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Carol Lynley (1942–2019), star of “The Poseidon Adventure”

Getty Images / Harry Langdon

Her other notable films include "Blue Denim," "Bunny Lake Is Missing," and "Return to Peyton Place"

Carol Lynley starred in films including “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Blue Denim,” and “Bunny Lake Is Missing.” She was best known to many for her role in “The Poseidon Adventure,” playing the ship’s singer who performed (via lip-sync) the movie’s Oscar-winning love theme, “The Morning After.” Lynley made her mark as in her teens, starring in “Blue Denim” on Broadway and in the 1959 movie adaptation as a pregnant teen seeking a then-illegal abortion. After starring in other high-profile films as a young actress, including “Return to Peyton Place,” “Under the Yum Yum Tree,” “Harlow,” and “Bunny Lake Is Missing,” her movie career faded, with 1972’s “The Poseidon Adventure” a rare high note. Later in her career, Lynley was seen in frequent guest spots on television, including 11 episodes of “Fantasy Island” as well as “Kojak,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “Charlie’s Angels.”

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Died: September 3, 2019 (Who else died on September 3?)

Details of death: Died at home in Pacific Palisades, California of a heart attack at the age of 77.


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Origin of her stage name: Lynley was born Carole Ann Jones. When she began modeling as a young girl, she did so under the name Carolyn Lee. But as her acting career began, she found that there was already an actress working under the name Carolyn Lee. She created her enduring name by reworking the name, going back to Carol for her first name and fusing the final syllable of her first name with her last name to create “Lynley.”

Lynley on the role she’d want to be remembered for: “I have to go back to ‘Bunny Lake Is Missing.’ …It is a wonderful movie, and a wonderful feeling of vindication, because when it came out in America, it was a total flop because the studio wouldn’t give it any support, nothing. I cried for a year, because I worked so hard and I knew it was good. And it hurt that it disappeared. But about 15 years ago, the museums started showing it in retrospect programs. It is one of Otto [Preminger]’s great films; it was a feeling of vindication for all of us.” —From a 2010 interview with Hollywood Chicago

What people said about her: “We were saddened to hear that Carol Lynley died earlier this week. Most of her obituaries have highlighted her performance in The Poseidon Adventure. While she was very good in that, we always thought her best performance was in Bunny Lake Is Missing.” —Classic Film TV Café

“There always was something ethereal about her… not just her natural beauty, but also her manner, which made it seem like she existed on another plane. In a bittersweet coincidence, TCM already had a double feature of her work scheduled for this Sunday. Rest in peace, Carol Lynley.” —Twitter user @JayBobbin1

Full obituary: New York Times

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