The Wild Life And Mysterious Death Of Carol Wayne! From Johnny Carson To Playboy To an “Accidental” Death!

The True Hollywood Mystery Of Carol Wayne!

Here’s a “True Hollywood” mystery for you!

For millions of late-night TV fans in the 1970’s, Carol Wayne was one of the most well-known – and beloved – parts of pop culture!

Actress Carol Wayne appeared in a number of TV shows and movies in the 70’s and 80’s, but she is remembered for her appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” – as the “Matinee Lady” in the “Art Fern’s Tea Time Movie” sketches.

She was voluptuous, but had an innocent charm that captivated viewers, and was featured in many popular TV shows at the time, while always being a fixture on Johnny’s iconic late night show.

Carol’s Tragic “Hollywood Story!”

So what happened? How did someone who was so prominently featured on TV’s biggest show end up dead? And was it an “accident?”

Let’s look at the wild life and sad death of Carol Wayne…

Wayne said she was “discovered” at a Hollywood party and auditioned for The Tonight Show – her appearances made her famous, and led to small parts in a number of films…

Wayne’s career, however, didn’t get the big “break” that you may have expected – after all, she was extremely popular thanks to The Tonight Show, but the roles she got were small – so she did what many of that era did to get attention…

Carol’s Playboy Pictorial!

In February 1984, Carol appeared nude in a pictorial for Playboy – no doubt looking for the breakout role that would continue to move her career forward…but as it turns out, there was much darkness underneath this Hollywood story.

The same year that Wayne appeared in Playboy, she filed for bankruptcy. According to several stories about the Actress, she wasn’t landing movie or TV roles, which led to financial problems – and she reportedly became dependent on drugs and alcohol as a result.

That same year, Wayne made her final film appearance. It was called “Heartbreakers”. My friend Lawrence Levin sent me this note about the film:

Lawrence noted:

HEARTBREAKERS (1984) It’s on YouTube. She plays a dominatrix who has the hots for Peter Coyote who is a starving pin up artist.

He thought I would be interested in Wayne’s story, and I was – because while “breakthrough” roles are few and far between, it was odd that her exposure on Carson’s show wouldn’t have helped her more…

Carol was 41 years old when she made the film – which did poorly at the box office and didn’t create more opportunities for the Actress.

Carol’s Mysterious Death…

Now, the story take a sad and troubling turn.

Reports from that time say that Carol was on vacation in Santiago Bay, Mexico with her boyfriend, car salesman Edward Durston on January 10, 1985.

Allegedly, the couple had an argument, Wayne went for a walk along the beach, and Durston headed to the airport, where he left her bags.

That was the last time anyone saw her alive. A local fisherman found her body floating in shallow bay waters three days later.

Among the questions surrounding her death: Mexican police wondered how Carol drowned in water four feet deep, fully clothed.

She had no cuts or abrasions, ruling out the possibility she could have accidentally fallen from rocks nearby. The coroner stated that death occurred 3 – 4 days earlier – meaning she died while on her “walk alone.”

Carol’s body also tested negative for drugs and alcohol, suggesting she didn’t drunkenly pass out in the water.

Ultimately, her death was ruled “Accidental” and the caae was closed.

So, what happened to Carol Wayne? We will never know. The boyfriend who left her at the resort, Edward Durston, died in 2007…but if you look online you will find some intriguing theories…due to the fact that Durston was also with TV Host Art Linkletter’s daughter when she jumped out of a window years earlier, apparently on LSD.

Durston’s name came up in relation to the Manson murders as an acquaintance of one of the victims of that horrible crime..other than that, nothing can be found to suggest police ever seriously suspected him of involvement in Wayne’s death…

Carol Wayne’s death was called an accident, even with all of the suspicious circumstances. And another sad, cautionary tale of Hollywood – and how tough it is to survive in this town.. I shared another “True Hollywood Story” about a fallen sex kitten:

Yvette Vickers was the star of “Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman”, but was found dead, isolated and alone, in her house decades later…see the whole story by clicking here:

For many, success in Hollywood comes with a downside: drugs and alcohol:

Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith was in a number of films in the 70’s and 80’s before her life sadly spiraled out of control: you can see her whole story by clicking here:

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Categories: Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Talent / Celebrites

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28 replies

  1. Great bio’s and constantly adding new content. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember seeing her on Carson as a kid. Once again, another great article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow – great story but I wonder where I’ve been since this is the first I’ve heard of this. I need to get out more. Great write up!


  4. We didn’t have the Carson show here, so I didn’t know her at all. Looking at her photos, I’m surprised she didn’t get more film roles!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember her very well, as I was a big fan of Johnny Carson back in the day. I had no idea what happened to her, so this was a very interesting read for me. I found the article thanks to a tweet by Pete Johnson.


    • Thanks for reading it…yes, I remember her from that show and the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious to be sure…that said, also a sad reality for many in the entertainment business…you can’t get work but bills don’t stop…sad…thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. She had the looks of a Hollywood superstar!


  7. What a stunner! (& A very strange story of her tragic suspicious death). Even more odd is that with her figure and willingness to show off her “talents”, she didn’t get more film roles… especially considering it was prime exploitation era & she would’ve been perfect for those roles (also directors like Mel Brooks, A real shame 😩



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