Carol Glenn doesn’t look like it, but she sure could scare some heebie-jeebies back in the day, when she was a bloodsucking alien and psychopathic slasher.
It was on the big screen, of course, movies with names like “The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Green Grasshopper and the Vampire Lady from Outer Space” from 1965 and “The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher” from ’79.
In other films, Glenn has been the unfortunate victim: in “The Thrill Killers”, she is stabbed to death by three psychopaths who have escaped from a lunatic asylum. In “The Incredibly Weird Creatures That Ceased To Live And Became Mixed Zombies,” she is an alcoholic dancer who is repeatedly stabbed on stage by one of these incredibly weird creatures.
In “Rat Pfink a Boo Boo”, Glenn plays the girlfriend of a rock star who is kidnapped, then escapes, to be captured by a gorilla.
“My favorite line of all time is… when the monkey carries me and I say, ‘Drop me off, great ape,'” the resident of Laguna Woods Village said in an interview.
Glenn was dubbed the “cult queen” in the 1960s and 1970s. An online review of a video by the name describes the alluring 5-foot-6-inch tall, leggy brunette (whose legs would often be shown in these films) as a “pioneering actress of the independent low-budget B-genre of film.”
“These weren’t movies that people know about, but they’re fun, campy, and cult,” Glenn said. “There is an audience for them, and over the past few years I have received letters from fans. People write how much they enjoyed the movies, and they are very nice and kind. I send them autographed photos and thank them. It’s a kick to have this happen.
These days – two grandchildren and a great-granddaughter later – Glenn, who turns 81 in November and has lived in the Village for 13 years, is sticking to somewhat less sensational roles. As a member of the Village’s Old Pros theater group, she played Desdemona in “Othello”, Agnes in “Agnes of God” and the wife of an Anglican pastor in “See How They Run”.
Currently, Glenn wears her director’s cap for a radio version of the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It will take place the second weekend of December at the Performing Arts Center.
She also co-hosts Village TV’s “Trading Post” with Mark Rabinowitch on Wednesday mornings.
The cult films she starred in were produced and directed by then-husband Ray Dennis Steckler, whom she was married to from 1961 to 1980. She continued to make films with Steckler even after their divorce.
Glenn met Steckler as a teenager working on a TV pilot titled “The Magic of Sinbad,” starring Tommy Rettig, the first boy to play alongside Lassie in the TV series.
Steckler “walked in during the pilot and I imagine he liked what he saw,” Glenn said. “We started dating after that and then moved in together when I was about 18.”
Steckler has produced and directed around 20 films, although he never made much of a splash in Hollywood. He started out as a cameraman in films like 1962’s “Eegah” (which was listed as “Z-grade Atrocity” in the 1978 book “The Fifty Worst Movies of All Time”). Steckler then self-funded some films, even borrowing $ 600 from Glenn’s grandmother.
“They were shot in 16mm on Ray’s Bolex,” Glenn recalls.
Glenn has appeared in five or six of Steckler’s cult films. At the time, she was not known as Carol Glenn. Like many early actors, she changed her name and became Carolyn Brandt.
“I used my great-grandmother’s name, Brandt. That’s why you see my name as ‘Cee Bee’ in so many movies, ”she said.
Glenn was born in New York and raised in San Francisco. She moved to Hollywood during her senior year of high school and graduated from Immaculate Heart in 1958.
After high school, she did some theater work in Pasadena, some summer stock, and workshops to learn the craft. Some of her classmates over the years were Melinda Wayne, daughter of John Wayne; actress / comedian Jo Anne Worley, best known for “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”; and child star Gigi Perreau.
The TV pilot “The Magic of Sinbad” was never made into a series, so Glenn got involved in the dancing and auditioned for a show in Reno. She was already living with Steckler when she landed the role and they moved to Nevada.
In the summer of 1960, she was performing at the Mapes Hotel where Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable stayed during the filming of “The Misfits”.
“I was 19 and Marilyn was there to shoot the ‘Misfits’, but I didn’t meet her. She was there with Arthur Miller and stayed in the suite above Milton Berle, ”Glenn recalls. “The nightclub was on the 11th floor and that’s where the show I was doing was. Berle was headlining the show and said he had to leave his suite because Arthur and Marilyn were arguing.
The movie Skid Row Slasher in 1979 was Glenn’s last film. It happened when she was at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she obtained a BA in Financial Administration and an MBA in Finance and Economics.
“I never moved on afterwards,” she said. “I just didn’t want to go any further in the industry. … I had enough of it.
Steckler died of a heart attack in 2009 while living in Las Vegas, Glenn said. She hadn’t seen him in years.
One thing she is proud of are her two Steckler daughters, Linda and Laura. In fact, her favorite movie was 1971’s “Blood Shack”, in which she played a ranch owner who goes after the Chooper monster (named after a sound the monster makes).
The film, shot in Pahrump, Nevada, also had his daughters playing roles.
(Laguna Woods Globe editor-in-chief Anita Gosch contributed to this report.)