Celebrating Cult Movie Queen Jewel Shepard!
Cult cinema has had many stars, but one of the “survivors” of the wild era of 80’s exploitation cinema is still shining bright!
My “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown” take you back to Jewel Shepard’s films in the 80’s, as well as details about her compelling memoir and her current acting credits as well!
Shephard arrived in California in the early 80s, and she supported herself in those early days by working as a stripper in various Los Angeles clubs.
That’s when she met filmmaker Dan O’Bannon. Ultimately she appeared in over a dozen cult movies in the 80’s – including 1985’s cult classic “The Return of the Living Dead”, which was directed and written by O’Bannon.
It’s the story of a warehouse owner who teams up with a group of teen punks to fight off a horde of brain-hungry zombies!
The film was described as a “mordant punk comedy”, and it’s a blast – so much energy and attitude!
Jewel fit in perfectly with the sense of anarchy and fun that makes this movie so much fun to watch – oh, and of course Linnea Quigley does this:
Yes, it includes the “naked cemetery dance” – see more about this film – and the dance, by clicking on my story here:
Shepard appeared in a number of films in the years to come, many of them hits like this:
She had a small role in “My Tutor” – and was proving to be a popular sex kitten in Hollywood, before landing in a perfect drive-in movie that made great use of her charms!
“Hollywood Hot Tubs”!
This 1984 film caught everyone’s attention, perhaps helped by this Jewel Shepard moment:
These classic drive-in movies offered up laughs, nudity and good-natured naughtiness, and as you can see, the camera loved her:
With the success of the first “hot tub” film, she appeared in the sequel as well:
But it was this film that gave Jewel the chance to sparkle.
This breakout role in 1984 gave her a chance to shine as Christina Von Belle, a wealthy heiress, who is kidnapped by a lesbian terrorist group and held for ransom.
She escapes the lesbian terrorists, only to fall into the clutches of a gang of gourmet chefs, who want a piece of the ransom themselves.
Jewel made the most of the opportunity and shines in this erotic thriller.
She was also a much sought-after Model, especially because she was fearless in how she posed, and what she posed with!
Shepard had a great run in the 80’s – and was very “self-aware” about the business, and her place in it…
In 1992 she capitalized on her “B-girl” status by writing “Invasion of the B-Girls”, a book of interviews with cult actresses such as Kitten Natividad, Linnea Quigley, Yvette Vickers, Haji, and Mary Woronov.
“Caged Heat 2: Stripped Of Freedom.”
Jewel then starred in the 1994 sequel to the hit “Caged Heat”…not afraid to take over the lead role, have some fun and show some attitude!
Of course, the original “Caged Heat” was a great “women in prison” film that featured sex kitten Erica Gavin:
Plenty of prison showers in that film as was the norm – but Gavin did so much more: she was also the original “Vixen!”
A great Actress with lots of credits – you can see that story here:
Along with acting, Shepard was writing as well – and was just as fearless on the page as she was on screen.
She published her autobiography – featuring a very self-aware title:
“If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard of Me?”
In this candid memoir, Jewel tells her story, from a traumatic childhood to her struggles to make it in Hollywood – and the predatory nature of show business…there is some harrowing stuff she shares…
Jewel Shepard is still active in the entertainment business, and has a very robust social media presence. She has also been candid about her struggle with invasive breast cancer since 2011.
Jewel still appears in films and TV shows, acting opposite William Macy in “The Cooler” starring Alec Baldwin, and she was a regular on “The Garfield Show” performing various voice roles.
She can also be seen in the Oscar winning Best Picture “The Artist” where she played a flapper babe to Jean Dujardin’s Academy Award winning performance as George Valentin.
When asked about her part in the Academy Award winning film, which is a “silent movie”, Jewel just smiles and says,
“I had as many lines as anyone did in the movie”.
She still makes convention appearances as well – bravo to Jewel for a terrific career!
She reminds me of another 80’s legend:
Julie Strain also had a great career, and recent health issues caused someone to claims had died…Lucky for us, the story wasn’t true – see more of her great career by clicking on my story here!
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