Joan Lucille Olander (who would grow to be actress Mamie Van Doren) was born on February
6, 1931 in South Dakota
. She was raised on a farm
, though when she became tantalized by the glamour of Hollywood, her and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1942.
By 13 years old, Joan was already shapely, and she found her first acting job with a bit part on a television show. By the time she hit 15 she had one several beauty contests and was noticed by RKO and Howard Hughes. Hughes found her some small roles in film, though nothing major, and she spent her summer in 1950 working as a showgirl in Las Vegas. During this same summer Joan posed in a pin up session and her picture was published in Esquire magazine in 1951.
She was still known as Joan during this time, and was already getting involved with high profile men such as Eddie Fisher and Jack Dempsey. When she returned to L.A. she landed a sexy role in a stage production of “Come Back Little Sheba,” then a film role in “Forbidden,” which led her to a seven-year contract with Universal International. UI urged Joan to change her name at this point to Mamie Van Doren.
Once Mamie had arisen as a film star, she was constantly compared to two other big-bosomed blonde actresses, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. She became known as the primary actress who wore the “bullet bra,” although many other actresses wore the bra as well. Mamie was not very intent on playing the “Hollywood game,” and wanted a family alongside of acting. When she had her first son in 1957, Universal International dropped her contract because she didn’t fit a specific image.
She managed to make another relatively popular film, “Untamed Youth,” as well as recording a few rock and roll hits. In 1958 she starred in “Teacher’s Pet” opposite Cary Grant, and she followed this by starring in a number of teen-exploitation films with Al Zugsmith, which would make her known as a B-movie starlit. Through the years, Mamie was romantically linked to Rock Hudson, Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Joe Namath, and Burt Reynolds. Her husbands included Jack Newman, Ray Anthony, Lee Meyers, Ross McClintock and Thomas Dixon.
The deaths of Monroe and Mansfield very much upset Mamie, but she continued taking good care of herself and kept away from drinking and other drugs. She did some stage performances and from 1968 to 1970 she entertained troops in Vietnam. She is currently still alive and well, and makes occasional guest appearances in nightclubs and on television. She also has a website- www.mamievandoren.com
Her films include:
“You've Got to Be Smart”
“Three Nuts in Search of a Bolt”
“The Sheriff Was a Lady”
“The Wild, Wild West”
“Beauty and The Robot”
“Sex Kittens Go to College”
“Guns, Girls and Gangsters”
“Girl in Black Stockings”
“Star in the Dust”
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