Life, career, playboy bunnies and a great actress …Mamie Van Doren


Mamie Van Doren is an American actor, model, and singer, best known for the rock ‘n’ roll, juvenile delinquency exploitation movie ‘Untamed Youth.’ She is also known for being one of the first actors to imitate Marilyn Monroe’s appearance. Marilyn, Mamie, and Mansfield (of Jayne Mansfield) were known widely as “The Three M’s.” To accentuate her “sex symbol” image, most of her wardrobe in several movies consisted of sweaters, low-cut blouses, form-fitting dresses, and swimsuits that were too bold for the era. Apart from movies, Doren has made guest appearances on TV shows such as ‘Jukebox Jury,’ ‘What’s My Line,’ and ‘The Bob Cummings Show.’ In 1987, she released her autobiography, ‘Playing the Field,’ which garnered a lot of attention and proved to be her biggest media splash in over 2 decades. She currently handles a website along with her husband, Thomas. The site features merchandise, home-made short films starring herself, contemporary topless and nude photos, and her outspoken political views.

From 1951 to 1952, she was seen playing bit parts in a few movies produced by Hughes. Her first acting stint was in a small role in ‘Jet Pilot,’ where she just had a one-word dialogue, “Look!” She appeared uncredited in the film. She later appeared in ‘His Kind of Woman’ for ‘RKO.’ In the same period, she also posed for the famous painter of “pin-up girls” Alberto Vargas, who was associated with the glamorous ‘Vargas Girls.’
During that time, she was discovered by songwriter Jimmy McHugh while working as a showgirl in New York City in Monte Proser’s nightclub version of ‘Billion Dollar Baby.’ He considered her for his musicals initially. Considering her too good for the chorus line, he later decided she should undergo drama training with Ben Bard and ‘Bliss Hayden.’ Phil Benjamin, a casting director at ‘Universal International,’ spotted her while she played ‘Marie’ in a showcase production of ‘Come Back, Little Sheba.’
Doren signed a contract with ‘Universal Studios’ on January 20, 1953. She hoped to bring the kind of success ‘20th Century Fox’ had seen with Marilyn Monroe. At that time, the “Van Doren” name was beginning to garner a lot of interest in the media. Other Van Dorens unrelated to Mamie included two ‘Pulitzer Prize’ winners and a historian. The family’s son made front-page news by winning $129,000 on a TV game show and then admitting the show was rigged. The “Van Doren” name continued to be featured in tabloids and newspapers through the publicity generated by this scandal.
In 1953, Doren was cast in a minor role as a singer in ‘Forbidden.’ The same year, she was cast in ‘The All American,’ as ‘Susie Ward,’ a wayward girl and a “man trap” at a campus beer joint. This was her first major role.
In 1954, she played the supporting role of a slave girl named ‘Lilith’ in ‘Yankee Pasha.’ The following year, she played another supporting role, in the musical ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ and starred in the crime drama ‘Running Wild.’
In 1956, Doren appeared opposite Clint Eastwood, an unknown face at that time, in the Western ‘Star in the Dust.’ Despite garnering prominent billing, alongside John Agar and Richard Boone, she made a brief appearance as the daughter of a ranch owner. Tired of ‘Universal’ casting her in mediocre roles, Doren moved on to accept meatier roles in bigger and better movies from other studios.
Between 1958 and 1959, Doren was seen in some of her more noteworthy movies, including ‘Teacher’s Pet’ for ‘Paramount Pictures,’ ‘Born Reckless’ for ‘Warner Bros.,’ ‘High School Confidential,’ and ‘The Beat Generation.’ However, she was also known for her provocative roles, such as those of ‘Silver Morgan’ in ‘Girls Town,’ and ‘Eve’ in ‘The Private Lives of Adam and Eve’ (where she wore only fig leaves). She was also part of ‘The Beautiful Legs of Sabrina,’ ‘Sex Kittens Go to College,’ and ‘Vice Raid.’
‘Universal Studios’ chose not to renew her contract in 1959, making her a free agent. She struggled to find work, and for the next few years, she was only seen in independent low-budget foreign productions that did little to boost her image in the public eye.
After completing ‘The Blonde from Buenos Aires’ in 1961, she took time off from her career. She resurfaced in 1964, with ‘The Candidate,’ followed by ‘Freddy in the Wild West.’ Both of these were low-budget productions and did little to restore her popularity. The same year, she starred in ‘3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt,’ where she had a beer-bath scene. To promote the film, she posed for ‘Playboy.’
In 1966, Doren appeared in ‘The Las Vegas Hillbillys’ with Mansfield. She was also seen in the science-fiction film ‘The Navy vs. the Night Monsters.’ The following year, she starred in ‘You’ve Got to be Smart.’ 1968 saw her in another science-fiction movie, ‘Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.’
In the next few years, she was seen in several stage productions, including ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ ‘Dames at Sea,’ and ‘Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?’ The early 1970s saw her performing at nightclubs in Las Vegas. Since then, Doren has only made guest appearances in low-budget films.
In 2006, she posed for ‘Vanity Fair’ with Pamela Anderson, as part of its annual Hollywood issue.
She has contributed to the soundtracks of films such as ‘The Candidate,’ ‘Girls Town,’ and ‘Untamed Youth.’

Untamed Youth (1957)

Sex Kittens Go to College

High School Confidential! (1958)

Teacher’s Pet (1958 film)

3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt (1964)

The Beat Generation 1959

Born Reckless (1958)

The Big Operator (1959)

Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966)

The Girl in Black Stockings (1957)

Mamie Van Doren in All American (1953)

The Candidate (1964)

Vice Raid (1959)

The Blonde from Buenos Aires (1961)

Free Ride (1986)

The Arizona Kid (1970 film)



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