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This Is Why You Don’t See Joey Heatherton Anymore

Joey Heatherton, a sex-kitten in the mould of Ann-Margret from the 1960s, was a huge hit with audiences and aired frequently on television.

Heatherton’s work was everywhere back then, but nowadays, you hardly ever come across any of her projects. Some stars from the 60s and 70s are somewhat relevant, but Joey seems to be totally forgotten. Stay tuned as we bring you all the details about why Joey disappeared like she never existed.

Anyone who was present when Joey Heatherton was at the height of her powers and witnessed her slink around a stage singing “I’ve Got Your Number” while standing at 5’5″ tall will attest to her captivating presence. Joey Heatherton was born and raised in Rockville Centre, New York, by a father and mother who were both in the entertainment industry, so he was always surrounded by that special glow. She became famous in the 1960s and 1970s for her dancing on television shows and her work with the United Service Organization (USO). Her talents as a singer, dancer, actor and TV personality made her a sought-after performer on shows like The Dean Martin Show and The Mike Douglas Show. But eventually, scandal dogged her in the following decades, and she eventually faded from the spotlight.


Davenie Johanna Heatherton has been a lifelong New Yorker. She went by the nickname “Joey” as it was a mixture of her two names, Davenie and Johanna, which was her middle name. Heatherton went to Saint Agnes Academy, a Roman Catholic elementary and secondary school. She began her training in ballet at the Dixon McAfee School of Dance when she was just six years old, continued it for four years with George Balanchine, and then branched out into modern jazz dance, voice, and theatre. Heatherton started out in show business when she was just a kid. She debuted on television on The Merry Mailman, a well-liked kids’ program in New York that belonged to her father. She joined the original Broadway cast of The Sound of Music in 1959, at the tender age of 15, and served as an understudy for the role of Maria. In the same year, she became known across the country for the first time in her role as an enthusiastic adolescent with a never-ending infatuation with Perry Como on The Perry Como Show (later renamed Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall). She also released her first song that year, titled “That’s How It Goes “/”I’ll Be Seeing You,” but neither it nor any of the three other singles she put out over the next few years were successful.

In 1960, Heatherton made her way back to Broadway with a small but memorable role alongside Jane Fonda in the flimsy There Was A Little Girl. Heatherton’s first television work as a serious actress came the same year when she appeared in an early episode of Route 66 as an affluent, pampered kid. Heatherton’s “sexy-kid appearance” made her a go-to casting choice for roles involving wayward teens in the early 1960s.

She then began a career as a dancer, appearing on shows like Hullabaloo and The Tonight Show, where she famously showed Johnny Carson the Frug. Her seductive approach was called “sleazy sensuality” by critics, and the accusation that she was a cheap imitation of Ann-Margret followed her around like a bad dream, but that didn’t stop her from winning over legions of devoted followers.


And while Heatherton may be best remembered for her raunchy dance routines on late-night TV, she has appeared in several major guest roles in shows like I Spy and The Virginian. Though she had a few minor TV roles before the summer of 1968, when she co-hosted the hit show Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers with Frank Sinatra Jr., she finally broke through to the mainstream audience. Joey Heatherton’s face and body were so prevalent in the 1960s that it was impossible to turn on the TV for a short period of time without seeing them. She managed to find time to entertain troops in Vietnam despite her busy schedule of television guest appearances and dance appearances on whichever shows asked for her. She participated in Bob Hope’s travelling USO group from 1965 until 1977, where she danced, sang, and hung out with the troops overseas. Heatherton risked her safety on an improvised stage during the USO tour to bring some light relief to the lives of American soldiers serving in Vietnam. She entertained the troops in Vietnam through the end of the war, despite the fact that conditions there were often dangerous.

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Heatherton spent the previous decade on television before branching out into other forms of entertainment in the 1970s. During her performances in Las Vegas, she appeared in commercials for Serta mattresses and RC Cola. With the publication of her first album, The Joey Heatherton Album, and a role in the film Bluebeard alongside Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, and Sybil Danning, 1972 was a banner year for Joey Heatherton. A cover of Ferlin Husky’s “Gone,” and writing her own “I’m Sorry” were two of the tracks that charted on Billboard’s Hot 100 from her album.

