Who was Carol Wayne?
Carol Wayne was an American film and TV actor, best recognized for portraying ‘Art Fern's Tea-Time Movie Lady’ on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.’ Her journey in the entertainment industry began during her teens, when she started performing as a figure skater with her younger sister, Nina Wayne, as part of the traveling entertainment shows called ‘Ice Capades.’ She and her sister then performed as showgirls of the ‘FoliesBergère’ at Las Vegas’s ‘Tropicana Resort & Casino.’ Eventually, she followed in the footsteps of Nina and forayed into acting, appearing in bit roles in TV series such as ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ and ‘I Spy.’ She gained recognition as the buxom ‘Matinée Lady’ in ‘Art Fern's Tea Time Movie’ sketches on the show ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.’ She also featured in movies such as ‘Scavenger Hunt,’ ‘Savannah Smiles,’ and ‘The Party’ and game shows such as ‘Celebrity Sweepstakes’ and ‘Hollywood Squares.’ Her portrayal of ‘Candy’ in the film ‘Heartbreakers’ marked her last on-screen appearance. She had also posed nude for ‘Playboy’ magazine.
Childhood & Early Life
Carol Marie Wayne was born on September 6, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, US. Carol ventured into the entertainment industry during her teenage years. She began her career as figure skater, performing with her younger sister, Nina Wayne, as part of the traveling entertainment shows called ‘Ice Capades.’ The shows featured theatrical ice-skating performances.
The Wayne sisters eventually garnered attention in the Nevada circle, performing as showgirls of the cabaret music hall ‘FoliesBergère’ at the ‘Tropicana Resort & Casino,’ located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. During the mid-1960s, Carol stepped into Hollywood, following Nina, and started appearing on TV shows.
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Carol appeared as ‘Ginger LaVeer’ in a 1966 episode of the spy-fiction TV series ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E,’ titled ‘The Super-Colossal Affair.’ She also appeared as ‘Shelia’ in a 1966 episode of the spy-fiction TV series ‘The Girl from U.N.C.L.E,’ titled ‘The Faustus Affair.’
In 1967, she guest-featured in the titular role of ‘Temple’ in an episode of the ‘NBC’ secret-agent TV adventure series ‘I Spy,’ titled ‘Trouble With Temple.’ She also played guest roles in several other TV series. These include ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ (1967), ‘Bewitched’ (1969), ‘Emergency!’ (1974), and ‘The Fall Guy’ (1981).
In 1970, she appeared in a few episodes of the popular ‘NBC’-aired comedy/variety show ‘The Red Skelton Show.’ Between 1970 and 1972, she portrayed different roles in six episodes of the ‘ABC’ comedy anthology series ‘Love American Style.’
She also essayed the character of ‘Ernestine’ in the Blake Edwards-directed and Craig Stevens-starrer mystery film ‘Gunn,’ which released on June 28, 1967. The following year, she appeared in another Edwards-directed film, a comedy titled ‘The Party.’
According to Carol, she was spotted during a Hollywood party and landed up with an audition for ‘The Tonight Show’ following her performance as a Las Vegas chorus girl. She caught attention performing as ‘Art Fern's Tea-Time Movie Lady’ on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,’ appearing in several episodes of the show between 1971 and 1984. It was considered one of the most notable works of the diva in her career. Her character disappeared for a while, following her death. Carson later chose Danuta Wesley and then Teresa Ganzel as his new ‘Movie Lady.’
From 1974 to 1976, Carol remained a regular panelist of the American TV game show ‘Celebrity Sweepstakes.’ She also appeared on other game shows, such as ‘Hollywood Squares’ and ‘Mantrap.’
She starred as ‘Doreen’ in the 1982-released family film ‘Savannah Smiles.’ Another starring role of Carol was that of ‘Candy’ in the 1984-released drama film ‘Heartbreakers.’ The film was showcased at the 35th ‘Berlin International Film Festival’ and marked the last on-screen appearance of the actor. Other films featuring Carol were the 1979 comedy ‘Scavenger Hunt,’ the 1984 independent comedy film ‘Surf II,’ and the 1984 comedy ‘E. Nick: A Legend in His Own Mind.’
She featured nude for the American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine ‘Playboy’ in February 1984. She had become insolvent and had filed for bankruptcy that year.
Family & Personal Life
Carol had married thrice in her life. She was initially married to Loreto “Larry” Cera. The marriage lasted from May 1, 1965, to June 1967. A couple of years later, on February 17, 1969, she married American rock music photographer Barry Feinstein. They had a son, Alex Feinstein, in 1970. Carol’s second marriage also hit the rocks and culminated in a divorce in 1974. On December 28 the following year, she married American film and TV producer Burt Sugarman. This marriage, too, ended in a divorce on December 24, 1980.
During an interview on April 30, 1974, Carol mentioned that she liked gardening and enjoyed growing bonsai trees.
Carol died under highly mysterious circumstances while vacationing with American screenwriter and film director Edward Durston at the ‘Las Hadas Resort’ in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, on January 13, 1985. According to reports, she had had an altercation with Edward, following which she was seen strolling on the beach. She then mysteriously disappeared, never to return again. A missing report was filed after a couple of days. A local fisherman located her body in a shallow bay on the third day of her disappearance. The autopsy conducted in Mexico found no signs of intoxication. Her death was finally ruled as “accidental.”