WHEN A GIRL'S BEAUTIFUL: THE LIFE AND CAREER OF JOI LANSING (paperback)
Joi Lansing made a career in Hollywood at a time when being blonde and curvy was much appreciated. Although she never became as successful as Jayne Mansfield or Mamie Van Doren, let alone Marilyn Monroe, she carved out a path for herself, appearing in several iconic television shows. In the 1960s, she took a new route by becoming a singer, earning praise for her newfound talents.
Insecurity about her looks and talent plagued her all her life. In growing older, she did everything to stay young and beautiful. Nevertheless, Joi was also acute enough to know that it had taken more than good looks to become famous. In 1965 she stated that, “Looks are important, of course. But after the looks go, what does a girl have? What I mean is, a girl has to have more than just looks to succeed in Hollywood.”
“When a Girl’s Beautiful” — The Life and Career of Joi Lansing tells the story of a vulnerable, sweet and talented woman, who gave her all to become famous and struggled to survive in the harsh world of show business. With an overview of Joi Lansing’s film and television appearances, it also contains rare pictures and many never-before-seen photographs from family albums. It’s enlivened with quotes and anecdotes of people who knew and worked with her.
"WHEN A GIRL'S BEAUTIFUL": The Life and Career of Joi Lansing by Richard Koper (BearManor Media; bearmanormedia.com; $28.00). With its title derived from her uncredited 1947 film debut, this insightful 333-page biography of blonde bombshell Joi Lansing follows her quest to become a Hollywood starlet, only to realize that her attractive looks and voluptuous figure garnered far more attention than any potential acting talent. Author Richard Koper interviews a wide array of Joi's friends and acquaintances - who remember her as a down-to-earth professional whose too-brief life suffered from several tragic turns and dicey decisions - as we're privy to her Utah childhood, becoming a teen fashion model and making her screen debut at the age of eighteen, being briefly stuffed into MGM's publicity meatgrinder, multiple marriages, and the men Lansing was romantically linked to (such as Frank Sinatra). Koper meticulously details the ups and downs of Lansing's acting career, from insignificant (or cut) roles in studio features, TV guest spots as ditzy "drool-bait," unsold pilots and missed opportunities, with the choicest roles lost to up-and-coming starlets like Marilyn Monroe. Unfortunately, when Joi did manage to land a lead role, it was in junk like HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE. And although her struggling career took an up-turn in the '60s, with nightclub singing and live theatre, it did little to halt the alcohol, pills and depression. Joi was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer and cared for by partner Alexis Hunter, until her death in 1972 at the age of 43. It's a depressing tale, no question, but also filled with compassion, admiration, plus a wide range of photos - glamorous publicity shots, family and candid pics, as well as a magazine cover gallery.
-- Shock Cinema