Carroll Baker


Actor
Carroll Baker

About

Birth Place
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
May 28, 1931

Biography

A talented former dancer and magician's assistant, voluptuous, blonde bombshell Carroll Baker came under the private tutelage of Lee Strasberg once in NYC, eventually becoming a member of the famed Actors Studio. She had appeared in a bit role in "Easy to Love" (1953), but it was her performance on Broadway in Robert Anderson's "All Summer Long" (1955) that led director Elia Kazan and pl...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Lew Ritter
Husband
Furrier. Married c. 1950; marriage lasted eight months; he was 65 at the time of their wedding; Baker claims he raped her.
Jack Garfein
Husband
Director. Married on April 5, 1955; separated in 1964; divorced in 1969; second husband; met at Actors Studio.
Franco Nero
Companion
Actor. Baker revealed to the London <i>Times</i> that they had an affair.
Donald Burton
Husband
Actor. Married in 1982; British.

Bibliography

"To Africa with Love"
Carroll Baker, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1986)
"A Roman Tale"
Carroll Baker, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1986)
"Baby Doll"
Carroll Baker, Arbor House (1983)

Notes

Named Woman of the Year by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club in 1957.

Received Film Achievement Award from Look Magazine (1957).

Biography

A talented former dancer and magician's assistant, voluptuous, blonde bombshell Carroll Baker came under the private tutelage of Lee Strasberg once in NYC, eventually becoming a member of the famed Actors Studio. She had appeared in a bit role in "Easy to Love" (1953), but it was her performance on Broadway in Robert Anderson's "All Summer Long" (1955) that led director Elia Kazan and playwright-screenwriter Tennessee Williams to chose her (over Marilyn Monroe) for their classic "Baby Doll" (1956). Although George Steven's "Giant," which opened two months earlier that same year, introduced Baker as a terrific screen presence, it did not prepare anyone for her sizzling portrayal as the underage and overly ripe wife of Karl Malden, whose erotic thumb-sucking and torrid "love scene" (without a single kiss) played with Eli Wallach on a swing outside the house somehow slipped past the Hays' censors, earning her a much-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Condemned by the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency because of its "carnal suggestiveness," "Baby Doll" established Baker solidly as an A-list actor.

"Baby Doll" also typed her in Hollywood's eyes as a sexpot, and no matter how hard she tried to transcend that image with serious, unglamorous performances in quality offerings ("The Big Country" 1958, "Something Wild" 1961 and "Cheyenne Autumn" 1964), producers continued grooming her to replace Monroe as the screen's preeminent sex goddess. She got her man (Jimmy Stewart) in the heroic "How the West Was Won" (1962) and reunited with Stevens for his Biblical epic, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), and although "The Carpetbaggers" (1964), "Sylvia" and "Harlow" (both 1965) captured her flamboyant earnestness, none of these movies did anything to dispel her reputation as a sex kitten. Blackballed by producer Joseph Levine for failing to promote "Harlow," Baker finally slipped from the A-list for the first time in a decade. Hopelessly in debt with two young children to support after her second marriage (to director Jack Garfein) fizzled, she fled to Italy, churning out sexploitation flicks for the next ten years, feeling lucky to get roles in movies with titles like "Orgasmo" (1969) and "Baba Yaga, Devil Witch" (1973).