Heatherton’s film career didn’t go as smoothly as that of her contemporaries, which perhaps explains why she is less well-known now. Despite having appeared on the big screen ever since Twilight of Honor in 1963, she had never played a part in a film that would endure. Her role as Xaviera Hollander in the 1977 film “The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington” is arguably her most well-known acting role.


During her heyday, Heatherton discovered genuine love with Lance Rentzel, an NFL player. At the time, he was a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys but later played for the Los Angeles Rams. The two tied the knot in New York City in April 1969.

Rentzel was arrested in November of 1970 after he allegedly inappropriately exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl. He admitted guilt in exchange for a deferred sentence and an agreement to undergo psychiatric evaluation. To add insult to injury, Heatherton decided to divorce her husband in the midst of his circumstances.

Many believe Heatherton’s career was permanently damaged by her decision to file for divorce from Rentzel, and that she was never able to recover fully from the emotional trauma caused by his indiscretion. In 1972, the couple’s divorce was finalized. Despite the fact that it was both partners’ first marriage, the couple did not have any children.


After starring in Happy Hooker and co-hosting Joey & Dad for four weeks that year, she essentially disappeared from the entertainment industry. Throughout the mid-1980s, she had a series of minor roles that brought her back into the spotlight.

She was once charged with theft of services for failing to pay a $4,906 bill from a Long Island hotel and spa where she had stayed in 1984. During the trial, she maintained her innocence.

After an incident at the U.S. Passport Agency in Manhattan on July 8, 1985, in which she allegedly smacked and pulled the hair of a clerk, she was detained and charged with meddling with a government agent’s duty and disturbing the peace. However, by September 1986, she had been cleared of both counts.

Heatherton was once again arrested for assault on August 30, 1986, in Hillcrest, Rockland County, New York. During a fight, she used a steak knife to stab Jerry Fisher, her ex-boyfriend and ex-manager, in the hand. A short time later, Fisher was treated at a nearby hospital and discharged. Heatherton told police her identity after being arrested, but they didn’t believe her. She then gave her purse to one of the cops so they could confirm her identity. As the policeman was searching it, he discovered a small foil packet containing less than a gram of cocaine. In addition to assault, Heatherton was accused of misdemeanour drug possession. As she had not been informed that she had the right to decline a search of her purse, a court found in her favour in October 1987, finding the search to be unlawful. The charge of possession of drugs for personal use was therefore dismissed. A few days after charging Heatherton with assault, Jerry Fisher dropped the charges.

After a long time, her name resurfaced, but it was on a charge of assault.

According to court records, Joey Heatherton and her neighbour, Chandra Arend, have allegedly been at war for some time over the noise of the latter’s blender. Heatherton apparently didn’t like the noise Chandra caused each morning, especially when she used the blender. Heatherton reportedly waited for Chandra in the lobby of their building after several attempts to silence her by banging on the ceiling failed. When she showed up, Heatherton struck her with a high-heeled shoe.

However, neither Chandra nor anyone else involved has spoken publicly about the alleged assault, although she did seek and receive a restraining order from the court. Chandra was successful in having the court issue a restraining order on Joey Heatherton.


The ’90s and early 2000s showed that Heatherton was finished with the media. In 1997, at the age of 53, she appeared undressed in the April issue of Playboy but unfortunately didn’t garner much attention to cause controversy. In the early 2000s, she did make it to the big screen with a brief cameo as a religious fanatic in John Walters’ 1990 Cry Baby and a moderate amount of screen time in Reflections of Evil (2002). Later in 2004, she re-released her only studio album, The Joey Heatherton Album, but with nude cover art of herself. It is more as though she wanted to remind us of who she was. Unfortunately, all her comeback moves weren’t met with the expected response.

Ever since then, nothing has been said about her, and she has so far said nothing.

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