Minx’s, Models and Mini-Skirts – Remembering Alexandra Hay (1947 – 1993)

Posted in Remember by - December 19, 2014
Minx’s, Models and Mini-Skirts – Remembering Alexandra Hay (1947 – 1993)

In a career spanning little more than ten years, pretty blonde starlet Alexandra Hay played hippie waifs and mini-skirted minx’s before the all too familiar exploitation roles came calling.

Born in Los Angeles on July 24th 1947, Alexandra began modelling before she was in her teens. After a brief marriage to her legal guardian ended, she began concentrating on an acting career. Following a fun spot in a 1967 episode of ‘The Monkees’ Alexandra made her movie debut with a small role in Academy favourite ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’, as a carefree teeny carhop. It was a tiny bit but at least she got to share the screen with Hollywood legend Spencer Tracy. That same year she was a mobster’s secretary in the spy spoof ‘The Ambushers’, probably the worst of the four Matt Helm movies. Following a hippy-chick role in the tired James Garner comedy ‘How Sweet It Is!’, Alexandra fared no better in Otto Preminger’s star-studded flop ‘Skidoo’ (’68), playing the bikini-clad daughter of retired hit-man Jackie Gleason.

A bigger and better role came in French director Jacques Demy’s Los Angeles set ‘Model Shop’ (’69). Starring Anouk Aimée, Alexandra played the wannabe-starlet girlfriend of Gary Lockwood’s recently drafted drifter. The photography was stunning and Hay was very good in it, but even though it’s a very under-rated movie, it bombed at the box office. In the last of her big studio pictures, Hay re-teamed with her ‘Skidoo’ co-star John Phillip Law for the trashy failure ‘The Love Machine’, playing one of Law’s many bed-hopping beauties.

Travelling to the UK Alexandra took the lead role in Ray Austin’s lurid exploitation picture ‘1000 Convicts and a Woman!’ (’71). She looked great and was pretty good as a prison governor’s daughter teasing and tempting both wardens and inmates. Starring alongside cult regulars Sandor Elès and Harry Baird, it’s an interesting if unexciting movie, but it did at least give Alexandra a chance to play a meaty role. Staying in the UK Hay was then a damsel-in-distress in one of the better episodes of the acclaimed British television series ‘Thriller’ (’72). Entitled ‘A Place to Die’, Hay was suitably vulnerable as the local doctor’s new wife in a small country village which harbours dark secrets of devil worshipping. After a thankless role in the decent ‘buried-alive’ TV-movie ‘The Screaming Woman’ (’73) starring Olivia de Havilland, Alexandra was back on exploitation turf with the sexist comedy ‘How to Seduce a Woman’ (’74), which also featured pretty Angel Tompkins and blonde bombshell Hope Holiday.

Unfortunately Hay’s career continued to nosedive. After some decent television stints in ‘Kojack’ ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Police Story’, Hay cropped up in another limp comedy; ‘Capers’ (’75), a dire road movie starring Adam Roarke and Larry Bishop, and then in exploitation king Matt Cimber’s obscure oddity ‘That Girl from Boston’ (’75), featuring Mamie Van Doren. Alexandra’s final movie appearance came in the 1978 vigilante crime drama ‘The One Man Jury’, starring an angry Jack Palance as a scum chasing cop. Hays had her usual window-dressing role alongside former co-star Angel Tompkins.

Not much is known about Alexandra’s life after her retirement from the screen, but at least some of her barely released movies are now cropping up on DVD, where her fans can at last appreciate some of her lesser known work.

Sadly Alexandra Hay died from heart disease on October 11th 1993, aged just 46. Her early promise and enthusiastic persona did not lead to professional fulfilment, but at least she gave it her all and made a few good movies. Alexandra is another one of those likable young starlets from the Swinging Sixties and, along with her doe eyes and gorgeous smile, are always a welcome presence on screen, even in the most dismal of movies.

Favourite Movie: Model Shop
Favourite Performance: Model Shop

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