Joi Lansing

Joi Lansing (born Joy Rae Brown, April 6, 1929[3] – August 7, 1972) was an American model, film and television actress, and nightclub singer. She was noted for her pin-up photos and roles in B-movies, as well as a prominent role in the famous opening "tracking shot" in Orson Welles' 1958 crime drama Touch of Evil.

Joi Lansing
Lansing in "Superman's Wife"
(Adventures of Superman, 1958)
Joy Rae Brown

(1929-04-06)April 6, 1929[1]
DiedAugust 7, 1972(1972-08-07) (aged 43)
Resting placeSanta Paula Cemetery [2]
Other namesJoyce Wassmansdorff
Joy Loveland
Joyce Loveland
OccupationModel, actress, singer
Years active1942–70
Spouse(s)Jerome "Jerry" Safron (1950; annulled)
Lance Fuller (1951–53; divorced)
Stan Todd (1960–72; her death)

Early life

Lansing was born at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1929 to Jack Glen Brown (also known as Glen Jack Brown and Glenn Jack Brown; 1900–1960), a shoe salesman and orchestra musician, and Virginia Grace (née Shupe) Brown, a housewife (1908–1984).[1]

She would later be known by her stepfathers' surnames, i.e. Wassmansdorff and Loveland. In 1940, her family moved to Los Angeles, where her half-brother, Larry Vernon Loveland, was born the same year.[1] She began modeling in her teens, and at the age of 14 was signed to a contract at MGM. She completed high school on the studio lot.[4]


A model and actress, Lansing was often cast in roles similar to those played by her contemporaries Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren. She frequently was clad in skimpy costumes and bikinis that accentuated her figure (34D bust), but she never posed nude. Lansing practiced yoga for relaxation, and as a devout Mormon,[5] she did not drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or use other drugs.


Lansing's film career began in 1948, and in 1952, she played an uncredited role in MGM's Singin' in the Rain. She received top billing in Hot Cars (1956), a crime drama involving a stolen-car racket. In the opening sequence of Orson Welles's Touch of Evil (1958), she appeared as Zita, the dancer who dies at the end of the famous first tracking shot, during which her character exclaims to a border guard "I keep hearing this ticking noise inside my head!"

She had a brief role as an astronaut's girlfriend in the 1958 science-fiction classic Queen of Outer Space. She had fourth billing in another sci-fi story, 1959's The Atomic Submarine. During the 1960s, she starred in short musical films for the Scopitone video-jukebox system. Her songs included "The Web of Love" and "The Silencer".

In 1964, producer Stanley Todd discussed a film project with Lansing, tentatively titled Project 22, with location shooting planned in Yugoslavia, and George Hamilton and Geraldine Chaplin named to the cast. The movie never was made.

Lansing played "Lola" in the romantic comedy Marriage on the Rocks (1965) with a cast that included Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Dean Martin. Lansing previously had appeared in Sinatra's drama A Hole in the Head (1959) and in Martin's comedy Who Was That Lady? (1960). She turned down the chance to replace Jayne Mansfield in The Ice House (a 1969 horror film), and instead appeared opposite Basil Rathbone (in his last film appearance) and John Carradine in Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967), as Mamie Van Doren's replacement. Her last film was Bigfoot (1970).


Lansing started singing in nightclubs in the early 1960s, and her performances are documented in several trade magazines. She performed with the Xavier Cugat orchestra and briefly toured with Les Paul, but little is known about songs she actually recorded. Apparently, while starring on Love That Bob, she recorded a 45 r.p.m. single on the small REO record label in 1957: "Love Me/What's It Gonna Be" (REO #1007). In 1962, she recorded six–eight sides at Que Recorders in Los Angeles. These turned up at auction and were acetates of four songs each (with two songs duplicated on the second acetate). It is unknown whether these tracks were released on an album. Both acetates list the same identifying number of #4-8351. The songs recorded on February 23, 1962, were "Masquerade Is Over", "All of You" (Cole Porter), "The One I Love" (which was most likely "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)", and "Who Cares?" (George and Ira Gershwin). On April 30, 1962, the songs recorded were "Feel So Young" (which was probably "You Make Me Feel So Young"), "Dream (1944 song)", "Masquerade", and "All Of You". It was reported in Cashbox magazine on April 17, 1965, that Lansing was recording an album for RCA records with Jimmie Haskell (and suggested that it should be titled Joi to the World of Jazz), but nothing further is known about this project.[2]


Lansing appeared in The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, The Jack Benny Program, It's a Great Life, I Love Lucy, Where's Raymond?, Noah's Ark, State Trooper, The People's Choice, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, Sugarfoot, Bat Masterson, This Man Dawson, Maverick, Petticoat Junction, The Mothers-in-Law, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and had a recurring role in The Beverly Hillbillies.[6]

