Chris Noel
Chris Noel on the Armed Forces Radio show, "A Date with Chris". Chris Noel had her own radio during the Vietnam War.
Born (1941-07-02) July 2, 1941 (age 80)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesSandee Noel, Sandra Louise Noel, Miss Christmas (by Troops), The Voice of Vietnam, America's answer to Hanoi Hannah, the next Marilyn Monroe
OccupationActress, radio show host on American Forces Network, cover girl, cheerleader, author, singer, USO entertainer and executive director of a vetran's home.
Years active1963–2010
Known forGirl Happy, Wild Wild Winter, USO tours and The Tormentors
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Spouse(s)
Ty Herrington
(m. 1969, died)
Websitevetsville.us
Chris Noel in Vietnam
Chris Noel in Vietnam
Chris Noel in Vietnam on Huey helicopter ride in 1968, two times her chopper was downed by enemy fire
Chris Noel in Vietnam on Huey helicopter ride in 1968, two times her chopper was downed by enemy fire

“I always said I was like a rock pillar. I had to be strong for these guys and never break down and show I was scared or tired.” “No matter what happened, I stayed bubbly. Miss Sunshine. Miss Christmas.” -- “I was the last female voice they (soldiers killed in Vietnam) hear or the last American women or girl they saw." -- Chris Noel [1]

“I’m no propagandist, I’m just a girl who’s trying to make the men she loves happy. You see, I’m in love with half a million men—all our American troops in Vietnam.” Chris Noel [2]

Chris Noel, Sandra Louise Noel, is a retired American actress and entertainer.[3] Noel is best known for her appearances in beach party movies in the 1960s,[3] and for her work on the Armed Forces Radio And Television Service as the "Voice of Vietnam".[4] A popular pin-up girl of the era,[5] Noel made frequent visits to troops, and was at risk many times, she was shot down two times in the helicopters she was riding.[6] She hosted the radio program A Date With Chris, one of Armed Forces Radio's most popular shows.[7][8][9]

Model

Noel's picture appeared on the cover of Good Housekeeping magazine when she was 16 years old, and she was painted as a pin-up model by Gil Elvgren. Won Miss Palm Beach. After moving to New York City became a cheerleader for the New York Giants football team. Posters that showed her holding a Kodak Brownie camera were displayed in camera stores. She also had her own modeling school in Lake Park, Florida.[10] Noel was the cover girls for a number of magazines and appeared in advertising for Ford Mustang and other products.[11][12]

Vietnam

In addition to her work on radio during the Vietnam War, she toured the country eight times, including twice with Bob Hope's USO tours. Her interest in that war's military personnel began with her visit to a San Francisco VA hospital in 1965. At the VA hospital, she sang the song Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend and talk to the Vets. [13]She said, "That was the moment. I prayed to God to help me help young men in war. She was considered so valuable to American military morale, that the enemy placed a $10,000 bounty on her. [14]Noel opened the show with the greeting "Hi, Love". Twice her chopper was downed by enemy fire while she was visiting American military personnel in Vietnam. Her radio show A Date with Chris was recorded in California and Vietnam between 1966 and 1971 for the Armed Forces Radio heard on 300 stations around the world. [15] Noel was the DJ for her show and did interviews with artists including Ray Charles, Lawrence Welk, Robert Mitchum, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Sinatra and others. Noel received the Distinguished Vietnam Veteran award in 1984 from the Veterans Network for her work during the war. [16]Her last visit to Vietnam was in 1969. Noel first co-hosted an Armed Forces Radio show called Small World. This show was a hit and she received her own show, she was dating singer Jack Jones at the time. Noel sang, danced, read poetry, signed autographs, talk to, kissed and hugged the Troop in Vietnam from 1966 to 1970.[17] [18][19]She is the only female to travel through Vietnam to remote bases in helicopters, riding with the door open, next to the gunner.[20] She survived moror and assault rifle attacks in war zones. Noel broadcast her radio show from Saigon when in Vietnam. Noel also made a number of visits troops at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, some with Betty Waldron and Bill Thrasher.[21][22][23][24]