Baker returned to the stage, making her London debut as Sadie Thompson in a revival of Somerset Maugham's "Rain" (1977), reprising a role she had played on British TV (BBC) in 1972. She then performed in American regional theater in places like Atlanta, GA ("Bell, Book, and Candle" 1978) and Dallas, TX ("Forty Carats" 1979), the United Kingdom, where she acted in such plays as "Lucy Crown" (1979) and "Motive" (1980), and Canada ("Little Hut" 1981). As for film, her luck began to change when she landed a part opposite Bette Davis in "The Watcher in the Woods" (1980), which led to higher-profile character work in more promising material ("Star '80" 1983 and "Native Son" 1986). Baker turned in a fine performance as Annie Phelan, Jack Nicholson's wife in "Ironweed" (1987), but it wasn't until playing a villainess to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Kindergarten Cop" (1990) that she felt confident enough to move back to Los Angeles. Since then she has acted in the features "Blonde Fist" (1991), David Fincher's "The Game" (1997), in which she played the crucial role of Michael Douglas' housekeeper, and "Nowhere to Go" (lensed 1997). Baker has appeared frequently on TV in the 90s, appearing in a three-week stint on "L A Law" in 1993 and acting in movies like "Skeletons" (HBO, 1996), "North Shore Fish" (Showtime, 1997) and "Heart Full of Rain" (CBS, 1997).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Another Woman's Husband (2000)
Lynn
Silent Hearts (1999)
Nana Castellano
Deadly Measures (1998)
Skeletons (1997)
Rag and Bone (1997)
Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western (1997)
Heart Full of Rain (1997)
Edith Pearl Dockett
The Game (1997)
North Shore Fish (1997)
Arlyne
CLARK GABLE: TALL, DARK, AND HANDSOME (1996)
Dalva (1996)
Naomi
Charlton Heston: For All Seasons (1995)
Judgment Day: The John List Story (1993)
Men Don't Tell (1993)
Those Bedroom Eyes (1992)
Blonde Fist (1991)
Lovelle Summers
Hollywood Christmas Parade (1990)
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
On Fire (1987)
Ironweed (1987)
Annie Phelan
Native Son (1986)
Mrs Dalton
Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil (1985)
The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud (1984)
Mama Freud
Red Monarch (1983)
Brown
Star 80 (1983)
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Helen Curtis
The World Is Full Of Married Men (1979)
La Moglie di mio padre (1976)
Laura
Andy Warhol's Bad (1976)
The Devil Has Seven Faces (1974)
Baba Yaga (1973)
Baba Yaga
Captain Apache (1971)
Maude
The Sweet Body of Deborah (1969)
Deborah
Paranoia (1969)
Kathryn West
Jack of Diamonds (1967)
The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Show (1966)
Mister Moses (1965)
Julie Anderson
Harlow (1965)
Jean Harlow
Sylvia (1965)
Sylvia West
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Veronica
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Deborah Wright
The Carpetbaggers (1964)
Rina Marlowe
Station Six--Sahara (1964)
Catherine
How the West Was Won (1963)
Eve Prescott
Something Wild (1961)
Mary Ann
Bridge to the Sun (1961)
Gwen Terasaki
The Miracle (1959)
Teresa, also known as Miraflores the Gypsy and La Miraflas
But Not for Me (1959)
Eleanor Brown
The Big Country (1958)
Patricia Terrill
Giant (1956)
Luz Benedict, II
Baby Doll (1956)
Baby Doll Meighan
Easy to Love (1953)
Clarice

Cast (Special)

Harold Robbins: Fact, Fantasy and Fiction (2000)
Karl Malden: Workingman's Actor (1998)
Interviewee
The Trap (1991)
Sex Symbols: Past, Present and Future (1987)
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Women I Love - Beautiful but Funny (1982)
Anne Murray's Ladies' Night (1979)
The Next Victim (1975)
Sandy Marshall

Misc. Crew (Short)

LIONPOWER FROM MGM (1967)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1953

Appeared in workshop production of "A Hatful of Rain" at Actors Studio

1953

Film debut in a bit part in "Easy to Love"

1955

Broadway debut, "All Summer Long"

1956

Established herself as a sizzling cinematic presence in Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll" (screenplay by Tennessee Williams), playing the underaged but overly ripe and buxom title character; Warner Bros signed her to a contract following her work on the film; earned Best Actress Oscar nomination

1956

Proved herself a competent actress in her first important movie part as the high-spirited daughter of Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in George Stevens' "Giant"

1958

Portrayed Charles Bickford's tempestuous, pouting daughter in William Wyler's "The Big Country"

1959

Acted opposite Clark Gable in "But Not for Me"

1961

Starred in husband Jack Garfein's second feature film, "Something Wild"

1962

Gets her man (Jimmy Stewart) in star-studded "How the West Was Won" (also first film with George Peppard)

1963

Perfectly exploited as the sexpot among five love-starved men in "Station Six-Sahara"

1964

Role for "The Carpetbaggers" drawn almost wholly from Jean Harlow; second film with Peppard

1965

Played bad girl turned good in Gordon Douglas' "Sylvia"

1965

Reunited with Stevens for "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

1965

Second film of the year with Douglas, "Harlow", rushed through production to compete with the slipshod Carol Linley version of the same year

1972

British TV debut, "Rain"

1977

Reprised role of Sadie Thompson in London stage debut of Somerset Maugham's "Rain"

1978

Acted on the stage in American regional theater, Canada and the United Kingdom

1980

Appeared in British-made Disney effort "Watcher in the Woods", starring Bette Davis

1983

Played Dorothy Stratton's mother in "Star 80" and Sigmund Freud's mother in "The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud"

1985

Featured role as Gerda Hoffman in "Hitler's SS: Portrait of Evil", an NBC movie released theatrically abroad

1986

Portrayed blind Mrs Dalton in "Native Son"

