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The Suspicious Death of Carol Wayne (From the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson)

The 1960s and 70s were full of blonde bombshells who entertained us with their personalities and attracted us with their appearance. Carol Wayne was one of these figures.

She was a staple cast member of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and carried sketches such as Tea Time Movies with Art Fern. These appearances brought her into the world of Hollywood and got her a few small appearances in TV and movies, but she never reached the heights of success she hoped for.

A simple vacation to Mexico ended in tragedy for the star in 1985. Her death is surrounded by mysterious circumstances and leaves plenty of unanswered questions for fans. It was ruled an accidental drowning, but some members of the police consider it unsolved.

Like and subscribe for more details about the most mysterious celebrity deaths. Keep watching to learn more about who Carol Wayne was, the trajectory of her career, and the strange circumstances surrounding her death.

Who Was Carol Wayne?

Carol Wayne was born in Chicago, Illinois in September of 1942. She spent most of her teenage years as a figure skater alongside her younger sister Nina.

The girls even joined the Ice Capades together. While they succeeded as skaters, they dreamed of something even more glamorous.

Carol and her sister also began their showbiz careers together. They were showgirls at the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

The Folies gave the sisters exposure, but it wasn’t enough to get where they wanted to be. They eventually moved to Hollywood, a choice that began both of their acting careers.

Carol Wayne had innocent eyes, an enviable body, and an innocent charm complimented by her high voice. These factors made her a natural fit for the entertainment world.

Carol was discovered at a Holywood party. She later auditioned for The Tonight Show and got the part. It was her foray into the world of TV and remains one of her most memorable appearances.

Her Life and Career

Carol Wayne became a frequent fixture on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She appeared in over 100 of the show’s sketches before her death. One of the most popular was Tea Time Movies with Art Fern sketches where she played the Matinee Lady.

The role led to a short period of blissful success, but Carol’s life turned upside down when Johnny Carson threatened to quit The Tonight Show in 1980. He insisted that he would only stay if the show’s length was cut from 90 minutes to 60. NBC reluctantly agreed to his demands in order to save their biggest money-maker at the time.

The time reduction seemed like a fitting compromise for everyone involved at first. It helped the network and kept Johnny on set. The problem came when the change started to affect Carol’s career. It left less time for the Art Fern sketches and other show staples Carol had appeared in.

Her career began to decline without this steady pool of work to rely on. When roles wouldn’t come, she was forced to do personal appearances to earn money.

Carol’s net worth at the time of her death was $2 million. This may seem like a lot of money to the average person, but it’s a paltry sum compared to the fortunes of most other film and TV stars. Her declining finances eventually became such a serious issue that she filed for bankruptcy in 1984.

That same year, she posed for Playboy in a bid to get her career back on track. This effort unfortunately failed. She struggled to find roles and allegedly became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Carol did her best to find as many parts as possible despite personal setbacks. She was a frequent guest star on game shows like Celebrity Sweepstakes and The Hollywood Squares. Her charisma and beauty worked as well on these types of bright stages as it had on The Tonight Show. Whether she would have earned these parts without the influence of their producer who became her second husband is debatable.

Carol had a few small TV appearances outside of The Tonight Show and the world of gameshows. She found parts in shows ranging from serious dramas to popular sitcoms. She acted alongside Robert Culp in one of the most popular episodes of the 1965 show I Spy. She also appeared on episodes of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie.

Carol earned a few roles in films, including The Party, Every Man Needs One, Scavenger Hunt, Gypsy Angels, and The Big Black Pill. Her final film appearance was in the 1984 film Heartbreakers. It was a box-office flop that failed to restart her failing career.

Like and subscribe for more facts you didn’t know about your favorite stars. Keep watching to learn about Carol Wayne’s love life and the details of her mysterious death.

Carol’s Romantic Life

Carol Wayne’s career wasn’t the only area of her life that didn’t go the way she planned. She struggled to find true love despite her beauty and charisma.