Singer

In the early 1970s, Noel was in New York and was working with Paul Colby, impresario and owner of the famous Greenwich Village club, The Bitter End. Noel was performing cover songs by John Prine and needed a backup band. Paul asked Dennis Lepri, who had worked with Kenny Rogers and Gunhill Road, to form a band for her and produce her sound. After auditioning many New York area musicians, the band "Quilt" was formed. After extensive rehearsals at the Bitter End, the band showcased for selected industry executives to mixed reviews. Sometime after, the band was dissolved and Noel pursued other interests. In 1999 she released the CD Nashville Impact.[25]

Personal life

Following his proposal in a helicopter, Noel wed soldier Green Beret captain Ty Herrington, whom she later found out was diagnosed as a "paranoid schizophrenic manic-depressive".[21][26][10] He killed himself in December 1969 after they had been married for 11 months. She went on to marry three more times, once to a Texan independent oil producer, another to a guy she met in church, and last to a lawyer. Noel also has written books, her latest book is about filming Cease Fire with Don Johnson. Another book is a 1987 book called Matter of Survival: The "War" Jane Never Saw and the 2011 book, Vietnam And Me her personal memoir of the war. In the 1960s her best friend was Eileen O’Neill and she dated Chad Everett.[10][27][28] Chris Noel was asked and attended the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC in 1982.[29][30] Noel and Captain Ty Herrington, (Clyde Berkley) born July 2 1941, were married on January 11, 1969 in Miami.[31] Ty Herrington released a 45 RPM promo single, with the songs: A Gun Don't Make A Man written by Boudleaux & Felice Bryant and When The Green Berets Come Home written by Boudleaux Bryant in 1968.[32][33]

“I didn’t know how many people were going to remember me,” she said. “But everywhere I went veterans came up to me and thanked me. It felt like I was right back in Vietnam again.”

Noel founded the Women's Interactive Network in 1985 to help women with Post-traumatic stress disorder. In 1993, she opened a shelter in Boynton Beach, Florida, providing space for 10–12 drug-free veterans at a time. In 2019 she received Amvets Silver Helmet Award.[10][34]

In 2004 a DVD documentary of her life was released Blonde Bombshell: The Incredible True Story of Chris Noel.[35]

In May 2022 Noel was Awarded the Heroes Honor Lifetime Award at the Heroes Honor Festival.[36]

Los Angeles Veterans Hospital

Some Veterans in 1981 went on a hunger strike at the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, to get better treatment. The Reagan administration asked Noel to help in communication with Veterans. Noel helped negotiate an end to the hunger strike.[37]

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Vietnam Veterans of America, other groups and individuals are petitioning for Chris Noel to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her lifelong work with troops and veterans. Also for being shot down in an army helicopter two times over Vietnam, which with surviving assault attacks in the war caused Post-traumatic stress disorder.[38]

Film and TV

Marine Corps Toys for Tots and Chris Noel in 1966
Marine Corps Toys for Tots and Chris Noel in 1966

Noel began acting started in 1963 on stage in the Broadway play Mister Roberts with Hugh O'Brian, her boyfriend at the time. Also in the Mister Roberts play was Will Hutchins, Vincent Gardenia, Tony Mordente, Alan Yorke, Vince O'Brien, Bill Fletcher, John J. Martin, directed by Billy Matthews. Noel acting in film started with a role in Soldier in the Rain, with Steve McQueen and included working with Elvis Presley in Girl Happy. She also was in Beach Ball with Edd Byrnes, and Cease Fire with Don Johnson.[39][40][41]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1963 Soldier in the Rain Frances McCoy With Steve McQueen [42]
1964 Honeymoon Hotel Nancy Penrose With Robert Goulet
Looking for Love Actress Uncredited
Diary of a Bachelor Bachelorette With Mary Ann Mobley
Get Yourself a College Girl Sue Ann Mobley
1965 Girl Happy Betsy With Elvis Presley[43]
Joy in the Morning Mary Ellen Kincaid With Richard Chamberlain
Beach Ball Susan With Edd Byrnes
1966 Wild Wild Winter Susan With Gary Clarke
Good Old Days Pantha Pilot about cavemen and women
1967 The Glory Stompers Chris With Dennis Hopper
1968 For Singles Only Lily With John Saxon
1971 The Tormentors Eve Theatrical movie[44]
1980 Detour to Terror Peggy Cameron TV movie
1981 Fly Away Home Herself TV Movie, Special Thanks (based on her radio broadcasts in Vietnam)
1985 Cease Fire Wendy With Don Johnson
1986 Sin of Innocence Wedding Guest #5 TV movie

Television

Year Title Role Episode(s)
1963 The Eleventh Hour Evelyn "Try to Keep Alive Until Next Tuesday"
Bob Hope Comedy Special Herself A 1963 TV Special
The Steve Allen Show Herself With Dorothy Lamour and Woody Allen
1964 The Lieutenant Ginny "Between Music and Laughter"[45]
Bewitched Susan "Love Is Blind"
Hollywood and the Stars Herself Teenage Idols, Part 2
21st Golden Globe Awards Herself TV Special
1965 Burke's Law Miss Larchmont / Patience Stevens 2 episodes[46]
The Smothers Brothers Show Claudia "I Wouldn't Miss My Own Funeral for Anything"
Perry Mason Susan Wolfe "The Case of the Silent Six"
My Three Sons Margie "Marriage and Stuff"[47]
American Bandstand Herself Interview Chris Noel[48]
My Mother the Car Helen "Many Happy No-Returns"[49]
1966 Occasional Wife Marilyn TV Show Pilot[50]
Bob Hope Comedy Special Herself TV Special, Bob Hope’s 25th Anniversary show
Pistols 'n' Petticoats Lucy Hanks TV Show Pilot, one episode[51]
1967 Password Herself March 1967 with Roger Smith[52]
Bob Hope Comedy Special Herself A 1967 TV Special
The Hollywood Palace Herself February 25, 1967 TV show [53]
What's My Line? Herself Chris Noel, Feb 5, 1967 TV Show[54]
Dream Girl of '67 Herself Fashion Hostess DJ Miss Chris Noel
The Joey Bishop Show Herself Talk show
1968 The Pat Boone Show Herself 2 Episode
The Mike Douglas Show Herself Episode #7
1969 Celebrity Bowling Herself
1980 Wild Times Dolly "Episode #1.1" TV Mini Series[55]
1981 CHiPs Karen "11–99: Officer Needs Help"
1989 B.L. Stryker Mrs. Tevander "Blues for Buder"
China Beach Herself "Vets"[56]
2002 The Definitive Elvis: The Hollywood Years-Part II: 1962–1969 Herself Documentary[57]
2012 Memories from our Military Herself Documentary, Episode #3, Chris Noel in Vietnam[58]
2015 Miller Beer Far East Tour Vietnam War Uso Tour Herself Tour with Bhetty Waldron and Bill Thrasher, TV Documentary[59][60]

Books

Books by Chris Noel:

Broadway

Music

See also

References

  1. ^ Fallen Heroes Project, Chris Noel
  2. ^ A Date with Chris, by Chirs Noel
  3. ^ a b Eyman, Scott. "The surprising life of Palm Beach's pin-up girl". The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on December 24, 2020.
  4. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (May 20, 2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition [4 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ISBN 9781851099610.
  5. ^ Hamilton, E. M. (2006). My Vietnam Journal: In the Rear with the Gear. ISBN 9781412093170.
  6. ^ Leon, Harmon. "54 Rare Historical Photos That Took It Way Too Far". History Daily.
  7. ^ Noel, Chris (January 1987). Matter of Survival: The "war" Jane Never Saw. ISBN 9780828319034.
  8. ^ leatherneck.com, Miss Christmas
  9. ^ News on 5, Chris Noel, Jun 30, 2008
  10. ^ a b c d "Visit to a VA hospital led to 8 tours of Vietnam". The Palm Beach Post. July 29, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2019.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ youtube.com Chris Noel at the beach. Classic cars 1967 '68
  12. ^ famousfix.com, Chris Noel - Cine Revue Magazine Pictorial, France, 26 September 1968
  13. ^ afvnvets.net, A Date With Chris, show audio
  14. ^ sixtiescinema.com Chris Noel, A Salute To Chris Noel & Other 60s Starlets Who Went To Vietnam, By Tom Lisanti November 11, 2017
  15. ^ youtube.com, A DATE WITH CHRIS - 1967 Chris Noel Radio Program
  16. ^ youtube.com, Chris in Vietnam
  17. ^ youtube.com, Chris Noel sings "Sunny" to troops in Vietnam
  18. ^ Chris Noel signed autographs
  19. ^ youtube.com, Chris Noel in Vietnam
  20. ^ youtube.com, Chris Noel singing grovy in Vietnam
  21. ^ a b "The Vietnam Interview: A Date with Chris Noel". historynet.com.
  22. ^ "Keeping a Date with Chris Noel". historynet.com.
  23. ^ AFR, Date with Chris
  24. ^ Ktroop, Chris Noel
  25. ^ Billboard, May 11, 1968, Chris Noel, page 12
  26. ^ Gary, Claudia; Zabecki, David T. (June 12, 2008). "The Vietnam Interview: A Date with Chris Noel". HistoryNet. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema, by Tom Lisanti, Screen Stories, Movieland
  28. ^ The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool by Chris Strodder, page 239
  29. ^ Chris Noel — The Starlet Who Became a Soldier, by Donna Teresa, February 10, 2009
  30. ^ youtube.com, Chris Noel interview on WFDU July, 2013
  31. ^ myheritage.com aptain Ty Herrington
  32. ^ https://www.discogs.com/release/11732244-Capt-Ty-Herrington-US-Special-Forces-Green-Berets-A-Gun-Dont-Make-A-Man-When-The-Green-Berets-Come-H discogs.com Ty Herrington]
  33. ^ youtube.com When The Green Berets Come Home--Capt Ty Herrington US Special Forces Green Berets-'68-Monument 1115
  34. ^ usawarriorstories.org, Christ Noel
  35. ^ Why the Beach Boys Matter, By Tom Smucker, page 172
  36. ^ heroeshonorfestival.com, Chris Noel
  37. ^ heroeshonorfestival.com, Chris Noel
  38. ^ Petition for Chris Noel to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  39. ^ Petitioning President of the United States, Award The Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miss Chris Noel, From: Deanna Hopkins, Widow of a Vietnam Veteran.
  40. ^ Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969,page 402
  41. ^ Elvis Women, Chris Noel
  42. ^ youtube.com, Soldier in the Rain
  43. ^ youtube.com Chirs Noel and Elvis Presley
  44. ^ imdb.com, The Tormentors
  45. ^ youtube.com The Lieutenant, Between Music and Laughter
  46. ^ youtube.com Burke's Law
  47. ^ youtube.com My Three Sons, Marriage and Stuff
  48. ^ youtube.com, American Bandstand
  49. ^ youtube.com My Mother the Car, "Many Happy No-Returns
  50. ^ youtube.com Occasional Wife
  51. ^ imdb.com Pistols 'n' Petticoats
  52. ^ youtube.com, Password March 1967
  53. ^ youtube.com The Hollywood Palace
  54. ^ youtube.com, What's My Line? Chris Noel
  55. ^ imdb.com, Wild Times
  56. ^ youtube.com, China Beach, Chirs Noel
  57. ^ imdb.com The Definitive Elvis: The Hollywood Years-Part II: 1962–1969
  58. ^ youtube.com, Episode #3, Chris Noel in Vietnam
  59. ^ youtube.com, Miller Beer Far East Tour Vietnam War Uso Tour
  60. ^ archive.org, Miller Beer Far East Tour
  61. ^ discogs.com, Doll House
  62. ^ youtube.com, Doll House, Chris Noel
  63. ^ allmusic.com, Forgotten Man
  64. ^ youtube.com, Forgotten Man, Chris Noel, Jul 7, 2008
  65. ^ Forgotten Man, By Chris Noel
  66. ^ Chris Noel, By G M, February 10, 2009
  67. ^ discogs.com, Next Stop Is Vietnam