Quote from Starlet Showcase:
When one is discussing actresses like Kate Hepburn, Bette Davis, or Joan Crawford, the name Joey Heatherton never seems to come up. When we're talking about serious blondes like Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve, or Grace Kelly, Joey Heatherton's name is never uttered. When the subject is dancers, we leave Joey out and go on and on about Ginger Rogers, Eleanor Powell, Cyd Charisse, or Vera-Ellen. When the topic is monster cocaine users of the disco era, we discuss John Belushi, Carrie Fisher, and Robins Williams, but we never quite get around to Joey Heatherton. When we discuss 1960s babes, we're talking about Sharon Tate, Raquel Welch, Julie Christie, Ann-Margret, and basically all the Bond girls and Hammer horror women, but hardly ever Joey Heatherton. The only time that the name Joey Heatherton instantly springs to everyone's lips is when we are discussing mattress commercials.Too true. For someone that was so well known, well loved, beautiful and talented, it surprising how basically forgotten she's become. I remember when she was on every variety show and TV special that came on - from Perry Como and Dean Martin to Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams and Tom Jones. She had sustained exposure for over a decade on every channel on the dial.
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She was a long-time member of Bob Hope's USO troupe between 1965 and 1977, delighting soldiers with her enticing singing, dancing and provocatively revealing outfits. Excerpts from the USO tours were televised as part of Hope's long-running series of NBC monthly Additionally, throughout the 1960s, she interspersed her variety show appearances with strong dramatic turns in theatrical films and on numerous episodes of series such as Route 66.
Amazingly, with all that, plus a recording career to boot, Heatherton is remembered only for her Serta Mattress ads. Go figure. I remember Catherine O'Hara's hilarious Lola Heatherton character on SC-TV, and I wonder if anyone nowadays would be in on the joke.
Although Heatherton could act, sing, and dance, her main asset was, without a doubt, her raw sexuality. She could really heat it up. She could turn a boring variety show into smoking hot entertainment in seconds. But don't take my word for it, check out this little number on Dean Martin's show. Download the file or simply choose to "open" the Rapidshare file.
Here's an example of Heatherton's recording career - "When You Call Me Baby". This track comes from the blog In Dangerous Rhythm.
Unfortunately, the 1970s were not kind to Joey. In '71, her Dallas Cowboys husband was arrested for exposing himself to a 10 year old. The couple soon divorced.
Then the shit really started to hit the fan. Her look, style and attitude went completely out of vogue and she found herself unwanted and unemployed. Heatherton became wildly addicted to cocaine and was arrested multiple times for possession. The heavy drug use started to affect her looks, which were even further tarnished by an eating disorder. If that wasn't bad enough, she supposedly experienced some brain damage or mental problems from the drugs.
For someone who had the world on a string, she certainly is a prime example of how luck can change so quickly in Hollywood.