Carol Lynley – Bio, Career, Cause of Death

Blonde Actresses
Carol Lynlee

Fate is timeless. Carol Lynley was born in the early ’40s, began her career as a show person in the 50s, hit her peak the following decade then hit the rock of decline. By the 1980s, she was barely getting roles. But they say class is permanent, thus, nearly forty years after her most recognized role in The Poseidon Adventure and even in death, she has remained on the mind of many. Here are all you need to know about her lifetime, career, relationships, kins, and death.

Carol Lynley – birthplace and early life

Carol Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones in February 1942. The whole world was locked up in World War II as of the time. She was born in Manhattan, New York. It was around this time, in her backyard, that the Manhattan Project which went on to have decisive consequences in the outcome of the war, with impacts still felt today. She was born Cyril Roland Jones to an Irish immigrant and Frances Fuller, her mother.

Ms. Jones took the name Carol Lynley because some other actress was already registered in the Actors’ Guild with her full given name. While she was a child, her parents divorced and she was raised single-handedly by her mom who worked as a waitress to carter for them. The situation was so dire that Lynley’s fees from her child modeling gigs became a relief to her mother.

Carol Lynley – career

Carol Lynley began her career aged ten as a model for the Sears & Roebuck department store in New York, she went on to be known nationally as the “Coca Cola Girl” and in her time made commercials for toothpaste and hair dye. By fifteen, she made her acting debut in 1956 in an episode of “Goodyear Television Playhouse”.  There was also a stint as in Broadway. She was 14 at this age. Carol went on to appear in about a dozen other TV credits but there were all singular episodic appearances including the ABC crime drama “Charlie’s Angels”.

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It is in films that Carol made the bulk of her acting credits came from. She made her debut in 1958 in Disney’s film “The Light in the Forest” after the filmmakers saw her photo on the cover of LIFE Magazine. The next year she appeared in “Holidays for Lovers” for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. She was again nominated in 1960 for the film “Blue Denim” in which she played the role of a pregnant teenage girl who sought an abortion. These films were 20th Century Fox productions. Up till the middle of the 1960s, she acted in a couple of their films, including “Hound-Dog Man”, “Return to Peyton Place” and “The Stripper”.

The 1960s was the peak of her career and it marked the beginning of a sharp decline that saw her acting either small roles in movies, in low-budget films and direct-to-video movies. The film which can be said to be the last light before the tunnel of decline was “Bunny Lake Is Missing” the British mystery thriller directed and produced by Otto Preminger. In 1972, she had one last shot at remaining in stardom. She featured in the disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” in which she played the role of Nonnie Parry, a singer aboard a ship that was hit with a tsunami. She later said of the film, “It was the most physically demanding role you can possibly imagine.”

Carol Lynley retired from the Hollywood stage in 2006 aged 64. It would appear to be an early retirement considering the fact that actors aged into their actors, but hers was a career that promised a lot and just fell short. 64 wasn’t going to be the age in which she would have become an A-lister.


Carol’s relationship is a small section of her life and this is not because it is not eventful or only covers a short aspect of her life. It is just that she was in one of those kinds of relationships that can easily be summed up with one-liners. See how, for instance, IMDb described her second relationship: “She had an affair, off and on for 18 years, with David Frost.” You may have heard of Frost. He was a comedian, TV host and personality who had successful shows in both UK and US airwaves. He was married twice and fathered three children.

See also David Gallagher bio

Before Frost, Carol Lynley was married to producer and actor, Michael Selsman, born in 1936 and known for the film “The Dirt Merchants”. The two got married in 1960 and divorced after four years. The marriage produced a child called Jill Selsman who has now grown to become a director.

Cause of death

Carol Lynley died in September 2019 in her home. She lived her last years in Pacific Palisades, California. The Guardian put her cause of death to a heart attack. There was no rejoinder to this nor is there any information that suggests that she was bedridden for any period of time.

Image source: Herald Scotland



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