Carol Lynley, 'The Poseidon Adventure' Actress, Dead at 77

Carol Lynley, who starred in The Poseidon Adventure, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. Lynley was 77 years old. Lynley's friend, Trent Dolan, confirmed her death to Variety on Thursday.

Lynley got her start as a child model, making the cover of LIFE magazine at age 15. The cover led to a role in Disney's The Light in the Forest in 1958 and a role in the independent film Holiday for Lovers the following year.

Her breakout role came in Blue Denim, a controversial 1958 Broadway play. She also starred in the film version, playing 15-year-old Janet Willard, who tries to have an illegal abortion.

James Leo Herhily's original play courted controversy for its handling of abortion, so the film was changed to have Janet go through with the pregnancy.

In 1959 and 1960, Lynley earned back-to-back Golden Globe nominations for Most Promising Newcomer - Female for The Light in the Forest and Blue Denim.

Lynley's other films include Blue Denim, Return to Peyton Place, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Shock Treatment and Bunny Lake is Missing. She also had the title role in one of the two 1965 Jean Harlow biopics. Lynley appeared in the independent Harlow directed by Alex Segal that turned out to be Ginger Rogers' final film.

In 1972, Lynley starred in the hit disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure. She sang the film's Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" in the film.

"Everybody in town wanted it," Lynley told Roger Ebert of her character, Nonnie Parry, in 1972. "This is, you know, a major motion picture. And I'm such a movie buff, I just loved working on it. Some of the others . . . well, for example, Red Buttons wouldn't climb up on those ladders until I did. I had to go first. Then he'd follow. He'd always go a little higher than me or swim a little deeper, but I had to go first, Red didn't like me very much. He made my life miserable because he thought I had a better part than he did. Of course, I did . . ."

Lynley was prolific on television, earning guest roles on some of the most popular shows of her era. She appeared in episodes of The Man from UNCLE, The FBI, Night Gallery, The Magician, Quincy M.E., Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Charlie's Angels and Night Heat.


Lynley continued acting regularly until the early 2000s. She made her last film appearance in Vic, a 2006 short film directed by Sylvester Stallone's late son Sage Stallone.

Photo credit: Harry Langdon/Getty Images