1987

Delivered sympathetic portrayal as Jack Nicholson's long abandoned wife in "Ironweed"

1990

Villainous turn as the cold-blooded mother of psychopath Richard Tyson in "Kindergarten Cop", starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

1991

Superb as aging ex-stripper who becomes Margi Clarke's "manager" in "Blonde Fist"

1993

Did a three-week guest stint on TV's "L.A. Law"

1996

Appeared in HBO movie "Skeleton"

1997

Acted in the TV-movies "North Shore Fish" and "Heart Full of Rain"

1997

Played important role as Michael Douglas' housekeeper in David Fincher's "The Game"

Photo Collections

Baby Doll - Movie Posters
Baby Doll - Movie Posters
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at Roadshow engagements for the 1962 epic in Cinerama, How the West Was Won.

Videos

Movie Clip

Giant (1956) - So Fascinating And Uncouth After maybe the biggest single leap in time, still before WWII, the Texan Benedict kids have grown up to be Carroll Baker as Luz II, and Dennis Hopper and Fran Bennett as twins Jordan and Judy (Earl Holliman her boyfriend), perplexing their parents Bick and Leslie (Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor), in Giant, 1956.
Carpetbaggers, The (1964) - The Best Torture 1925 Nevada, widow Rina (Carroll Baker) with her ex, playboy heir Jonas (George Peppard), whom she dropped for his rich industrialist father who has suddenly died, talking settlement and sex with remarkable explicit language from the steamy Harold Robbins novel, lacking only modern profanity, in The Carpetbaggers, 1964.
Carpetbaggers, The (1964) - Bring Me My Robe The notorious though mild nude scene, and a spike in the plot temperature, as brash Jonas (George Peppard) does exposition and moral trespass with Carroll Baker in her first scene as Rina, his gold-digging ex who married his suddenly-deceased industrialist father for money, early in The Carpetbaggers, 1964, from the Harold Robbins potboiler.
Carpetbaggers, The (1964) - Evil Can Be Fun High-living widow Rina (Carroll Baker) now in Hollywood after adventures in Paris is visited by Nevada (Alan Ladd), now a silent movie star, but formerly aide-de-camp to the industrial-aviation family he worked for, inquiring about Jonas (George Peppard, not seen) her ex-flame, son of her sugar-daddy husband, now head of the firm, in The Carpetbaggers, 1964, from the Harold Robbins best-seller.
Star 80 (1983) - Open, They Go For Art Writer-director Bob Fosse’s ambitious, arresting opening, introducing Mariel Hemingway in voice and photos as his subject, Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, and Eric Roberts as her promoter and husband Paul Snider in a damning flashback, in the fact-based Star 80, 1983.
Star 80 (1983) - Make It A Wild Animal More complex montage from writer-director Bob Fosse, with Eric Roberts as Paul Snider and Mariel Hemingway as Dorothy Stratten in her first Vancouver photo session, Hugh Hefner’s brother Keith as the photographer, Cliff Robertson as the Playboy impresario himself, and Carroll Baker her distraught mother, early in Star 80, 1983.
Giant (1956) - Mr. JETEXAS Himself Christmas time in Texas, early 1940’s, now-patriarchal rancher Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson), with bouncy daughter Luz II (Carroll Baker) receives ex-employee Jett Rink (James Dean), now oil-rich from land willed to him by Bick’s late sister Luz, and is finally willing to discuss drilling on his own land, in Giant, 1956.
Easy To Love (1953) - -- Look Out! I'm Romantic Esther Williams as Florida water-skiing star Julie in New York with boss and not-boyfriend (Van Johnson as Ray), catching singer Barry (Tony Martin), with whom she’s making a commercial, with Carroll Baker’s whole performance as a jealous girlfriend, and an original tune by Vic Mizzy and Mann Curtis, in MGM’s Easy To Love, 1953.
Bridge To The Sun (1961) - Love Is A Luxury First Japanese diplomat “Terry” Terasaki (James Shigeta) then Tenneseean Gwen (Carroll Baker, as the author of the original book) are called before his boss in Washington, D.C., 1935, recommending against his proposal, later consoled by her aunt (Ruth Masters), in Bridge To The Sun, 1961.
How The West Was Won (1962) - In The Spirit Of Your Forefathers Trapper Rawlings (James Stewart) is planning revenge on merchant bandit Hawkins (Walter Brennan) and crew, even as he’s fleecing bible beating Prescott (Karl Malden) and his clan (Agnes Moorehead, Debbie Reynolds, Carroll Baker et al), mayhem ensuing, in director Henry Hathaway’s segment of How The West Was Won, 1962.
Big Country, The (1958) - I Don't Know As I'd Wear That Hat After credits blazing across the prairie, Gregory Peck as Jim McKay of Maryland arrives in San Rafael, greeted by terse-friendly ranch foreman Charlton Heston, Chuck Connors leading local ruffians, Carroll Baker the awaiting bride-to-be, opening William Wyler’s The Big Country, 1958.
Cheyenne Autumn (1964) - Only A Footnote In History Trooper Plumtree (Ben Johnson) returns to tell officers Archer (Richard Widmark) and Braden (George O'Brien) and the Quakers (Carroll Baker, Walter Baldwin) the politicians aren't coming, the Cheyenne, (Ricardo Montalban, Gilbert Roland) denied again, in John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn, 1964.

