LOS ANGELES (AP) â€” Arlene Dahl, the actor whose charm and striking red hair shone in such Technicolor movies of the 1950s as â€œJourney to the Center of the Earthâ€ and â€œThree Little Words,â€ has died at age 96.
Dahlâ€™s son, actor Lorenzo Lamas, said in posts on Facebook and Instagram that she died Monday morning in New York. No cause of death was given.
â€œI will remember her laughter, her joy, her dignity as she navigated the challenges that she faced,â€ Lamas said. â€œShe truly was a force of nature.â€
In 1959â€²s â€œJourney to the Center of the Earth,â€ an adaptation of Jules Verneâ€™s sci-fi classic, Dahl plays the widow of a scientist who joins co-stars James Mason and Pat Boone on a harrowing race to the earthâ€™s core.
She sang and danced in 1950â€²s â€œThree Little Words,â€ a musical biopic of songwriters Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, playing Rubyâ€™s wife Eileen Percy opposite frequent co-star Red Skelton.
She co-starred with Bob Hope in 1953â€²s â€œHere Come the Girls,â€ provided the love interest for Skelton in 1950â€²s â€œWatch the Birdieâ€™â€ and played the heroâ€™s sweetheart in such adventures as 1952â€²s â€œCaribbeanâ€ with John Payne, 1953â€²s â€œJamaica Runâ€ with Ray Milland and 1954â€²s â€œBengal Brigadeâ€ with Rock Hudson.
Dahl became as famous for her six marriages as for her acting career. Her husbands included screen performers Fernando Lamas and Lex Barker, Fleischmanâ€™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.
When her movie career ended, Dahl remained prominent in television, including a three-year stint in the soap opera â€œOne Life to Liveâ€ in the mid 1980s.
She made frequent appearances on â€œThe Love Boatâ€ in the 1980s, and guest-starred on her son Lamasâ€™ series â€œRenegadeâ€ and â€œAir Americaâ€ in the late 1990s.
Dahl also was active in the lifestyle business, with a syndicated column on beauty tips, a perfume, and lingerie and exercise outfits she designed herself. In the 1960s, Dahl wrote an advice book, â€œAlways Ask a Man: Arlene Dahlâ€™s Key to Femininity.â€
Her marriage to Barker was her first; it lasted seven months. â€œLex was the best undressed man Iâ€™ve ever known,â€ she said in a frank 1985 People magazine interview.
The marriage to Lamas ended after seven years when he left her for Esther Williams.
Of Norwegian descent, Dahl was born in 1925 in Minneapolis, where her father was a Ford dealer. Stage struck in high school, she joined a drama group and made her way to New York, where she modeled and appeared in Broadway plays.
She was signed by Warner Bros., making her first credited appearance in the 1947 musical â€œMy Wild Irish Rose.â€ She then moved to MGM where her films included 1948â€²s â€œA Southern Yankeeâ€ with Skelton and 1950â€²s â€œThe Outridersâ€ with Joel McCrea.
The late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas contributed background material.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton