Born John Atchley in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 25, 1934, actor and producer John Ashley was raised in Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a business degree and moved to Los Angeles for graduate school when he became interested in acting, and managed to get a part as an extra in The Conqueror (1956; with John Wayne). Soon, he snagged a starring role the in American International Pictures (AIP) release Dragstrip Girl (1957; Fay Spain, Steven Terrell, Frank Gorshin, and Judy Bamber), beginning Ashley's long association with AIP.

John AshleyJohn Ashley and Deborah Walley

LEFT: Late 1950s promotional photo. RIGHT: With Deborah Walley at the time of their marriage in 1962

In addition to his acting talents, Ashley also proved to be a good singer, releasing several singles on the Dot label in 1957 and 1958. His vocal talents are highlighted in Zero Hour! (1957; with Dana Andrews and Sterling Hayden) and Hot Rod Gang (1958; with Jody Fair). Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ashley starred in a string of films, as well as two television series. In April 1962, he married actress Deborah Walley. The union produced a son, born in May 1963, but their marriage ended in 1966.

the films of john ashley

Dragstrip Girl (1957)

John Ashley and Judy BamberJohn Ashley, Fay Spain, Judy Bamber, and Steve TerrellJohn Ashley

LEFT: From Dragstrip Girl with Judy Bamber. CENTER: With Judy Bamber, Fay Spain, and Steve Terrell. RIGHT: Ashley also dabbled in recording in the late 1950s. This is one of his rockabilly singles, with ad hype from Dragstrip Girl

High School Caesar (1960)

John Ashley in High School Caesar

In High School Caesar, Ashley stars as Matt Stevens, a rich bad boy who terrorizes his classmates

Beach Party (1963)

John Ashley

From AIP's Beach Party

Muscle Beach Party (1964)

Jody McCrea with Dick Dale, John Ashley, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

From Muscle Beach Party with Jody McCrea, Dick Dale, John Ashley, Frankie Avalon, and Annette Funicello

Bikini Beach (1964)

John Ashley

Promotional photo from Bikini Beach

Sergeant Dead Head (1965)

Frankie Avalon, Harvey Lembeck, and John Ashley

From the AIP comedy Sergeant Dead Head with Frankie Avalon and Harvey Lembeck

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)

Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, and John AshleyJohn Ashley and Deborah WalleyDeborah Walley and John AshleyAnnette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, and John Ashley

LEFT: With Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, and Deborah Walley in a promotional shot for Beach Blanket Bingo. CENTER A: Ashley and Deborah Walley as the bickering sky-diving team. CENTER B: Promotional photo with Deborah Walley. RIGHT: With Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, and Deborah Walley

Young Dillinger (1965)

Nick Adams, Robert Conrad, and John AshleyHelen Stephens, Dan Terranova, Beverly Powers, Robert Conrad, Nick Adams, Mary Ann Mobley, John Ashley, and Joy Harmon

Images from the Allied Artists release Young Dillinger. LEFT: With Nick Adams as John Dillinger, Robert Conrad as Pretty Boy Floyd, and Ashley as Baby Face Nelson. RIGHT: With Helen Stephens, Dan Terranova, Beverly Powers, Robert Conrad, Nick Adams, Mary Ann Mobley, and Joy Harmon

The Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)

John Ashley and Angelique Pettyjohn

From The Mad Doctor of Blood Island with Angelique Pettyjohn

Beyond Atlantis (1973)

John Ashley and Patrick WayneJohn Ashley, Patrick Wayne, and Sid HaigJohn Ashley, Patrick Wayne, and Sid Haig

From Beyond Atlantis. LEFT: With Patrick Wayne. CENTER and RIGHT: With Patrick Wayne and Sid Haig

Savage Sisters (1974)

John AshleyJohn Ashley

LEFT: All tied up in a scene from Savage Sisters (1974), one of Ashley's last films as an actor. RIGHT: Promotional photo

later years

By 1966, John Ashley's career focus began to move behind the camera. Alongside low budget writer/director Eddie Romero, Ashley produced a string of shocking horror films made mostly in the Philippines, including Beast of the Yellow Night (1971; with Vic Diaz) and Twilight People (1973; with Pat Woodell), in which he acted as well. Ashley also produced, but did not appear in, some of Pam Grier's early 'chicks in chains' films, such as The Big Doll House (1971) and Black Mama, White Mama (1972). From the 1980s through the mid 1990s, John Ashley was producing hit TV shows, including The A Team, The Quest, and Walker, Texas Ranger. Sadly, he passed away from a heart attack on October 3, 1997, at the age of 62. He was survived by two sons.

