Actress Arlene Dahl passed away yesterday in her home in Manhattan at the age of 96. The beautiful redhead, who later turned to a career in the beauty industry, starred in movies like Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Slightly Scarlet. She was also known for her six marriages, one to fellow actor Fernando Lamas.
Born in Minneapolis, Arlene started out as a model and worked in theater before coming to Hollywood in 1946. She signed with superstar studio MGM. With her fiery red hair, she was a natural for Technicolor. She played the seductive sister of another famous redhead, Rhonda Fleming, in the 1956 crime drama Slightly Scarlet. But she demonstrated her range in everything from westerns, like The Outriders, to the Red Skelton comedies A Southern Yankee and Watch the Birdie.
Arlene was a smart business woman: she had already started branching out when her film career was at its height. In 1951, she began writing a beauty column, titled Let’s Be Beautiful for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, which she would continue for 20 years. She soon founded a cosmetics and lingerie company, Arlene Dahl Enterprises, and would later write a syndicated astrology column as well as numerous books on both astrology and beauty.
She never gave up acting: after the early 1960s, she was seen into the 1990s on television shows like The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Renegade. She also appeared on Broadway in 1972, when she took over the lead role in Applause, the hit musical based on the 1950 movie All About Eve.
Dahl became as famous for her six marriages as for her acting career. Her husbands included screen performers Fernando Lamas and Lex Barker, Fleischman’s yeast heir Christopher Holmes, wine importer Alexis Lichine and investor Rounsevelle Schaum. She was wed to businessman Marc Rosen for the last 37 years of her life. In addition to him, she is survived by Lorenzo Lamas; a daughter, Carole Delouvrier, from her third marriage, to Chris Holmes; another son, Stephen Schaum, from her fifth marriage, to Rounsville Schaum; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Her son Lorenzo Lamas posted on Facebook, saying, “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.”