Who Is Angelyne, The “Hollywood Billboard Queen”?

Samantha Henman

If you’ve driven through Los Angeles, it’s likely you’ve seen a billboard featuring a blonde bombshell and just one word: Angelyne. It’s also possible you’ve seen the same woman driving a Barbie-pink Corvette around the city. But unlike regular billboards, these aren’t necessarily promoting a film, TV show, or album—they’re promoting Angelyne herself. But…who is Angelyne?

Though her first billboard went up in 1984, Angelyne was no stranger to using her distinctive image. When she sang with her ex’s band, they’d used her photo on flyers; her first solo album was a picture disc, and her face was plastered all over bus shelter ads to promote it. Along the way, she met an entrepreneur who encouraged her to create her first billboard on Sunset Boulevard, which had her picture and the words “Angelyne Rocks” on it. Within a decade, the billboards had multiplied to over 200—and that was just the start.

In the four decades since her first billboard went up, Angelyne has released albums, appeared in films and TV shows, and even ran for governor of California. Her billboards became an indelible part of the LA landscape—nearly as recognizable as the Hollywood sign—and were featured in movies like Rush Hour and The Day After Tomorrow—as well as being spoofed in The Simpsons and Bojack Horseman. Angelyne also offers tours of LA in her signature pink Corvette and sells signed photos to fans both on her website and in person. But although she’d established herself as an unforgettable persona, one question lingered. Who exactly was she?

For years, rumors flew about who she really was—including some that she was married to a sheikh, or that a rotating list of women took on the persona, with a new Angelyne emerging every few years. Angelyne herself would admit to very little, except for saying “I’m an alien. I came to this planet to help.” 

Finally, in 2017, a hobby genealogist who had been looking into Angelyne approached a Hollywood Reporter journalist with what he’d found. The story claimed that she was the daughter of Polish concentration camp survivors who’d come to the US in 1959. As compelling as the story was, Angelyne denied it. After all, she’d always been firmly in control of her image—and no news story was going to change that. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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