Arlene Dahl

Arlene Dahl

Birth name: Arlene Carol Dahl
Born: August 11, 1925
Age: 97
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
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Arlene Carol Dahl (born August 11, 1925)[1][2] is an American actress and former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract star, who achieved notability during the 1950s. She has three children, the eldest of whom is actor Lorenzo Lamas.

Dahl was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of Norwegian descent, to Idelle (née Swan) and Rudolph S. Dahl, a Ford Motor dealer and executive.[3] She cites her year of birth as 1928,[4] although her birth record (1925-43442), available through the Minnesota Historical Society, shows she was born on August 11, 1925.[1] An August 13, 2014 article in The New York Social Diary by David Patrick Columbia, entitled "Losses and Gains", references her 89th birthday celebration with her husband, children and family.[2]

As a child, Dahl took elocution and dancing lessons and was active in theatrical events at Margaret Fuller Elementary School, Ramsey Junior High School and Washburn Senior High School. After graduating from Washburn High School, she held various jobs, including performing in a local drama group and briefly working as a model for department stores. Dahl's mother was involved in local amateur theatre. Dahl briefly attended the University of Minnesota.[5]


Early career

A year after graduation from high school, Dahl went to Chicago where she was a buyer for Marshall and Brown and worked as a model. She then travelled to New York where she successfully auditioned for a part in the play Mr. Strauss Goes to Boston in 1945. This led to her getting the lead in another play, Questionable Ladies which was seen by a talent scout from Hollywood.[5]

Dahl had an uncredited bit in Life with Father (1947). She was promoted to leading lady in My Wild Irish Rose (1947) with Dennis Morgan, a big hit and led to an offer from MGM for a long-term contract.[5]


Dahl went to MGM to play a supporting role in The Bride Goes Wild (1948). She remained there to play the female lead in a Red Skelton comedy A Southern Yankee (1948). Both were very popular.

Eagle-Lion hired her to star as the female lead in Reign of Terror (1949), then at MGM she acted opposite Van Johnson in Scene of the Crime (1949), Robert Taylor in Ambush (1950), Joel McCrea in The Outriders (1950), Fred Astaire and Skelton in Three Little Words (1950) (playing Eileen Percy), and Skelton again in Watch the Birdie (1950). Of these MGM movies only Outriders was not profitable.[6]

MGM gave Dahl the lead in several "B" films, Inside Straight (1951) and No Questions Asked (1951). Both flopped.[7]

Adventure films

Dahl was hired by Pine-Thomas Productions who signed her to a multi-picture contract and put her in a swashbuckler with John Payne, Caribbean Gold (1952).[8]

She went to Universal to co star with Alan Ladd in a French Foreign Legion story, Desert Legion (1953), then Pine-Thomas used her again in Jamaica Run (1953) and Sangaree (1953); the latter starred Fernando Lamas who Dahl would marry.

She supported Bob Hope in the comedy Here Come the Girls (1953). Dahl and Lamas reunited on The Diamond Queen (1953) at Warners.[9]

In 1953 Dahl played Roxanne on stage in a short lived revival of Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Jose Ferrer.

Dahl played the ambitious Carol Talbot in Woman's World (1954) at Fox, and she was Rock Hudson's leading lady in Universal's adventure war film Bengal Rifles (1954).

She began writing a syndicated beauty column in 1952,[10] and opened Arlene Dahl Enterprises in 1954, marketing cosmetics and designer lingerie.[11]

Dahl began appearing on television, including episodes of Lux Video Theatre (including a 1954 adaptation of Casablanca where she played Ilsa) and The Ford Television Theatre.[12]

Dahl was both a mystery guest (April 25, 1954) and a panelist on the CBS game show What's My Line?. In 1953, she hosted ABC's anthology series The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse.

She and John Payne were reunited in a film noir, Slightly Scarlet (1956), alongside Rhonda Fleming, another red-haired star.

Dahl made some films in England for Columbia: Wicked as They Come (1956) and Fortune Is a Woman (1957). In 1957 she sued Columbia for $1 million saying the film's advertisements for Wicked as Rhey Come were "lewd" and "degraded" her. A judge threw out the suit.[13][14]

Dahl hosted the short-lived TV series Opening Night (1958) and had the female lead in the adventure movie Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), opposite James Mason and Pat Boone. She was injured on set making the latter,[15] but it turned out to be one of her most successful films.


In 1960, she played the role of Lucy Belle in the episode "That Taylor Affair" of Riverboat, alongside Darren McGavin.[16] The same year she married Texas oilman Christian Holmes and announced her retirement from acting. The marriage did not last but Dahl increasingly diversified her work to become a lecturer, and beauty consultant as well as continuing her acting.[17]

She had a supporting role in Kisses for My President (1964) and could be seen on TV in Burke's Law, and Theatre of Stars. Dahl appeared in the films Land Raiders (1969), The Pleasure Pit (1969), and Du blé en liasses.[18]

Her focus was on business by now. After closing her company in 1967, she began working as a vice president at ad agency Kenyon and Eckhardt that same year.[11]

In a 1969 interview she said her old films were "such an embarassment."[19]


Dahl moved to Sears Roebuck as director of beauty products in 1970, earning nearly $750,000 annually, but left in 1975 to found her short-lived fragrance company Dahlia.[10][11][20]

Dahl returned to Broadway in the early 1970s, replacing Lauren Bacall in the role of Margo Channing in Applause.

She had a role on the soap opera All My Children and guest starred on Love, American Style, Jigsaw John, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. She made a TV movie The Deadly Dream (1971). However she was more focused on business promoting her perfume line. "I like acting," she said in 1978, "but I had better like business better or I'll lose my shirt."[21]


In 1981, Dahl declared bankruptcy, with liabilities of almost a million dollars and assets of only $623,970. Her chief creditor was the United States Government's Small Business Administration, which guaranteed a $450,000 loan for her as an executive in a cosmetic firm. She had also lost $163,000 from burglaries of jewelry and furs from her Manhattan apartment, and had earned $11,367 in 1980 and $10,517 in 1979.[22]

Dahl appeared on ABC's soap opera One Life to Live from 1981-84 as Lucinda Schenck Wilson. The character was planned as a short-termed role (she guest-starred from late 1981 to early 1982 and in late 1982), but Dahl was later offered a one-year contract to appear on the series from September 1983 to October 1984. She starred in the film A Place to Hide (1988).

Her last feature film role, which followed a hiatus of more than two decades, was in Night of the Warrior (1991). It co-starred her son, Lorenzo Lamas.[16]

She entered the field of astrology in the 1980s, writing a syndicated column and later operating a premium phoneline company.[11] Dahl has written more than two dozen books on the topics of beauty and astrology.[23]

Dahl guest starred on episodes of shows starring her son, Renegade and Air America.

Personal life

In the early 1950s, Dahl met actor Lex Barker; they wed on April 16, 1951, and divorced the following year, and Dahl went on to marry another matinee idol, Fernando Lamas. (Barker later married Lana Turner.) In 1958, Dahl and Lamas had their only child, Lorenzo Lamas. Shortly after giving birth to Lorenzo, Dahl slowed and eventually ended her career as an actress, although she still appeared in movies and on television occasionally.[16]

Dahl and Lamas divorced in 1960, and Dahl later remarried. In addition to Lorenzo Lamas, Dahl has two other children: a daughter Christina Carole Holmes (born August 3, 1961) by third husband Christian R. Holmes, and a second son, Rounsevelle Andreas Schaum (born December 7, 1970), by her fifth husband, Rounsevelle W. Schaum. She has six grandchildren, one of whom is Shayne Lamas, and two great-grandchildren, and divides her time between New York City and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Dahl has been married to Marc Rosen, a packaging designer, since 1984.[10]


Year Title Role
1947 My Wild Irish Rose Rose Donovan
1948 The Bride Goes Wild Tillie Smith Oliver
A Southern Yankee Sallyann Weatharby
1949 Scene of the Crime Gloria Conovan
Reign of Terror Madelon
1950 Ambush Ann Duverall
The Outriders Jen Gort
Three Little Words Eileen Percy
Watch the Birdie Lucia Corlone
1951 Inside Straight Lily Douvane
No Questions Asked Ellen Sayburn Jessman
1952 Caribbean Christine Barclay McAllister
1953 Desert Legion Morjana
Jamaica Run Ena Dacey
Sangaree Nancy Darby
Here Come the Girls Irene Bailey
The Diamond Queen Queen Maya
1954 Woman's World Carol Talbot
Bengal Brigade Vivian Morrow
1956 Slightly Scarlet Dorothy Allen
Wicked as They Come Kathleen "Kathy" Allen
1957 Fortune Is a Woman Sarah Moreton Branwell[note 1]
1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth Carla Göteborg
1964 Kisses for My President Doris Reid Weaver
1967 Les Poneyttes Shoura Cassidy
1969 The Pleasure Pit Laureen
Land Raiders Martha Cardenas
1991 Night of the Warrior Edie Keane
2003 Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There Herself

Television work

Year Title Role Notes
1953-1954 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Host
1954-1955 Lux Video Theatre Ilsa Lund Episodes: "Casablanca" and "September Affair"
The Ford Television Theatre Mary McNeil/Jody Hill 2 episodes
1958 Opening Night Host (canceled after a few weeks)
1963-1965 Burke's Law Princess Kortzoff/Eva Martinelli/Gloria Cooke/Maggie French 4 episodes
1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Valerie Episode: "Perilous Time"
1971 Deadly Dream Connie Television movie
1976 Jigsaw John Episode: "Sand Trap"
1979-1987 The Love Boat Monica Cross/Natalie Martin/Ellen Kirkwood/Jessica York 4 episodes
1981 Fantasy Island Amelia Shelby 1 Episode
1981-1984 One Life to Live Lucinda Schenk Wilson
1995-1997 Renegade Virginia Biddle/Elaine Carlisle 2 episodes
1995 All My Children Lady Lucille
1999 Air America Cynthia Garland Episode: "Eye of the Storm"

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1953 Broadway Playhouse "No Man of Her Own"[24]
1953 Stars over Hollywood "Remember Bill"[24]


  • Always Ask a Man: Arlene Dahl's Key to Femininity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. 1965. OCLC 4511224.
  • Arlene Dahl's Lovescopes. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 1983. ISBN 0-672-52770-7.
  • Beyond Beauty. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1980. ISBN 0-671-24555-4.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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