26 July 2012

Carole Lesley

Sexy Carole Lesley (1935 - 1974) or Leslie Carol(e) rivaled Diana Dors in popularity in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The glamorous starlet could always be seen at film premieres and her photograph was constantly in the British film magazines and annuals of the day. She emphasized her physical structure in some comedies, but she never lived up to her early potential. Her lack of acting skill meant that as the 1960' s wore on she was soon forgotten.

Carole Lesley (Leslie Carole)
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/186. Photo: Farabola. On this postcard Carole Lesley is credited as Leslie Carole. Double click for the whole picture.

Showgirl and Pin-up Model
Carole Lesley was born as Maureen Lesley Carole Rippingale in Chelmsford, England, in 1935. At the age of 12, she made her film debut in the British drama Silver Darlings (1947, Clarence Elder). Four years later, the naive and starry-eyed but gorgeous sixteen-year-old ran away from home to break into show business. According to Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, she was wearing her father's shirt and had only two and fourpence in her pocket. She got a job as a showgirl at London's Cabaret Club and became a good dancer. She went to Paris to try modeling and worked as a pin-up model under the name Leslie Carol(e). In the mid-1950’s she signed a 7 years contract to Associated British Pictures and as Carole Lesley she appeared in their productions. She was seen in films like Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957, J. Lee Thompson), These Dangerous Years (1957, Herbert Wilcox) with teenage idol Frankie Vaughan, and No Trees in the Street (1959, J. Lee Thompson) starring Sylvia Syms. She was often seen at film premieres and her photograph was constantly in the British film magazines and newspapers. Gary Brumburgh at IMDb: "she was one of a few starlets who briefly rivaled notorious blonde bombshell Diana Dors as Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The stunning actress, whose slim face was slightly reminiscent of comedic actress Kay Kendall and the more contemporary Sean Young, willingly exploited her obvious physical endowments in an elusive attempt to drum up public attention."

Carole Lesley (Leslie Carol)
Italian postcard. On this postcard Carole Lesley is credited as Leslie Carol.

Suicide or accident?
In 1960 Carole Lesley starred on television as legendary temptress Helen of Troy in the ITV Play of the Week Tiger at the Gates (1960, Paul Almond). That year she was also seen in the comedy Doctor in Love (1960, Ralph Thomas) opposite handsome doctor Michael Craig. The following years she appeared in more light slapstick comedies like Three on a Spree (1961, Sidney J. Furie), What a Whopper (1961, Gilbert Gunn) with Adam Faith, and The Pot Carriers (1962, Peter Graham Scott). In these films she always emphasized her curves, but nothing out of the ordinary came out of her appearances and Associated decided to release her from her contract. Gary Brumburgh comments at IMDb: "The devastated actress pulled a virtual disappearing act following the unhappy news, retreating completely from the limelight.". In 1964 she married Michael Dalling and would have two sons with him. In 1974 Carole Lesley died by an overdosis of pills at age 38 in New Barnet, England. Although some sources state it was a suicide, her relatives felt that it was an accident. She is still an inspiration to British artist Paul Harvey.

Tribute Carole Lesley Movie Star on YouTube by blondebombshell59.

Sources: Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Whirligig Message Board, Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, and IMDb.

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