Not Just Another Pretty Body
halfway up the hollywood ladder, playmate jean manson reflects upon the lower rungs
"I don't want people to think I'm just another dumb blonde," says actress-singer -- and now Playmate -- Jean Manson. "So far, in my films, I've been cast in roles like that, but someday I'm going to change my screen image." In real life, of course, although she is most definitely blonde, Miss Manson is anything but dumb. Reared by artistic parents (her father writes, her mother sings), Jean was educated at The American School in Mexico and holds an associate of arts degree in music, which means she can do a lot more than whistle Yankee Doodle through a mouthful of soda crackers. In fact, she's proficient at classical guitar and piano and is currently studying flamenco guitar. Her career as an actress, however, is numero uno on her list of priorities -- one notch ahead of even love and marriage. "I don't feel I can give myself completely to a man at this point in my life," she tell us, "because I'm simply too preoccupied with my career and -- well -- I suppose a good part of me belongs to Hollywood. Before I settle down with one man, I have to be master of my craft." Judging from her professional track record, she may be ready to settle down soon. At 14, she studied acting at Metro in Hollywood and in 1971 she made her first feature film, a not-exactly classic called The World's Greatest Lover. ("I have no idea what happened to that film," she says. "I think the prints were stolen.") Second was a horror film, Terror Circus, with Andrew Prine, and next came The Young Nurses ("a bad exploitation film, but I got some nice reviews out of it"). In her latest, Dirty O'Neil, Jean plays a sexy waitress named Ruby, who, among other things, gets raped by three men ("Since I've been accosted a few times in real life, I just acted from experience"). Now in the filming stage, her new one, Fortune Street, is a departure for Jean, since it's her first serious movie. It's also a musical, which means she gets to sing -- another dream realized. If you haven't caught her on the big screen yet, you may have seen her on the small one, either opposite George Peppard in Banacek or as a contestant on The Dating Game ("I picked the least of three evils; we went to the race track and I fell asleep"). Summarizing her three years as an aspiring actress, Jean has this to say: "I have no regrets about my past films. It was all good experience and I learned a great deal. But I refuse to be just another B-movie queen. I'm getting tired of taking my clothes off in movies. Why do people always want me to take my clothes off?" Guess.
Photography by Dwight Hooker