Trailer

Miracle, The (1959) - (Original Trailer) When a 19th century nun elopes, the Virgin Mary takes her place at the convent in The Miracle (1959) starring Carroll Baker and Roger Moore.
Carpetbaggers, The - (Original Trailer) George Peppard stars in the movie version of Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers (1964), loosely based on Howard Hughes' early Hollywood career.
Baby Doll - (Original Trailer) Carroll Baker stars as the child bride Baby Doll (1956) in the most notorious movie from a Tennessee Williams' play, directed by Elia Kazan.
Big Country, The - (Original Trailer) Feuding families vie for water rights in the old West in William Wyler's epic drama, The Big Country, starring Gregory Peck. Charlton Heston, Burl Ives and Jean Simmons (Telluride Film Festival honoree 2008).
Greatest Story Ever Told, The - (Original Trailer) The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) is an epic re-telling of the life of Christ, directed by George Stevens and starring Max Von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Claude Rains and many more
Giant - (Original Trailer) A Texas ranching family fights to survive changing times in Giant (1956) starring James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.
Bridge To The Sun - (Original Trailer) The true story of an American Southerner (Carroll Baker) who marries a Japanese diplomat just before World War II, Bridge To The Sun (1961).
Cheyenne Autumn - (Original Trailer) A reluctant calvary Captain must track a defiant tribe of migrating Cheyennes in Cheyenne Autumn (1964).
Easy To Love (1953) - (Original Trailer) Busby Berkeley's musical number for speedboats and handgliders is one of the highlights of Easy To Love (1953) starring Esther Williams.
How the West Was Won - (Original Trailer) Three directors and an all-star cast tell How The West Was Won (1962) starring James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, and Henry Fonda.

Family

William Baker
Father
Traveling salesman.
Virginia Baker
Mother
Blanche Baker
Daughter
Actor. Born in 1956.
Herschel Garfein
Son
Composer. Born in 1957.

Companions

Lew Ritter
Husband
Furrier. Married c. 1950; marriage lasted eight months; he was 65 at the time of their wedding; Baker claims he raped her.
Jack Garfein
Husband
Director. Married on April 5, 1955; separated in 1964; divorced in 1969; second husband; met at Actors Studio.
Franco Nero
Companion
Actor. Baker revealed to the London <i>Times</i> that they had an affair.
Donald Burton
Husband
Actor. Married in 1982; British.

Bibliography

"To Africa with Love"
Carroll Baker, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1986)
"A Roman Tale"
Carroll Baker, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1986)
"Baby Doll"
Carroll Baker, Arbor House (1983)

Notes

Named Woman of the Year by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club in 1957.

Received Film Achievement Award from Look Magazine (1957).

Presented a lifetime achievement award at the Breckenridge (Colorado) Film Festival (1997).

Baker was one of the first mainstream Hollywood starlets to pose nude in Playboy magazine.

About working with George Peppard and Alan Ladd in "The Carpetbaggers" (Ladd's last film): "George wasn't a nice person--fame had gone to his head--and I didn't like the way he treated Alan. Alan had trouble remembering his lines and was so insecure it made you sad to be around him. We all knew he was ill, but George would always say, 'For Chrissakes, get it together, Alan'" --Carroll Baker in Movieline, February 1998.

"['The Game' is] an important movie and I'm honored to be in it. Of course, I'd like to be the romantic lead. And I'm actually closer to Michael's [Douglas] age than Deborah Kara Unger is [Baker is 66, Douglas is 53 and Unger is 31]. I think it's always worked that way in Hollywood. When I was in my 20s, I played opposite Jimmy Stewart, Robert Mitchum and Clark Gable, all of whom were old enough to be my father." --Baker quoted in New York Post, September 9, 1997.

"I'm getting a bit discouraged because I would like to age gracefully. I'm never going to look like a woman, just an old girl." --Baker quoted in the London Times, June 26, 2000.