Carol Lynley, Star of ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ Dies at Age 77

By Paula Liu

Actress Carol Lynley, known for her role in “The Poseidon Adventure,” died in her home in Los Angeles on Sept. 3, according to multiple reports.

Trent Dolan, a friend of the actress, said that she passed away after suffering a heart attack while in her home in Pacific Palisades, Variety reported. Lynley’s daughter, Jill Selsman, stated that her mother passed away peacefully in her sleep during a press conference, according to Herald Publicist.

“Clearly, you can’t change loss of life, but when there’s a world past, she’s dancing along with her nice buddy Fred Astaire and having fun with her new life as a lot as she loved her earlier one,” Selsman said during the press conference.

Selsman talked about her mother’s love of the world around her and how she was always a peaceful person, according to the Herald Publicist. Selsman continued sharing about her mother’s attitude towards life and all that she immersed herself in.

“She was curious about the world around her, loved to spend time with interesting people, of all stripes and was generally a very peaceful person. Very live and let live,” Selsman said. “She loved working in film and much as she loved going to the movies. I saw everything as a child with her.”

Carol Lynley, born Carole Ann Jones, had started off as a child model, according to Variety. At age 15, she was on the cover of the Life magazine in 1957, and starred in her very first film, “The Light in the Forest” in 1958, and starred again in “Holiday for Lovers” in 1959.

She also had a role in “Blue Denim,” which won her the Theater World Award having played one of the most promising personalities for 1956-1957, and this recognition secured her a contract with 20th Century Fox for seven years, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Her most notable and memorable role would be in the 1972 disaster movie, “The Poseidon Adventure,” where she played a ship singer, Nonnie Parry, one of the passengers aboard the S.S. Poseidon, who was trying to escape the sinking vessel after it was turned over by a tidal wave, according to USA Today. She recalled that the movie had been a tremendous success. The movie was nominated for several academy awards.

In a 1972 interview with movie critic Roger Ebert, Lynley recalled that many people wanted a part in “The Poseidon Adventure.”

“Everybody in town wanted it. This is, you know, a major motion picture. And I’m such a movie buff, I just loved working on it,” Lynley said. During the interview, Lynley shared that director Ronald Neame did not make use of stunt actors because he wanted real reactions from the cast. And for her, that aspect was scary for her, especially for the more dangerous parts the movie.

“There were no safety precautions for the first two weeks of shooting. I’d be up there on a catwalk, and if I slipped, it was six stories straight down through flames to a concrete floor. When we look scared, it’s real,” Lynley said during the interview.

She ended up marrying Michael Selsman, a public relations executive back in 1960. They had a daughter together before separating in 1964.

Towards the end of her career, she played more minor roles in lower budget films and works, such as “The Maltese Bippy,” “Norwood,” “The Four Deuces,” “The Washington Affair,” and “Bad Georgia Road.”

She had an interview with The San Fransisco Chronicle back in 2000, where she talked about her attempts at landing roles and predicted that she would be back on the big screens soon.

“I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I am a very talented actress, and I have my head screwed on right. I’m not going to drug clinics, I look good, and I got all my marbles. So I really believe I’ll be back,” she said.

Following that, she managed to secure herself roles in two movies—”A Light in the Forest,” in 2003, and “Vic,” in 2006.