Carol was married 3 times. Her first husband was Loreto Larry Cera, an unknown in the world of Hollywood.

Her next husband was Barry Feinstein, a rock and roll photographer. They had her only son Alex together.

Her final husband was Burt Sugarman. He was a well-known producer who brought her onto the cast of Celebrity Sweepstakes.

Like most relationships in Hollywood, none of these marriages lasted for very long. Carol was tied to another man, Edward Durston, at the time of her death.

Her Death

Almost all female actresses get teased about something, especially when they sign up to work on a talk show. What’s unique about Carol Wayne’s case is that jokes about her age and appearance foreshadowed her mysterious death.

Carol told Johnny Carson that he was old in an episode of The Tonight Show on October 2nd, 1973. He responded by saying “someday you’ll be 47,” and she replied, “I hope so.” Unfortunately, she died at the age of 42.

There was also a running gag in the world of Hollywood that Carol Wayne’s breasts were so large and buoyant that they would keep her from drowning. This proved to be untrue at the time of her death.

Reports say that Carol went on vacation with her boyfriend Edward Durston on January 10th, 1985. They left for a relaxing trip to the beach in Santiago Bay, Mexico.

The couple had an argument a few days into their trip. Carol went for a walk on the beach to calm down. Edward checked out 3 days before her death. He left her luggage at the airport with a note saying that she would come to pick it up later.

A local fisherman named Abel de Dios found her body in the shallow bay waters. The police still wonder what it was doing there in the first place.

A full autopsy was performed on her body. While it didn’t answer every question that surrounds her death, it eliminated a few possible explanations.

Carol’s body had no cuts or abrasions. This meant that she couldn’t have fallen off the nearby rocks or injured herself in any other way that led to her death.

Her body also tested negative for drugs and alcohol. This proves that these substances didn’t have any part in her demise, despite early rumors of her addictions.

The police surmised that Carol Wayne must have died while on her walk alone. Her death was ruled accidental, but there are still several unanswered questions surrounding it.

Unsolved Mysteries

The FBI Uniform Crime Report says that approximately 40% of all homicides go unsolved. Hollywood stars aren’t immune to this statistic, and many rulings about their deaths leave unanswered questions in the minds of their adoring public.

Carol’s case left plenty of unsolved mysteries. No one was there to witness it because it most likely occurred while she was on the beach alone. That means there’s no one who can vouch for the truth of the current ruling on her death.

One of the first and most mysterious circumstances surrounding the case involves the depth of the water. Carol didn’t know how to swim, but drowning in 4 feet of water while fully clothed still seems suspicious. There were no signs of force or illegal substances, so could someone have forced her head under the water until she drowned?

It’s also a bit odd that Carol chose to go near the water at all. She couldn’t swim and was hydrophobic. Going for a walk on the beach is understandable, but why would she go into the water of her own free will?

If Carol’s death wasn’t an accident, the obvious next question is who murdered her? Was it her boyfriend or someone he hired? Was it a random assailant?

The case of Carol Wayne’s death is closed, so the truth may never be discovered. Edward Durston, the only other person connected to the event, cannot give any further testimony. He died in 2007.

There’s been no proof that Edward was involved in Carol’s death in any way. The fact that he checked out 3 days before her body was found may make him seem less suspicious, but events in his past have the opposite effect.

Edward was connected to other tragedies years earlier. He was with Art Linkletter’s daughter when she jumped out of a window in 1969. He was also an acquaintance of a victim of the Manson murders.

Reports about and Investigations into Carol Wayne’s death began in Mexico and eventually spread to the rest of the world. U.S. Consular William LaCoque said in a statement that he considers the case unsolved. He feels that there are details that the police missed about this blond beauty’s demise.

Today, Carol Wayne joins the company of other stars like Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, and Elizabeth Short. They all died under mysterious circumstances that left the public wondering what truly happened to them.

Do you think Carol Wayne’s death should be considered unsolved? Let us know in the comments below and like and subscribe for more.

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