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Invisible Mom (1997) with Dee Wallace, Russ Tamblyn, Barry Livingston, Stella Stevens, and Brinke Stevens
Sudden Death (1977) with Robert Conrad, Don Stroud, Felton Perry, and Chuck Courtney
Smoke in the Wind (1975) with John Russell, Myron Healey, Walter Brennan, and Lorna Thayer
Black Mamba (1974) with Eddie Garcia
Savage Sisters (1974) with Gloria Hendry, Sig Haig, and Vic Diaz
Beyond Atlantis (1973) with George Nader, Patrick Wayne, Sid Haig, and Vic Diaz
The Twilight People (1972) with Pam Grier and Pat Woodell
Woman Hunt (1972) with Sid Haig and Pat Woodell
Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) with Vic Diaz
Beast of Blood (1971) with Eddie Garcia
Brides of Blood (1968) with Kent Taylor and Beverly Powers
The Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968) with Angelique Pettyjohn
Manila Open City (1968) with Alex Nicol
Hell On Wheels (1967) with Marty Robbins, Gigi Perreau, and Connie Smith
Attack of the Eye Creatures (1965) with Cynthia Hull; directed by Larry Buchanan
Sergeant Deadhead (1965) with Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, Eve Arden, and Donna Loren
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) with Annette Funicello and Jody McCrea
Young Dillinger (1965) with Nick Adams, Robert Conrad, Joy Harmon, Mary Ann Mobley, and Beverly Powers
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley, Jody McCrea, and Donna Loren
Bikini Beach (1964) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Jody McCrea, and Donna Loren
Muscle Beach Party (1964) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Peter Lupus, Jody McCrea, Peter Lorre, and Donna Loren
Beach Party (1963) with Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Jody McCrea, and Yvette Vickers
Hud (1963) with Paul Newman, Patricia Neal, and Whit Bissell
High School Caesar (1960) with Judy Nugent
T-Bird Gang (1959) with Ed Nelson
Hot Rod Gang (1958) with Jody Fair and Doodles Weaver
Suicide Battalion (1958) with Mike Connors
Frankenstein's Daughter (1958) with Sandra Knight and Sally Todd
How to Make a Monster (1958) with Gary Conway
Zero Hour (1957) with Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and Sterling Hayden
Motorcycle Gang (1957) with Steve Terrell, Jean Moorhead, and Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
Dragstrip Girl (1957) with Fay Spain, Steve Terrell, and Frank Gorshin

Straightaway, 1961-1962 ABC TV series. Ashley portrayed Clipper Hamilton. Also starring in the series was Brian Kelly

The Beverly Hillbillies, episode Mr. Universe Muscles In, originally aired October 25, 1967
The Wild, Wild West, episode The Night of the Watery Death, originally aired November 11, 1966
The Beverly Hillbillies, episode The Cat Burglar, originally aired January 26, 1966
Dr. Kildare, episode Night of the Beast, originally aired April 23, 1964
Petticoat Junction, episode Spur Line To Shady Rest, originally aired September 24, 1963
The Beverly Hillbillies, episode Elly Becomes A Secretary, originally aired May 22, 1963
Wagon Train, episode The Abel Weatherly Story, originally aired January 2, 1963
Death Valley Days, episode The Hold-Up Proof Safe, originally aired October 2, 1961
Wagon Train, episode The Amos Gibbon Story, originally aired April 20, 1960
The Millionaire, episode Millionaire Susan Johnson, originally April 5, 1960
The Deputy, episode The Wild Wind, originally aired September 19, 1959
Frontier Doctor, episode Elkton Lake Feud, originally aired May 16, 1959
Jefferson Drum, episode Arrival, originally aired April 25, 1958
Men of Annapolis, episode Blinding Light, originally aired 1957


The Astounding B Monster: Remembering John Ashley
A nice tribute to John Ashley written by Fred Olen Ray.

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Watch John Ashley's 1960 juvenile delinquent flick High School Caesar
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This page premiered August 21, 2001.