In 1957, she played Vera Payson in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Crimson Kiss". Lansing is best known perhaps as Shirley Swanson in The Bob Cummings Show or Love That Bob (1956–59). She appeared in several episodes as a busty model who was the foil for photographer Bob Collins, Cummings' series name. The series ran for 173 episodes. She achieved some distinction for beating out Lois Lane (Noel Neill) to marry Superman (George Reeves) as the title character in "Superman's Wife", a 1958 episode of The Adventures of Superman.[7]

What was possibly Lansing's best role may have been her least-seen as the leading lady in The Fountain of Youth, a Peabody Award-winning unsold television pilot directed by Orson Welles for Desilu in 1956 and broadcast on the Colgate Theatre two years later. The half-hour film remains available for public viewing at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and Los Angeles.[8]

In the 1960–61 season of Klondike, Lansing appeared as Goldie with Ralph Taeger, James Coburn, and Mari Blanchard. In 1960, she appeared as Evelyn in the "Election Bet" episode of the Mr. Lucky TV series (season 1, episode 34). In May 1963, Lansing appeared in Falcon Frolics '63. The broadcast honored the men stationed at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. By 1956, she had appeared in more than 200 television shows.

She appeared in six episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies in the role of Gladys Flatt, the glamorous wife of bluegrass musician Lester Flatt. She named Ozzie Nelson as possessing the greatest sex appeal of any actor with whom she worked. The two played a love scene in a 1956 Fireside Theater drama titled "Shoot the Moon."[9][10]

Lansing has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles for her contributions to television.


Lansing died from breast cancer on August 7, 1972, at St. John's Hospital, Santa Monica, California. She had been treated surgically for the disease two years earlier. She also suffered from severe anemia. She was survived by her mother, half-brother, and paternal grandmother.[11] While some press accounts gave her age as 37, she was actually 43 years old.[12]



Short subjects

  • Super Cue Men (1937)
  • The House of Tomorrow (1949) - Admiring Fan
  • Joe McDoakes
    • "So You Want to Go to a Nightclub" (1954) - Lorna Lamour (uncredited)
    • "So You're Taking in a Roomer" (1954) - Blonde Roomer (uncredited)
    • "So You Want to Be on a Jury" (1955)
    • "So You Want to Be a V.P." (1955) - Miss Poindexter - Secretary (uncredited)
    • "So You Want to Be a Policeman" (1955) - Blonde Getting Ticket (uncredited)
    • "So You Think the Grass Is Greener" (1956) - Geraldine Backspace (uncredited)
  • The Fountain of Youth (1958) - Carolyn Coates

Further reading

  • Charleston Gazette, "Sexy Blonde Yearns for Drama", June 13, 1957, page 4.
  • Chronicle Telegram, "Actress Joi Lansing to be buried Friday", August 9, 1972, page 6.
  • Long Beach Press-Telegram, "Her Voice Isn't Bad, Either", May 7, 1965, page 37.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Filmland Events", May 21, 1963, page C7.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Filmland Events", December 25, 1964, page D16.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Filmland Events", January 1, 1965, page C6.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Hollywood Calendar", April 25, 1965, page N8.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Humor, Social Commentary", April 26, 1965, page D10.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Talent Heads Downtown", July 12, 1966, page C8.
  • San Mateo Times, "Joi Lansing Turns Up and Talks About Men Actors", October 13, 1956, page 22.


  1. Dougherty, Joseph (2004). Comfort and Joi. iUniverse. p. 1. ISBN 0-595-33590-X. Other birth years given include 1928 (held by the Utah Historical Society records, per Dougherty, 2004), 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936.
  2. "Joi Lansing - The Private Life and Times of Joi Lansing. Joi Lansing Pictures". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  3. 1929 appears to be the most likely year of birth as per the 1940 United States census, which gives her age as 11 as of April 22, 1940, under the name Joy Loveland, her stepfather's surname.
  4. Hunter, J.M. (2013). Mormons and Popular Culture: The Global Influence of an American Phenomenon. Literature, art, media, tourism, and sports. Volume 2. p. 241. ISBN 9780313391675. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. "Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers: Jews, Catholics, Latter-day Saints and the AFI's 100 Greatest Films". Retrieved February 13, 2012. #10. Singin' in the Rain - Mormon actress Joi Lansing had a small part.
  6. Tucker, D.C. (2011). Eve Arden: A Chronicle of All Film, Television, Radio and Stage Performances. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 166. ISBN 9780786488100. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  7. Dougherty, Joseph (17 December 2004). "Comfort and Joi". iUniverse. Retrieved 2 April 2018 via Google Books.
  8. "NY Only: Orson Welles at 100: On Television | The Paley Center for Media". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  9. Koper, Richard. "When a Girl's Beautiful" - The Life and Career of Joi Lansing. BearManor Media.
  10. Shoot the Moon
  11. "Joi Lansing, Actress, Dies at 37; (sic) 'Glamour Girl' of TV and Films". The New York Times, August 9, 1972.
  12. Dougherty, J. (2004). Comfort and Joi. iUniverse. p. 7. ISBN 9780595783922. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
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