Arlene Dahl, Actress in ‘One Life to Live,’ ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth,’ Dies at 96

Arlene Dahl
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Arlene Dahl, the glamorous 1950s actress who later became a beauty writer and cosmetics executive, died on Monday in New York. She was 96.

Her son, actor Lorenzo Lamas, posted on Facebook, saying, “She was the most positive influence on my life. I will remember her laughter, her joy, her dignity as she navigated the challenges that she faced. Never an ill word about anyone crossed her lips. Her ability to forgive left me speechless at times. She truly was a force of nature and as we got closer in my adult life, I leaned on her more and more as my life counselor and the person I knew that lived and loved to the fullest.”

Born in Minneapolis, Dahl started out as a model and worked in theater before coming to Hollywood in 1946. She was briefly under contract at Warner Bros., then signed with MGM.

Her first MGM film was “The Bride Goes Wild,” starring Van Johnson and June Allyson. She went on to appear in “Reign of Terror,” “Three Little Words,” “Woman’s World,” “Slightly Scarlet” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

Her other films included “A Southern Yankee,” “Scene of the Crime,” “Desert Legion” and “Jamaica Run,” which starred Fernando Lamas, who she would marry.

While still working as an actress in TV and films, she founded Arlene Dahl Enterprises in the mid-1950s and sold lingerie and cosmetics, as well as becoming a beauty columnist. After leaving the acting business, she worked as an executive in advertising and for Sears, Roebuck & Co and founded a perfume company.

She later appeared in soap operas including “One Life to Live” and “All My Children,” in addition to guest-starring on “Love, American Style,” “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat.”

Married six times, her former husbands included actors Lex Barker and Fernando Lamas, and wine entrepreneur Alexis Lichine.

She is survived by her husband, Marc Rosen, son Lorenzo Lamas, two other children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.