John Ashley (1934-1997)
Most of John Ashley's acting career was spent in low-budget films, such as Frankenstein's Daughter (1958) with Sally Todd, Drag Strip Girl (1957) with Fay Spain, and a host of American International beach party movies including Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. Ashley made his screen debut in The Conqueror (1955) with John Wayne, and he also had roles in Hud and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Beginning in the late 1960's, Ashley began producing low-budget movies for American International in the Phillippines. In 1971, he produced Pam Grier's first starring vehicle, Black Mama, White Mama which also featured Lynn Borden. With his producing duties mounting, Ashley cooled his acting career and made only sporadic appearances in films. He went on to be an associate producer of Apocalypse Now (1979) and produced several TV shows, including The A Team. His final last acting job was in Fred Olen Ray's Invisible Mom (1995) with Stella Stevens. Sadly, John Ashley had a heart attack and passed away on October 4, 1997, while assisting Ray with the making of a new film. From 1962 to 1966, he was married to fellow AIP star Deborah Walley, with whom he had a son (Anthony Ashley, born in May 1963).
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