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WHAT'S NEW

John O'Dowd 2010

 

A 2010 photo of John O'Dowd, the author of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye:The Barbara Payton Story"

"This website is dedicated not only to Barbara but also to my wonderful parents, TOT and BETTE O'DOWD, whose kindness, generosity and compassion touched the lives of everyone who knew them. I miss you, Mom and Dad."

To the left is the front cover of Barbara's biography by John O'Dowd, the ONLY biography of her life that has been fully sanctioned by her son John Payton, sister-in-law Jan Redfield and several other immediate family members and friends. "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story", an honest--and COMPASSIONATE--look at this much-maligned woman's life, is now available from BearManor Media. At nearly 500 pages, the book contains over 200 images, including several rare photos of Barbara and her family that have never before been published. A feature film project on the life of Barbara Payton, based on the work and research of John O'Dowd, is also currently in development in Los Angeles.
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2013

John O'Dowd's new website is launched in March 2013: www.john-odowd.com. The website features some of the interviews John has conducted in recent years with various actors and recording artists.

Article titled "Scandalous: Barbara Payton's Fast Life And Slow Death In Hollywood" by Linda Boroff and John O'Dowd is published in Issue # 6 of FutureClaw magazine http://www.futureclaw.com/ 

Article titled "Diane Jordan: From The Monster And The Stripper to John Ashley and Faron Young" is published in the Spring 2013 issue of Filmfax magazine (No. 133).

"Remembering My Friend, The Beautiful Yvette Vickers", a heavily illustrated article that contains material from John's final, mid-2000s interview with the late cult film actress and ex-Playboy Playmate, appears online. (Please see www.john-odowd.com).

 

2011

Article "Sally Todd: On Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, JFK… and her 1950′s Cult Films", an unabridged version of previously published, two-part interviews with Sally in Videoscope and Filmfax magazines, appears online. (Please see www.john-odowd.com).



2009

Bill RamageWilliam Ramage: The Diary of a 1950s Male Model", interview/article by John O'Dowd, is the story of William (Bill) Ramage, a former Texan who parlayed his father's friendship with Howard Hughes into a film contract with RKO Studios during the company's final days in the mid 1950s. Following RKO's demise (which Bill discusses at length in the article), he continued his acting career in Hollywood and also pursued a career as a photographer's model in both fashion and product illustration. Bill eventually became the highest paid male model in the country. One of his print ads, for American Tourister luggage in 1964, was extremely popular and ran on national TV and in magazines for several years. In the late 50s and early 60s, Bill was a frequent guest star on several WB TV shows (Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, The Alaskans, Bourbon Street Beat, etc.) and in John's article, he candidly discusses these shows and their stars. He also starred in the 1966 British-Italian spy film, "A Taste of Fear", with Anne Baxter, a project that was never officially released. John O'Dowd's interview with Bill Ramage contains his reminiscences of a host of performers he knew through the years, including: Guy Williams, Gia Scala, Mark Damon, John Philip Law, Inger Stevens, Walter Winchell, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ty Hardin, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Nick Adams, Elvis Presley, Troy Donahue, Robert Conrad, Connie Stevens, Roger Moore, Peggy June Maley, and many others...including Barbara Payton. The interview features over 40 photos and can be found here.

 

Sally ToddJohn's two-part interview with legendary 1950's cult-film actress SALLY TODD was published in 2009 in VIDEOSCOPE Magazine.

 

 

 

Diane JordanIn 2009, John worked with the beautiful and talented Nashville singer/songwriter DIANE JORDAN on a comprehensive interview detailing her more than forty years in the business. John's article on Diane's life and somewhat star-crossed career can be found here.

 

 

 

2008

Blessed with a gorgeous folk-tinged voice and a burgeoning talent in songwriting, singer PAT DAISY left her small southern town in the 1960's and headed to Nashville to pursue her childhood dreams of becoming a successful recording star. Under the aegis of legendary songsmith Curly Putman (Green, Green Grass of Home, He Stopped Loving Her Today), who believed strongly in her potential as both an artist and a songwriter, the lovely dark-haired vocalist signed with RCA Records in 1970 and soon afterwards came out with her first single, the self-penned You’re The Reason. Over the next four years, Pat’s promise as a performer grew as she issued a series of eclectic 45's for the label, including her signature song, the Top 20 hit, Everybody’s Reaching Out For Someone. Pat sat down with John to reflect on her country music career, and their interview can be found here.

 

In 2008, John worked with actress JANETTE LANE BRADBURY on an interview project covering her prolific TV and film career. Lane began dancing at age fivehttp://www.hollywoodstarletbarbarapayton.com/LaneBradbury.jpg and by twelve was a member of the prestigious Atlanta Ballet. As a teenager, she auditioned for the Actors Studio and was admitted as the youngest member ever to achieve that honor. In the late 1950s, Lane originated the part of Dainty June in Gypsy with Ethel Merman and went on to appear in several stage productions, as well as the theatrical movies Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Hawaii, The Ultimate Warrior and Consenting Adults. Her long list of television credits spans over 35 years and includes guest star roles in countless series (In The Heat of the Night, Gunsmoke, Police Story, The Rockford Files, Party of Five, Savannah, Alias Smith and Jones, The Partridge Family, McCloud, The Mod Squad, Dial Hot Line, Medical Center, and many others). In the early 70s, one of her most memorable roles came as Sally Field's troubled teenage sister in the highly acclaimed TV movie, Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring. In recent years, Lane Bradbury has channeled her deep social consciousness and creative energy into developing Valkyrie Theater of Dance, Drama & Film , a non-profit organization set up to utilize the arts and filmmaking to benefit at-risk teenagers, as well as abused and special needs children and adults. John's interview with Lane can be found here.

