B-movie queen and legendary blonde bombshell pinup Jeanne Carmen died on Thursday after a battle with lymphoma. A 1950's Hollywood party girl and model, Carmen was known for claiming to be a close confidant of Marilynn Monroe - long rumored to have had lesbian affairs - and a lover of such famous celebrities as Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
Born in Paragould, Ark., Jeanne Laverne Carmen was often labeled as the "little country girl" who ran away from home when she was 13 to pursue stardom in New York. A gorgeous platinum blonde, Carmen landed an off-Broadway job as a burlesque dancer and later modeled as a pinup. At 18, Carmen picked up skills as a trick golfer from trick shot master Jack Redmond and claims she used her golfing skills to hustle pro golfers with Las Vegas mobster Johnny Roselli, according to the Associated Press.
Eventually Carmen transitioned into acting in a variety of low-budget films, earning the title of "Queen of the B Movies," according to MSNBC.com. "I was just a little country girl that wanted to be a movie star," Carmen said in a 1996 interview with The Orange County Register. Carmen appeared in such movies as Guns Don't Argue, The Three Outlaws and The Monster of Piedras Blancas.
During her time as an actress and model in Hollywood, Carmen claimed she had affairs with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, Clark Gable and Elvis Presley. She also claimed to have become close friends with Marilyn Monroe and did not believe Monroe committed suicide. According to MSNBC.com, Carmen's son Brandon James claims she fled Hollywood after Monroe's death out of fear for her own life.
Carmen died on Thursday after a battle with lymphoma in her Orange County home. She is survived by her son Brandon James, daughters Melinda Belli and Kellee Jade Campo and three grandchildren.
The picture from Michael Ochs shows Elvis and Jeanne at Sy Devores Halloween party in 1957.