Celebrating The Life Of Claudia Jennings! My “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown” Has Her Greatest Hits And “Gator Bait!”

gator-bait

“She Ruled The Swamp With A Blazing Gun And A Luscious Smile!”

One of the 70’s most promising Actresses starred in several classic cult films, but just as she was growing as an Actress, she died tragically – my “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown” has the story of Claudia Jennings…

Jennings was born Mary Eileen “Mimi” Chesterton (nicknamed Mimi by her friends and family) in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949.

After taking a job as a receptionist at the offices of Playboy magazine in September 1968, Photographer Pompeo Posar asked her to test, and the rest is history!

Claudia’s photos were mesmerizing, and she ended up in the magazine as a Playmate in November 1969, and later as 1970 Playmate of the Year.

Claudia Jennings Playmate of the Year

She changed her name to Claudia Jennings to avoid family embarrassment due to posing in the nude, but as you can see by the photos, they are beautifully artistic and far more subtle than many…

Claudia would ultimately become the most perennially popular Playmate of the 1970s, which led her to Hollywood!

She became one of the most popular “Cult Movie Queens” of the 70’s!

Claudia jennings with-the-Playboy-Jet

campy cult movie the love machine

Claudia Enters “The Love Machine!”

Jennings got her start in the camp cult film “The Love Machine”, based on the notorious novel by Jacqueline Susanne, who wrote “Valley Of The Dolls.”

The Love Machine movie

Listen to this plot, thanks to IMDB:

“Robin Stone, an ambitious, sex driven TV news anchor catches the eye of Judith Austin, the wife of network executive Greg Austin. She pressures Greg into promoting him to a higher position and before long, he is running the network while Greg recovers from a massive coronary. Meanwhile, Robin dumps his model girlfriend Amanda and begins an affair with Judith!”

Pure campy trash. Jennings followed this with “Unholy Rollers” – that’s right, Jennings jumped into the hottest sport of the 70’s Roller Derby!

Check out the trailer:

Next, Claudia starred in “Group Marriage” – yes, exactly the kind of films you’d expect to see a naked Playmate in!

Claudia Jennings Group Marriage

Just a few years after the groundbreaking “Bob & Carol& Ted and & Alice”, Jennings starred in a sex romp that imagined a whole new way to get married! Check out the trailer for this camp classic:

Actress Victoria Vetri also starred, and she had a very troubled life…you can read all about it here:

https://jrsploitation.com/2020/11/13/the-wildly-troubled-life-of-sex-kitten-victoria-vetri-this-cult-actress-was-also-playmate-angela-dorian-who-went-to-the-moon-and-just-got-out-of-prison/

Next up, Jennings headed to the country for some classic “hicksploitation!”

Truck_Stop_Women_AUS

“Truck Stop Women, My Head’s Still Swimming’!”

Talk about a catchy title song! “Truck Stop Women” from 1974 is a classic exploitation movie – just look at the double entendre in the poster!

Check out this trailer:

Gator Bait

“Half Animal…ALL Woman!”

“Gator Bait” in 1974 was Jennings’ greatest film achievement – she got to get down and dirty in the swamp, and kick some serious ass at the same time…check out the trailer for this cult classic:

If you want to know more about the “hicksploitation” genre, click on my guide here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/12/12/gator-bait-country-lovin-hillbilly-brides-sex-action-missing-teeth-hicksploitation-lives/

Jennings took her success in this film and started to branch out, getting away from pure exploitation:

Claudia Jennings the great texas dynamite chase

Jennings began to change her onscreen image. She was reluctant to do nude scenes any more, as she wanted to become a more serious Actress…

Great Texas Dynamite

Claudia’s “Texas Dynamite!”

Jennings starred in several more serious films, in smaller roles, and then headlined this campy action film.

Jennings’ boyfriend at the time was songwriter Bobby Hart, who wrote many hits for The Monkees. She was poised to grow as an Actress as she headed into the 80’s…

2010-12-09_Jennings_Co._Crash_2

Her Tragic Death…

Then, a senseless tragedy.

Early in the morning of October 3, 1979, Jennings died in a car accident when a van hit her while she was driving her Volkswagen Beetle convertible along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. She was only 29 years old…

Claudia Jennings RIP

Jennings was in the midst of a very successful career, and the next decade could’ve seen her take on any number of great roles…

She had an upbeat energy in all of her films, and the senseless death is really shocking…a terrific Memoir tells her whole story, with candid stories from her and her family…

Bravo to Eric J. Karell for telling her story so well…you can see more about his terrific book by clicking on my story here:

https://johnrieber.com/2019/07/17/terrific-biography-of-cult-movie-actress-claudia-jennings-is-on-wednesdays-bookmobile/

Sadly Hollywood is full of these tragic stories – stars who had personal problems or tragedies that cut short promising careers….

Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith

Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith was one such Actress…after a slew of roles in cult 70’s films, she lost her way…read her story here:

https://jrsploitation.com/2020/05/30/x-rated-cinderella-cheryl-rainbeaux-smiths-terrific-starring-role-and-tragic-life/

If you like these stories, and don’t want to miss any of my “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown” as well, then go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!

Click here and see the “follow” button on the upper right…

https://jrsploitation.com

Leave me a comment about any of your favorite Actresses you’d like me to profile!



Categories: Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Classic Action Films, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Talent / Celebrites

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. I once had a Ford Capri, but mine wasn’t pink!
    I have never seen any of those films,.but her death at such a young age was tragic.
    Nice tribute to an attractive lady, John.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

  2. My Capri was Black over red……I loved it,,,,,I miss it to this day…..Claudia was some kinda perfect…..good post chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Watching her films on cable back in the early 80’s was an experience in my childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: