Date of Birth
2 July 1941, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
5' 5" (1.65 m)
She was just one of a myriad of beautiful, statuesque, bikini-clad
blondes who pranced and romped about the sand and surf of the California shores in all those nostalgic beach party movies
of the "swinging '60s". In the great perky tradition of fellow blondes Sandra Dee, Linda Evans, Yvette Mimieux, and the late
Sharon Tate, stunning Chris Noel did what she did best: distract male viewers from some of the silliness around her. However,
she has been less remembered than the aforementioned lovelies, all of whom went on to bigger and better things in their careers.
Chris took an entirely different route altogether. She was born near the water in 1941, albeit a different beach locale--West
Palm Beach, Florida, to be exact. She took the standard route--cheerleader, model, beauty pageant winner--that most gorgeous
girls take when trying to crash Hollywood. The incredibly photogenic teen seemed tailor-made for the camera and, sure enough,
by 1963, she was appearing in her first film, Soldier in the Rain (1963) starring Steve McQueen. After a few other minor efforts,
Chris received her first "Annette Funicello"-like star billing in Beach Ball (1965) opposite Edd Byrnes in the Frankie Avalon
role. But it was the specialty performers--The Supremes, The Four Seasons and The Righteous Brothers--who were noticed in
that flick, not the actors. _Wild, Wild Winter (1966)_ provided Chris a second chance as a lead and she also booked a secondary
femme part in Elvis Presley's Girl Happy (1965), but nothing much came out of them either. Though Chris made appearances in
such TV series as "Perry Mason" (1957), "Bewitched" (1964) and a few Bob Hope specials, she was not satisfied with her career...or
A tour of a VA hospital in 1965 altered her destiny forever.
Based on her minor pin-up celebrity, Chris impulsively auditioned for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) and started hosting her
own radio show for the GIs in Vietnam, frequently flying to that war-torn country and visiting remote areas considered too
risky for Bob Hope's USO shows. She became the GIs' favorite sexy radio and show personality while putting her own life on
the line. As it turned out, Vietnam veterans would become her prime mission and life's work long after the war. In the 1970s
Chris began to suffer from postwar trauma. Any attempt to resurrect her Hollywood career in the 1970s and 1980s would be short-lived
due to her stress, ill health and depression. Moreover, her first husband, a Green Beret captain (they married in Vietnam)
suffering from the same postwar syndrome as Chris, killed himself during the Christmas holiday season of 1969. Chris' two
subsequent marriages also ended in divorce. Persevering, she ventured into the operation of shelters for veterans in Florida
during the 1990s, becoming a durable symbol for those who fought the unpopular fight. Chris Noel--a remarkable, courageous
lady who could have just rested on her laurels as another beautiful Hollywood face, but didn't. She deserves to be remembered
better than she is.
Captain Ty Herrington (January 1969 - December
1969) (his death)
The recipient of the Distinguished Vietnam Veteran
award from the Veterans Network in 1984.
In late 1999, the sometime singer turned out a collection
of songs called "Nashville Impact."
Once a national champion baton twirler.
Once dated singer Jack Jones in 1965 at the height of her
beach party film fame.
Considered the U.S. answer to "Hanoi Hanna," Chris was heard
on the Armed Forces Radio twice a week on a show called, "A Date with Chris."
In 1969 she married a Green Beret captain who proposed to
her in a helicopter. A paratrooper wounded three times during his 18 months in Vietnam, he committed suicide 11 months after
In 1985, she appeared in the movie Cease Fire (1985) with
Don Johnson, which detailed the trauma faced by Vietnam veterans.
Runs Vetsville Cease Fire House, a shelter for homeless vets
Suffered from flashbacks, migraines and stress disorders following
her Vietnam mission.
Was a cheerleader for the New York Giants as a teen.
Twice her helicopter was shot down in Vietnam while singing
and entertaining troops. She was considered so popular and influential, in fact, that the Viet Cong placed a $10,000 bounty
on her head.