Sophisticated. Demure. Elegant—NONE of these words describe Mamie Van Doren, and we wouldn’t have her any other way. Her loud and proud life is absolutely chock full of scandal, rivalry, and good old fashioned revenge. Better put on your best red lipstick before you read these 42 naughty facts about Mamie Van Doren, Hollywood’s bodacious blonde.
1. The Three M’s
2. The Usher With Oomph
The actress always knew she wanted to be an entertainer, and started working as an usher for the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood when she was just 15 years old.
3. A Star Is Born
Mamie Van Doren was born “Joan Lucille Olander” on February 6, 1931, but real names are for non-famous people. The day she signed her first studio contract was President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration, and studio heads decided to rename her “Mamie” after his wife Mamie Eisenhower. “Van Doren,” meanwhile, was the family name of prominent American intellectuals.
Not exactly the two inspirations I think of when I see a smokin’ hot blonde, but it’s not like they didn’t work.
4. I’m Too Hot for You
Mamie was no late bloomer, oh no. By the age of 17, she and her lover Jack Newman had eloped to Santa Barbara—and by age 18, she was already a divorcee. Sadly, Newman wasn’t exactly a catch. When he started abusing his young, vulnerable wife, Van Doren got the heck out of dodge and back into her rightful spotlight.
5. You Are the Crown
When she was 18 years old, Mamie Van Doren snagged the oh-so-illustrious titles of “Miss Palm Springs” and “Miss Eight Ball.”
6. It Wasn’t Me
Everybody’s got to let their bad girl out once in a while, and Mamie Van Doren sure knew how to do it. While married to her second husband Ray Anthony, she started a hot and heavy tryst with her co-star Steve Cochran on set. The frenzied lovers would jump into the dressing room immediately after shooting and get it on—until the day it all unraveled.
Anthony came to visit his dear wife on set one day and entered her dressing room without knocking. Well, Van Doren was there, but she definitely wasn’t dressed.
7. Boxing Clever
Mamie Van Doren had her eyes on the prize. She was once engaged to famed heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, but dumped him the minute she signed a contract with Universal Studios in order to pursue her dreams. It wasn’t even that hard of a decision. As she once pertly put it, “He was a lousy lover.” Priorities: very much in order.
8. Sloppy Seconds
The Three M’s of Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Mamie Van Doren were often up for the same parts, and spent their lives in competition with one another. When Van Doren turned down the part of a satirical Monroe send-off in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, up-and-comer Jayne Mansfield ended up getting the role.
9. Double-D to B-Movie
These days, Mamie Van Doren is a cult figure, having starred in a series of B movies and sci-fi films with titles like Voyage to the Planet of Pre-historic Women, which is a good time if I’ve ever heard one. In 1990, her flick Untamed Youth was even featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, itself a cult classic show.
10. Reverse Psychology
The actress claims she actually turned down more lovers than she took up, and she has a bizarre, scandalous way of keeping the lotharios at bay. “I don’t wear panties anymore,” she once confessed. “This startles the Hollywood wolves so much they don’t know what to pull at, so they leave me alone.” It’s so crazy, it just might work.
11. Busting out
Officially, Mamie Van Doren wears a well-endowed double-D bra, but she later corrected, “I don’t even want to say double-D, because they’re even bigger than that.” She also claims they’re all natural, natch.
12. The Naked Truth
Mamie Van Doren has always existed on the edge of mainstream film and…uh, more seductive fare. Films like Girls Town scandalously showed her bare back, and her average on-set wardrobe made “tiny, shiny, and tight” look practically Mormon-demure by comparison.
13. Couldn’t She Just Go on Carson?
Get this: as a promotion ploy for the 1964 film 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt, Mamie Van Doren posed for Playboy. Her character in the film’s name was “Saxie Symbol.” Subtle.
14. Power Couple
In 1949, famous producer and Hollywood mega-creep Howard Hughes spotted Mamie Van Doren when she won the title of “Miss Palm Springs” and decided he was going to turn her into a star. He cast her in small parts in several of his films—and behind the scenes, the pair started a steamy relationship, because what else are male mentors for?
15. Marry Me, Mamie
Mamie Van Doren got married a whopping five different times, with most of her nuptials lasting a year or less.
16. Drive-By Sniping
The only time any of the “Three M’s” starred in a movie together was Mamie Van Doren and Jayne Mansfield’s turn in The Las Vegas Hillbillys. Spoiler: It did not end well. Mansfield considered Van Doren her nemesis, and refused to share any screen time with her, spitting out that she was “the drive-in’s answer to Marilyn Monroe.”
Sorry Jayne, but you’re starring in a film called The Las Vegas Hillbillys. Did you expect Laurence Olivier to co-star?
17. Rock Goddess
Van Doren’s most famous film is probably Untamed Youth, a raucous, rock n’ roll story about two bad-girl sisters. In other words, it totally fit the bombshell’s racy image. But it also came with a certain prestige. With her performance in the movie, Van Doren actually became one of the first actresses—if not the first—to sing rock and roll on film.
18. Born to Do It
Mamie Van Doren always had glamour in her veins: Her parents named her Joan after screen siren Joan Crawford.
19. Simply Irresistible
It’s pretty clear by now that Mamie Van Doren had sex appeal to spare—but if you believe the actress, her charms were so powerful she even seduced gay icon Rock Hudson. According to Van Doren, when the pair went on a studio-orchestrated date early on in her career, people assured her she didn’t have to worry about any wandering hands from Rock.
Well, they were wrong. Hudson took her home and made a move on her, though Van Doren cheekily says he couldn’t get past her crinoline.
20. Rags to Riches
When Van Doren was a baby in her native South Dakota, she lived on a farm with no running water or electricity.
21. Kissinger and Tell
One of Van Doren’s most bizarre dates—and that’s saying something—was with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Yeah, I did say it was weird. Kissinger apparently found her just as irresistible as everyone else did, and started trying to woo her. Van Doren didn’t quite feel the same. She pushed him away because, as she put it, “He had denture breath.”
22. Smart Cookie
This bombshell wasn’t just a pretty face. Kissinger once asked her, “Have you ever met a man smarter than you, Mamie?” When she politely answered, “You,” he only shook his head and said, “I doubt that.”
23. The Girl Can’t Help It
Van Doren has very few vices. She never smoked or drank much. She confessed that the only thing she’s addicted to is a good roll in the hay, if you catch our drift. Never change Mamie, never change.
24. I Love Myself
Hollywood strongman Burt Reynolds once called himself “The Male Mamie Van Doren.” Also yes, the pair had a one-night stand together, but you probably already guessed that. What you might not know? Reynolds was apparently a terrible kisser, which firmly kept it as a one-night deal.
25. Battle of the Blondes
In the legendary battle between Marilyn Monroe and Mamie Van Doren, music legend Quincy Jones knows who he’d pick. Mamie and Quincy dated for a hot, steamy—and secret—second, but Jones recently recalled their relationship in an interview. As he said, “I didn’t think Marilyn Monroe was that hot because I was dating Mamie Van Doren back then. Mamie would put her a-way!”
26. Margot and Mamie
Game recognize game. If anyone was going to play her in a Hollywood biopic, Mamie Van Doren says she would choose Margot Robbie. Coincidentally, this is also my dying request.
27. Pillow Talk
Marilyn Monroe and Van Doren were actually friends, and the elder bombshell once passed along some friendly advice to Van Doren. Probably fresh off her affair with John F. Kennedy, Monroe told her to never fall for a politician because: “When they screw you, they really screw you.” Only…Monroe’s words weren’t as polite as all that.
28. The Last of the Real Ones
After Marilyn Monroe’s suicide and Jayne Mansfield’s fatal car crash, both unimaginable tragedies, Van Doren is the only one of the Three Ms still living.
29. Not Batting a Thousand
The 1960s were one of the most tumultuous periods of Van Doren’s life. She had an on-off relationship with baseball player Bo Belinsky that ended for good in 1964. Just two years later, she married Belinsky’s fellow baseball player Lee Meyers—all while she was hiding a dark secret. She was pregnant, and Meyers was not the father.
