By Steve D. Stones
I first became obsessed with Joi Lansing when I saw her kissing actor Arthur Franz in The Atomic Submarine (1959). Next, I saw Lansing in an opening sequence in Queen of Outer Space (1958) kissing actor Patrick Waltz. Ms. Lansing had the act of kissing down to an art.
Lansing's good looks and charming smile were not her only valuable assets. Her singing talents also made her stand out as an actress. She had a successful singing act in New York and Las Vegas. Lansing sang with country star Ferlin Husky in the cult classic - Hillbillies In A Haunted House (1967).
"Joi Lansing - A Body To Die For, A Love Story," (BearManor Media) follows the last four years of her life before dying of breast cancer in August 1972 at age 43. The book is told from the perspective of Lansing's friend and lover - Rachel Lansing, aka Ivory Hunter, aka author Alexis Hunter. Lansing and Hunter met while filming the 1969 schlock movie - Bigfoot. Hunter wore an ape costume in the film.
Raised in Kansas, Hunter grew up watching lots of TV and immediately became infatuated with Lansing after seeing her on The Bob Cummings Show in the early 1960s. Her family relocated to Charter Oak, California, just thirty miles from Hollywood. This brought her closer to her dream of starring in movies.
Hunter states in the opening prologue of the book that she had three specific reasons for writing the book. First, to warn readers of the dangers of silicone injections, which was part of the pain Lansing suffered during the last years of her life. Hunter also had a desire to express how vulnerable and fragile Lansing's self image was as a result of the pressures to remain young and beautiful in Hollywood.
Finally, Hunter had a desire to express just how strong love can endure between two human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation. Lansing may have been married to a man and thought to be "straight," but her connection with Hunter made the two soul mates in their short time together. The reader really gets a strong sense of just how much the two women loved and respected each other.
Hunter spends lots of time describing an almost day by day account the meals she, Lansing and Lansing's husband Stan ate in restaurants, as well as the places they traveled in the four years they were together. Hunter was fortunate enough to meet a number of Hollywood celebrities because of her relationship with Lansing, including Elvis, James Brown and Frank Sinatra. Sinatra once dated Lansing.
This touching story of Lansing and Hunter's life and their final days together brings tears to the reader's eyes. Hunter was by Lansing's side until the very end, sleeping next to her in a hospital bed every night.
As the book came to a close, I found myself being curious about Hunter's life today. She mentions she is an artist who creates paintings and jewelry. Did she ever find new love? Also, what happened to Lansing's husband Stan? Is Hunter still a part of Lansing's family today? Perhaps these are not important questions for the reader to know the answers? What is important is that the two women shared a loving bond together in a short period of time.
For a complete resume of Lansing's career, refer to her page on the Internet Movie Database. She has a long and impressive list of television shows and movies she starred in during her twenty-eight year career. Happy reading.