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 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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

John Ashley

From AIP's Beach Party

Muscle Beach Party (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

John Ashley

Promotional photo from Bikini Beach

Sergeant Dead Head (1965) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Frankie Avalon, Harvey Lembeck, and John Ashley

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

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

John Ashley and Angelique Pettyjohn

From The Mad Doctor of Blood Island with Angelique Pettyjohn

Beyond Atlantis (1973) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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.

john ashley films available from movies unlimited

Find your movie at

The Wild Wild West: The Second Season [DVD](1966) DVD
All 28 episodes from season two (the first in color)--including "The Night of the Eccentrics," "The Night of the Raven," "The Night of the Poisonous Posey," "The Night of the Brain," and "The Night of the Bogus Bandits"--are collected in a seven-disc set. 24 1/4 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.

How To Make A Monster (1958)/Blood Of Dracula (1957) [DVD] DVD
Art imitates life in "How to Make a Monster," as a film studio make-up artist is axed when the execs decide horror films are passe. He gets revenge by drugging two actors, making them up as his greatest creations (A.I.P.'s own Teenage Werewolf and Frankenstein), and sending them to kill the short-sighted moguls! Robert H. Harris, Gary Clarke, Gary Conway star. Then, a girls' boarding school student is transformed into a bushy-eyebrowed bloodsucker after being hypnotized by her headmistress, in "Blood of Dracula," A.I.P.'s distaff answer to its "teenage monster" flicks. Sandra Harrison, Louise Lewis and Gail Ganley star. 144 min. total. Soundtrack: English.
Cult Camp Classics, Vol. 3: Terrorized Travelers [DVD] DVD
Three-disc set includes "Zero Hour!" (1957), "Hot Rods to Hell" and "Skyjacked."
Frankenstein's Daughter [DVD](1958) DVD
Oliver Frankenstein carries on the family tradition by creating a monster with half a face (the other half is melting away) and by experimenting with drugs on a young girl who transforms into a grotesque creature. John Ashley, Sally Todd, Harold Lloyd, Jr. star. 85 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; photo gallery; theatrical trailer.
High School Caesar [DVD](1960) DVD
John Ashley is the teenage crime boss who "had more rackets than Al Capone" in this classic J.D. drama of high school protection rackets, hot rod races and gang rumbles. With Lowell Brown, Judy Nugent. 75 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English mono. Plays All Regions.
High School Big Shot (1958)/High School Caesar (1960)/Date Bait [DVD](1960) DVD
It's troubled teens galore in this "JD drama" triple bill. First, brainy student Marvin must deal with bullies, a back-stabbing cutie, and his loser dad's financial woes, as he gets wrapped up in criminal activities involving stolen loot and safecrackers, in "High School Big Shot." Tom Pittman, Virginia Alexander and Stanley Adams star. Next, John Ashley is the youth "who had more rackets than Al Capone," in a tale of classroom capers and gang rumbles. Judy Nugent co-stars. Finally, two young hepcats want to get hitched, but their folks tell them "no," in "Date Bait," with Gary Clarke and Marlo Ryan. 173 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; art gallery; theatrical trailers.
Beach Party (1963)/Bikini Beach [DVD](1964) DVD
The first entry in A.I.P.'s surfside slapstick series, "Beach Party" stars Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as fun-loving teens who become the subject of anthropologist Bob Cummings' research into adolescent mating rituals. With Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, Dick Dale and The Del-Tones, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Next, Frankie plays himself and mop-topped British pop idol the Potato Bug (get it?)--and both are vying for Annette's attention--in "Bikini Beach," co-starring Don Rickles, Keenan Wynn, Little Stevie Wonder, and Boris Karloff. 198 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
Frankie & Annette: M-G-M Movie Legends Collection [DVD] DVD