 

2007

Christa HelmJohn has written (with co-writers Steve Thompson and Nicole Clements) an article on 70s starlet Christa Helm's brief acting career and brutal 1977 death. THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF 1970s HOLLYWOOD STARLET CHRISTA HELM examines the life of the WONDER WOMAN and STARSKY AND HUTCH actress whose turbulent, party-girl lifestyle may have led to her stabbing death at 27...a murder that remains unsolved nearly 30 years later. Nicole Clements, the daughter of Christa Helm, has recently resumed her investigation into the case, working in conjunction with the LAPD. Steve Thompson's and John's article on Christa can be found here.

A note from Nicole Clements:

The early 1970's were a difficult time for the women of the day. Their moms were of the 50's, housekeepers, held against their will by the 'Right thing to do'. Divorces of the day hadn't much in the line of options either. Then there was the incoming age of peace, rock and roll, and the newfound sex, drugs and freedoms that no generation of women before had the pleasure, and pain of experiencing. My mother was one of these women, finally finding power in her sexuality, as opposed to the shame her adolescent experiences had taught her. Her beauty was undeniable, and once she mastered the art of manipulation and charm, she found her way onto the path of her dreams. She was going to be a Movie Star! A few years of modeling and "faking it" paid off when she moved to Hollywood and changed her name to Christa Helm. Living in a mansion, driving a new Jag, rich men falling all over her. Movie stars, sports figures, rich producers, politicians and musicians. They were all hers for the taking, and she took, and she worked, until she found herself on the Yellow Brick Road of fame. Guest starring in Wonder Woman, Starsky and Hutch, making B- rated movies, lathering in the Coppertone commercial of the day with Tarzan, and finally starring in her own debut film that was never released, all introduced her to the thrills and dangers of stardom. The lifestyles of many Hollywood starlets of the time were filled with drugs, sex, murder, and money. My mother gained it all, and then LOST it all in a very short time. Down to her last few dollars, waiting on a prime role and desperate to survive, she logged all of her escapades in a journal. The journal is rumored to have been filled with lovers, events and details of her private moments. Her affairs, beauty and strength enraged many who knew my mother, but those same attributes also brought her respect, career growth, and an array of people who truly loved and respected the beauty within her. In the end those who loved and hated her would all become scrutinized under an investigation that remains open today, almost 30 years later. In the early morning hours one February morning in 1977, my mother was murdered. Stabbed over 30 times and beaten with a blunt instrument, she was left to bleed to death under a parked car in an upscale Hollywood neighborhood. The case remains unsolved. She was born Sandra Wohlfeil. She died Christa Helm. For more information on this story and how you can help, please e-mail me at: niketaclem@comcast.net.

 

2006

John has collaborated with former Elektra and WB recording artist SAMI JO COLE on an article documenting her country-pop music career of the 1970s and 80s. The dark-haired and sultry singer with the husky, powerhouse voice had a top 20 pop hit in 1974 ("Tell Me A Lie") and later worked with acclaimed producers Jimmy Bowen and Jim Ed Norman in Nashville. John's interview with SAMI JO covers her entire career--from her early days as a child gospel singer in her hometown of Batesville, Arkansas, to her slick-sounding, 1975 pop sides for MGM Records in Hollywood, to her criminally underrated country singles for Elektra and WB in the early-to-mid 1980s (including her superb version of the old Brenda Lee hit, "Emotions"), to the super-obscure sides she cut for Nashville's Southern Tracks Records before her retirement in the late 1980s. The article also explores how music industry politics may have contributed to this exciting, blues-influenced singer being one of the most underrated (and sadly, under-recorded) vocalists in pop music history. John's interview with SAMI JO COLE can be found here.

 

 

2005

Connie Van Dyke"Conny Van Dyke: Hell's Angels '69", interview/article by John O'Dowd, was published in January 2005 by PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO magazine. In this article, Conny shared some great, never-before-told anecdotes about her work with Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels in the AIP cult film, "Hell's Angels '69", and equally interesting tales from the set of her 1970s Paramount crime film, "Framed". Conny also discussed her recordings for Motown Records in the early 60s, and her subsequent tours with several of that label's acts (in which they experienced, firsthand, some disturbing incidents of racial conflict). Also covered: Conny's 1974 comedy "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings", co-starring Burt Reynolds and Art Carney, her TV work with Robert Forster and Angie Dickinson, and Conny's six marriages. To order a copy of this article, please contact PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO magazine.

 

2004/2003

Comprehensive interviews with B-movie actresses Yvette Vickers and Lindsay Bloom in PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO magazine, Issue #39.

"Hollywood Bad Girl Barbara Payton: Midnight Angel In Flames", a two-part article on Barbara's life and career, in CHILLER THEATRE magazine, Issues #17 and 18.

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