She then eventually terminated her pregnancy. Not a good time, all around.
30. One and Done
Despite her many (many) dalliances, Van Doren only had one child. She gave birth to Perry Ray Anthony on March 8, 1956, with her second husband Ray Anthony.
31. Drink Slip
The Beatles: The best band in the world—and Mamie Van Doren’s nemesis? When the Fab Four were visiting Jayne Mansfield at the trendy Whisky a Go Go bar in 1964, Van Doren also happened to be in the crowd. While there, a blasted George Harrison tried to throw his drink at some nosy journalists…and ended up blasting Van Doren right in the face.
32. Teenage Scream
When Howard Hughes first met a teenaged Mamie, he really broke the mold on “creep.” According to Van Doren, the much-older man first asked her how old she was. When she answered “15,” he followed up by inquiring if she lived with her parents, which, obviously yes. Though I know it seems impossible, he then outdid himself.
The main thing he really wanted to know was “Are you a virgin?” Ah, young love.
33. A Woman Never Tells
Van Doren’s response to Hughes’ impertinent question, however, was a total boss move. The teen only quipped, “You’ll never know, Mr. Hughes.”
34. To the Moon and Back
The moon landing was a historic time for mankind, but trust our beloved Mamie to make it about herself. On the 40th anniversary of the landing, Van Doren reminded everyone that she and intrepid astronaut Buzz Aldrin had definitely bumped uglies. As she put it, “Buzz and I spent some memorable and erotic times together…After all, a man who could make it to the moon, could make it with me.”
35. Grovel for Gable
The blonde bombshell rarely became a nervous little girl, but Clark Gable somehow did it to her. During their kissing scene for Teacher’s Pet, Van Doren confessed that she nearly fainted while he was in front of her.
36. Short and Sweet
Mamie Van Doren stands at a perky and compact 5’4” tall.
37. Mean Girls
The blonde vixen once made an enemy out of Elizabeth Taylor, which is never a good idea. Van Doren had been dating Taylor’s ex-husband, hotel heir Nicky Hilton, and the infamously vengeful Taylor was in fine form about the slight. If Van Doren and Hilton showed up to the same party as Taylor, she would make a big show of leaving.
38. Her Majesty, Mamie
Grace Kelly famously married Prince Rainier III of Monaco and became the most glamorous Princess around. Well, Mamie Van Doren wanted some of that shine. Prince Axel of Denmark was reportedly smitten with bombshell, and he just so happened to be looking for a wife. To her great regret, Van Doren turned down his invitations to meet the family not once but three times.
The world is a dark, dark place without Her Highness Princess Mamie.
39. Do You Prefer Fashion Victim or Ensembly Challenged?
According to Mamie Van Doren, Marilyn Monroe learned a thing or two from her younger rival. Apparently, Marilyn would often go into department stores and buy the same outfits that Van Doren had just been photographed wearing.
40. Blondes Prefer Bombshells
The actress once had a juicy run-in with Marlene Dietrich’s sensual side. When Mamie Van Doren was sitting in the wardrobe department at Columbia Pictures, Dietrich strutted in with a raincoat on and a hat tipped over her eye (hot). Then, the Teutonic beauty began flirting with Van Doren…who froze and choked, killing a thousand burgeoning fanfics.
Van Doren later mused, “Today, I’d know what to do. I probably would have flirted back to her. I would have taken her up on it.” The fanfic lives!
41. I Could Write a Book…
Van Doren’s little black book is more like an enormous, heavy tome. The blonde beauty confesses that she had bedroom romps with a bevy of heartthrobs, among them Clint Eastwood, Elvis Presley, and Clark Gable, to name just the very tip of the iceberg. Let’s just say the full list reads like a Hollywood alphabet.
42. My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose: Unoriginal and Cheap
Van Doren’s relationship to her second husband Ray Anthony was bitter and cruel. One day, she even found out the bugger was sending roses to none other than Marilyn Monroe. To this day, she refers to him as “Ray Agony.”