Award as "one of the most promising personalities for 1956-57" for her performance in Blue Denim.[1] This recognition helped her get a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox.[1]

Film career

She started her film career in 1958 with the Disney's film The Light in the Forest followed by Holiday for Lovers (1959).[8] In 1959, Lynley was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female.[9] In 1960 she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female for the film Blue Denim.[9]

She acted in 20th Century Fox, productions, Holiday for Lovers, Blue Denim (film), Hound-Dog Man, Return to Peyton Place and The Stripper (1963). The Stripper was based on the play A Loss of Roses written by William Inge.[1]

Lynley appeared in many films, often portraying the blonde-girl-next-door gone bad.[1] Lynley is best known for her film roles in Return to Peyton Place, sex comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree, thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing, The Pleasure Seekers, drama The Cardinal, and The Poseidon Adventure, in which she lip synced the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" (although her singing voice was dubbed by studio singer Renee Armand).[10][11]

The Hollywood Reporter reported that she was on the peak of her career in the year 1965.[1] Lynley posed nude at age 22 for the March 1965 edition of Playboy magazine (pp. 108–115).[12][13] She played the role of the mother of a kidnapped child in the thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965). Lynley took the role of the blonde bombshell Jean Harlow in the biopic titled Harlow (1965).[1]

She appeared in the pilot television movies for Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Fantasy Island.[11] Her many other series appearances include The Big Valley, Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Night Gallery, The Invaders, Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Hart to Hart, and Charlie's Angels.[8][14] Lynley appeared in the fourth season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the two-part episode "The Prince of Darkness Affair".[15]

The decline in her career started in the late 1960s and '70s. She did smaller roles, guest appearances and appeared in low-budget productions like The Maltese Bippy, Norwood, The Four Deuces, The Washington Affair and Bad Georgia Road. In 1992, she acted in a low-budget thriller Spirits, as a nun. She acted in Flypaper (1997) followed by the low-budget film Drowning on Dry Land (1999).[1] Many of the low-budget movies she acted in during the later part of her career were direct-to-video.[11]

In 2000, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Lynley discussed the difficulty faced by middle-aged actresses in finding roles. She predicted she'd have a comeback in old age, stating, "I don't mean to sound conceited, but I am a very talented actress, and I have my head screwed on right." And she added "I'm not going to drug clinics, I look good, and I've got all my marbles. So I really believe I'll be back."[11]

In 2006, she appeared in a 30-minute film, Vic, co-written and directed by Sage Stallone, the late son of Sylvester Stallone.[8][14]

Personal life

In 1960, she married publicist Michael Selsman. The marriage produced one child, Jill Selsman (a director of short films), and ended in divorce in 1964.[1][8]

Lynley had an 18-year intermittent affair with English broadcaster and writer David Frost.[16]


Lynley died aged 77 of a heart attack on September 3, 2019, at her home in Pacific Palisades, California.[1][8]

Selected filmography


Year Title Role Notes
1958 The Light in the Forest Shenandoe [8]
1959 Holiday for Lovers Betsy Dean [8]
1959 Blue Denim Janet Willard [17]
1959 Hound-Dog Man Dony Wallace [1]
1961 Return to Peyton Place Allison [8]
1961 The Last Sunset Melissa 'Missy' Breckenridge [1]
1963 The Stripper Miriam Caswell [1]
1963 Under the Yum Yum Tree Robin Austin [8]
1963 The Cardinal Mona / Regina Fermoyle [8]
1964 The Pleasure Seekers Maggie Williams [8]
1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing Ann Lake [8]
1967 Danger Route Jocelyn [1]
1969 The Maltese Bippy Robin Sherwood [1]
1970 Norwood Yvonne Phillips [1]
1972 The Night Stalker Gail Foster TV movie[8]
1972 The Poseidon Adventure Nonnie Parry [8]
1975 The Four Deuces Wendy Rittenhouse [1]
1977 The Washington Affair Barbara Nicholson [1]
1977 Bad Georgia Road Molly Golden [1]
1987 Dark Tower Tilly Ambrose [14]
1990 Spirits Sister Jillian [1]
1991 Howling VI: The Freaks Miss Eddington [14]
1997 Flypaper [1]
1999 Drowning on Dry Land Marge [1]
2003 A Light in the Forest Gramma Irene (no connection with the 1958 movie)[11]
2006 Vic Carrie Lee short film[8]


Year Title Roles Episode
1956 Goodyear Television Playhouse "Grow Up"[1]
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Janice "The Young One"[1]
1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Annie Justin "The Prince of Darkness", (parts 1 and 2)[14]
1967 The Invaders Elyse Reynolds "The Believers"[8]
1968 The Big Valley Dilly Shanks "Hell Hath No Fury"[8]
1969 It Takes a Thief Michelle "Boom at the Top"[8]
1971 Mannix Dorothy Kinman "Voice in the Dark"[8]
1972 Night Gallery Jenny Tarraday "The Waiting Room/Last Rites for a Dead Druid"[8]
1977 Kojak Polly Ames "Kiss It All Goodbye"[8]
1977–1984 Fantasy Island various characters TV series, 11 episodes[11]
1978 Hawaii Five-O Karen Baker/Valerie Bates "Angel in Blue"[8]
1980 Charlie's Angels Lisa Gallo "Island Angels"[14]


  1. "Carol Lynley, 'Poseidon Adventure' Actress, Dies at 77". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  2. Bergan, Ronald (September 11, 2019). "Carol Lynley obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  3. "1957 LIFE Magazine Covers". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  4. "Life Covers #1050-1099". Cover Browser. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
  5. Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 100.
  6. "Letters to the Editors: Success Story at Fifteen". Life Magazine. Time Inc. May 13, 1957. p. 16. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  7. Deming, Mark. "Blue Denim". AllMovie. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  8. Tingley, Anna; Tingley, Anna (September 6, 2019). "Carol Lynley, 'The Poseidon Adventure' Star, Dies at 77".
  9. "Carol Lynley". Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  10. "Performance: The Morning After". Second Hand Songs project. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  11. Gates, Anita. "'Poseidon Adventure' actress Carol Lynley dies at 77 - The Boston Globe". New York Times. Archived from the original on September 8, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  12. "Actress Carol Lynley and a Modess puberty & menstruation booklet". Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  13. "Carol Lynley". November 28, 1994. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  14. "Carol Lynley, 'The Poseidon Adventure' & 'Blue Denim' Star, Dies at 77". Movieweb. September 6, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  15. "Man From Uncle - The Helicopter Spies. Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll, Carol Lynley, Bradford Dillman, Lola Albright - 1968". March 6, 2004. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  16. W. Lee Cozad, More Magnificent Mountain Movies: The Silverscreen Years, 1940–2004, p. 219 (Sunstroke Media, 2006). ISBN 978-0-9723372-2-9
  17. Gates, Anita (September 6, 2019). "Carol Lynley, Star of 'Blue Denim' and 'The Poseidon Adventure,' Dies at 77". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 7, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
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