Conny Van Dyke Profile

Conny Van Dyke
Conny Van Dyke
Photo of Conny Van Dyke
(Conny Eugene Van Dyke)
28 September 45 is born in Nassawodox, Virginia, daughter of Benjamin Van Dyke II, an ex-Chief in the Naval Air Force, and the former Charlotte "Libby" Tyndall, a housewife
Late 40s lives in Cape Charles, Virginia, located on a tiny peninsula on the Atlantic coast, where she and her younger brother Benjamin Van Dyke III (nicknamed "Van") enjoy a wonderful childhood
Early 50s the family moves to Detroit, Michigan, where her father opens an appliance and repair store
59 begins modeling on "Our Lady Of Charm," a local TV show, and meets legendary television comedian Soupy Sales. He later sends her to the Dorothy Seifert Modeling Agency, which hires her out for a lot of print work
60 enrolls in the John Robert Powers Agency and later enters and wins the “Miss Teen USA” contest
as part of her "Miss Teen USA" prize, she goes to Hollywood and has a date with teen idol and pop singer Fabian
makes headlines in Los Angeles newspapers by giving an interview in which she claims, "Elvis Presley Is Passe." She later regrets the statement and changes her opinion of the legendary performer.
61 is given her first film role, in the teenage angst movie, The Young Sinner, where she plays "the best friend of the school tramp"
continues modeling in Detroit and begins appearing as a spokesperson/model at many auto shows across the country
attends a Miss Teen Night at a Detroit drive-in movie theater, where she is seen singing by two industry executives, who arrange a meeting with Berry Gordy, the President of Motown Records. Gordy is so impressed with her talent that he signs her to the label, making her, at 15, the first white female recording artist signed to Motown.
meets several other neophyte performers at the label, including Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, and Martha and The Vandellas, all of whom, she says, are "terrific" to her
tours the Midwest as part of a package show of Motown acts and witnesses firsthand several incidents of small-town racial prejudice, which shock and anger her
63 leaves Motown Records and briefly records for Wheelsville Records in Detroit, while being managed by Roger Brown, a football player for the Detroit Lions
co-hosts two teen-dance television shows, “Club 1270” and Robin Seymour's “Swingin' Time” (the latter show, in Windsor, Canada)
marries first husband George Fisher, a union which lasts three years
at 18, signs with Epic Records in New York City, where she records several pop sides for an unreleased album
while in New York City, she wins the Miss Boxing contest, which gets her a lot of publicity on the East Coast
Mid-60s continues modeling and singing
marries her second husband, Robert Runyon Page, with whom she has a son, Bronson, in 1968. Later sees her husband take off with a Playboy Bunny, whom he also marries, in spite of his still being married to her
69 while appearing at an auto show in Los Angeles, she meets radio personality Ira Lipson at Universal Studios and begins working on the Universal lot as its first female mail carrier. Soon afterwards, she begins acting in several popular TV shows, including “Adam-12” and “Ironside.”
at Universal, she bumps into director Lee Madden, an old friend who casts her as the female lead in his AIP film, Hell's Angels '69
has a great time filming the movie in Las Vegas and in parts of San Jose and the Mojave Desert, with members of the real Hell's Angels motorcycle gang
is deeply saddened when her brother Van, a Naval Air Force officer, with whom she is very close, dies stateside in an automobile accident, at 23
71 weds her third husband, Ohio disc jockey Larry Coates, which proves to be a very stormy marriage
72 moves to Huntsville, Alabama, where she gets a job singing at the Wooden Nickel nightclub. Is seen there by country singer Steve Norman, who brings her to Nashville and to Andy Williams' Barnaby Records. Cuts her first country-pop album, entitled Conny Van Dyke, which contains all self-written material. She sees many of the album's cuts get airplay on several country music radio stations in the U.S.
73 appears as a semi-regular on Nashville performer Ralph Emery's TV show and is a frequent guest at the renowned Grand Ole Opry
74 Burt Reynolds personally chooses her to co-star with him in the popular "hillbilly comedy," W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, which brings her good notices and a lot of publicity
75 ten days after wrapping up her work on W.W., she begins shooting the Paramount crime drama, Framed, with Joe Don Baker. Again she receives good notices for her work in the film and begins performing regularly at some of Las Vegas' most prestigious hotels, as well as appearing on various television variety shows and game shows.
releases her second LP, Conny Van Dyke Sings For You, on ABC-Dot Records, and is hired as the opening act for such people as Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Barbara Mandrell, Roger Miller, and Totie Fields, in both Nashville and Las Vegas
volunteers her time and energy to the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon, an alliance which continues for many years
guest-stars on such episodic TV shows as “Police Woman,” “Nakia,” “Barbary Coast, and “Sunshine”
Late 70s now semi-retired from show business, she divorces Larry Coates and moves with her son to Naples, Florida
78 works at two car dealerships in Naples and continues singing in nightclubs
78 returns to Los Angeles in the summer to guest star on a Chuck Barris TV variety show called "Rah Rah," where she performs the Eagles song, Desperado
contemplates a return to acting in Hollywood, but reconsiders and moves back to Florida
80s-90s marries and divorces: Douglas Dunham, Emilio Acevedo, and Ernest Guerra
becomes a sheriff's deputy in Collier County, Florida, for two years. Also tutors other sheriff's deputies in math and report writing.
works as an instructional aide in a vocational school during the day, and in the evening teaches English as a second language to employees, ages 18-75, at The Regency Resort Hotel
99 returns to Hollywood to be near her son Bronson Page, who is now a promising young actor
works for a while as a Universal Studios tour guide and is delighted when fans recognize her from her TV, film, and stage work
00 organizes fund-raising events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a job she particularly loves
01 enjoys a resurgence of interest in her career via two comprehensive interview articles, in Filmfax and in Motown Chatbuster magazines
tours England, where she is widely acclaimed by Motown music fans as a superb Northern Soul singer
03 completes a starring role in the film Shiner, written and directed by Christian Calson
begins work on her autobiography
Author: John O'Dowd
Recommended Books:
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