In the spirit of the Halloween season, the "Foxy Lady" for October is one of the best loved scream queens in cinema history. Among horror enthusiasts, her name ranks up there with Barbara Steele, Ingrid Pitt, Julie Strain and Linnea Quiggley. A lot has been written on Brinke in blogs and magazines, so I doubt I'll introduce anything new to the table for the horror buffs out there - but, perhaps those not as familiar with the genre will find this interesting.
Had she been a boy, her parents would have named her Charles Brinkeman III after her father and grandfather. As it was, she was born Charlene Brinkeman - her parents were of German descent, but a trace of Mongolian ancestry gave her a very unique appearance. In fact, she was often mistaken as being Korean as an infant.
Her childhood was spent in a rural area outside of San Diego. Her memories of these days are less than idyllic as she was the brunt of severe bullying. In her words, she was known as "the weirdest kid in school" and was also the loneliest. In the mid 1960's, she blunt cut her bangs to look like Mr. Spock. She also enjoyed collecting road kill to dissect. What did Brinke want to be when she grew up? A xenobiologist.
At San Diego State University she began studies in marine biology (specifically dolphin communication), but her mentor was completely discredited when it was found out that he had been giving LSD to porpoises. She ended up getting a double major in psychology and biology and learned SEVEN languages!
With a perfect 4.0 GPA she enrolled in a graduate program at Scripps Institute of Oceanography where it was put in no uncertain terms that dolphin communication research would NOT be an option. The tuna industry was big in San Diego, and so she had to focus her research on seals and sea lions instead. When an opportunity came to do dolphin research at Sea World, Brinke jumped on it. Unfortunately, Scripps disapproved and forbid her from obtaining a Ph.D.; and so she left with only a Masters degree.
This was devastating to Brinke. Her hopes of being an oceanographer were dashed. Brinke felt like she wanted to "curl up and die".
Pressing on, Brinke began work a few years later as an environmental consultant for a nuclear power plant in San Diego. Her job was to test the fish for abnormalities in areas around the plant. After a couple years, she was canned. Luckily, her longtime boyfriend, Dave Stevens, proposed and got a lucrative job illustrating storyboards for Raiders of the Lost Ark!
She quickly moved to Los Angeles and moved in with him. Unfortunately, she wanted to continue her scientific career, and Dave wanted her to stay home. This conflict resulted in Dave moving out, and leaving her with an expensive apartment. To pay the bills, Brinke found work in modeling. She also began posing with little to no clothes in OUI, Playboy and Penthouse.
Walking down a hallway one day on her way back from a meeting with an ad agency, Brinke was stopped by someone out of nowhere. He immediately found her work as an extra in literally over a hundred films, often only appearing a split second, earning her the nickname "Don't blink Brinke" by close friends. Brinke soon lost track at the number of shower scenes she appeared in, and countless roles as a body double.
Her big break came with Slumber Party Massacre (1982). After that, there was no turning back. A long line of B movie horrors quickly followed: Sorority Babes in the Slime Bowl-o-Rama, Nightmare Sisters, Bad Girls from Mars, Teenage Exorcist, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity, etc. etc. Indeed, Brinke had jumped into the B movie biz at just the right time - the VHS boom.... and the rest is history.
For more pictures of Brinke, click the "Read More" link.
"I've probably done more shower scenes than any actress in history. I've done so many that I'm probably the cleanest actress in Hollywood." - Brinke Stevens
That's Brinke with a grenade in her mouth from Bad Girls from Mars