One of Hollywood's most glamorous redheads, Arlene Dahl, died Monday, November 29, in NYC. She was 96.
Also an enterprising beauty expert and glamorous presence at red-carpet events for decades, she was the mother of Falcon Crest star Lorenzo Lamas, 63, with fellow actor Fernando Lamas (1915-1982).
On Facebook, Lamas wrote, "Mom passed away this morning in New York. She was the most positive influence on my life. I will remember her laughter, her joy, her dignity as she navigated the challenges that she faced. Never an ill word about anyone crossed her lips. Her ability to forgive left me speechless at times. She truly was a force of nature and as we got closer in my adult life, I leaned on her more and more as my life counselor and the person I knew that lived and loved to the fullest. My sympathies go to her loving husband @marcrosennyc who,for the last 37 years,made her life so wonderful and joyous. Love you mom forever ♥️ #ArleneDahl #Moviestar #legend #mom #RIP."
Dahl was sweetly eulogized by another ravishing beauty of the '50s, Joan Collins, who tweeted, "My #beautifulfriend#arlenedahl had just died. She one of the most #gorgeouswomen I’ve ever met. My heart goes out to her faithful husband @marcrosennyc #rip #riparlenedahl."
Born on August 11, 1925, in Minneapolis to parents who were Norwegian immigrants, Dahl's beauty — with a prominent beauty mark — afforded her a local modeling career. Once in NYC, she made her Broadway debut in 1945's Mr. Strauss Goes to Boston and her off-Broadway debut in Questionable Ladies that same year.
Spotted onstage, she went to Hollywood courtesy of Warner Bros. But after an uncredited bit in 1947's Life with Father and her credited feature debut in My Wild Irish Rose (1947), she was snapped up by MGM.
Under MGM, she made appearances in A and B films like The Bride Goes Wild (1948), A Southern Yankee (1948), Reign of Terror (1949), Scene of the Crime (1949), Three Little Words (1950), and Inside Straight (1951), often on loan to other studios.
Dahl's love life was tumultuous. She dated John F. Kennedy (1917-1962) in the '40s and was wed six times in total. Married to movie Tarzan Lex Barker (1919-1973) for just a year — he immediately married Lana Turner (`1921-1995) after their union — she wed her Sangaree (1953) co-star Fernando Lamas (1915-1982) and gave birth to their son Lorenzo.
Her career continued with such adventure flicks as Caribbean Gold (1952), Desert Legion (1953) and Jamaica Run (1953).
While she never cared for the material she was given, she did excel in the noir Slightly Scarlet (1956) and Wicked as They Come (1956).
Dahl began writing the syndicated beauty column "Let's Be Beautiful" in 1952 and Arlene Dahl Enterprises in 1954, selling cosmetics and boudoir fare. She also published over a dozen beauty guides, including the million-selling Always Ask a Man: Arlene Dahl's Key to Femininity (1965).
She returned to Broadway in 1953's short-lived Cyrano de Bergerac opposite José Ferrer (1912-1992).
After she'd become disenchanted with acting, she was the female lead in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), her biggest hit.
Even with the nice bump from that film, Dahl focused less and less on acting.
From 1970 until her final TV appearance, on son Lorenzo's Air America series in 1999, she made just two features.
On TV, she was a natural for celeb-driven fare like The Love Boat (four excursions, 1979-1987) and Fantasy Island (1981), and appeared on the soaps One Life to Life (1983-1984) and All My Children (1995).
While she acted less and less, she remained social, a fixture at red-carpet events.
Dahl is survived by her husband of 37 years, Marc Rosen, her three children, her six grandchildren (including reality star Shayne Lamas, 36, and actor AJ Lamas, 37), and two great-grandchildren.