"Surf's up" in this four-disc boxed set saluting AIP's teen comedy series and seaside sweethearts Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Anthropologist Bob Cummings uses the pair as part of a study of modern mating habits in the original "Beach Party" (1963), with Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Annette has her hands full when the Potato Bug, a British pop star who's Frankie's double, arrives at "Bikini Beach" (1964). Don Rickles and Little Stevie Wonder guest star. Gym owner Rickles wants to take over the kids' surf spot, and heiress Luciana Paluzzi wants to woo Frankie from Annette, in "Muscle Beach Party" (1964). Avalon trades his board for slats and joins Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley and James Brown for a "Ski Party" (1965). "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965) boasts a missing singer, a mermaid, and skydiving surfdogs. Avalon wants to keep pal Hickman away from Funicello while he's on military duty in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965), with Buster Keaton. Frankie's a moonshine-running hot rodder competing with racer Fabian for Annette's hand in "Fireball 500" (1966). And Fabian and Funicello burn rubber together in "Thunder Alley" (1967). 12 1/2 hrs. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English mono.
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)/How To Stuff A Wild Bikini [DVD](1965) DVD
The "Beach Party" gang is back in a double bill that's packed with more fun than a two-piece bathing suit. "Beach Blanket Bingo," a wild mix about a missing singing star, a mermaid, and biker Eric Von Zipper's gang, features guest stars Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Buster Keaton, and Linda Evans joining series regulars Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon and Harvey Lembeck. Then, while Frankie is away on Army Reserve duty, he gets witch doctor Keaton to send a bikini-clad beauty to keep rival Dwayne Hickman away from Annette, in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." Beverly Adams, Mickey Rooney, and The Kingsmen also star. 192 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
Sergeant Deadhead [DVD](1965) DVD
Lots of the A.I.P. beach movie crowd are on hand for this tune-filled farce starring Frankie Avalon as a hapless sergeant who finds himself accidentally shot into space on a chimp's orbital flight. Though safely retrieved, he's less than happy about it...and the military's got a wacky idea for a cover-up! Deborah Walley, Eve Arden, Cesar Romero, Gale Gordon, and Buster Keaton co-star. 89 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Savage Cinema: 12 Movie Collection [DVD] DVD
Two moonshiner brothers fall for the same girl, in "Hell on Wheels" (1967). Country singers Marty Robbins, Connie Smith star. Bad biker boys, watch out! "The Hellcats" (1967) are here! Dee Duffy, Sharyn Kinzie star. AKA: "Biker Babes." "The Wild Rebels" (1967) follows an ex-stock car racer posing as a getaway driver for thieves. Steve Alaimo, Bobbie Byers star. Who are "The Sidehackers" (1969), and are they nuts? With Ross Hagen, Diane McBain. AKA: "Five the Hard Way." Two "Wild Riders" (1971) flee from their Florida crimes and find two new female victims. With Alex Rocco, Sherry Bain. Karen Black and Fabian are the 1920s bank robbers "Little Laura & Big John" (1973). Co-stars Ken Miller, Ivy Thayer. Two young couples take to the road only to meet with tragedy, in "Best Friends" (1975). Richard Hatch, Susanne Benton star. Walk on the edge with life-risking daredevils in the documentary "Death Riders" (1976). Teen speed racer pooh-poohs dad's advice. Will this lead to his "Burnout" (1979)? Mark Schneider, Bob Louden star. Three-disc set also includes "Dangerous Charter," "The Pink Angels," and "Death Machines." 17 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
Mad Doctor Of Blood Island [DVD](1968) DVD
John Ashley is the crazed Dr. Lorca, conducting plant experiments on a desolate island. He accidentally turns his lab assistant into a blood-drinking monster with Chlorophyll, which leads to a variety of terrifying trouble. Can the beast be stopped? Should it even be? Find out, if you dare! Angelique Pettyjohn, Ronald Remy co-star in this sequel to "Brides of Blood." AKA: "Grave Desires," "Tomb of the Living Dead." 85 min. Soundtrack: English; audio commentary; theatrical trailers. Plays All Regions.
Brides Of Blood [DVD](1968) DVD
When a scientist and his wife land on a remote Pacific island, they discover the natives are more than restless; they're the slaves of a radiation-spawned monster that craves human women. Thrilling first entry in the "Blood Island" film series stars John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn, Ronald Remy. AKA: "Brides of Death," "Brides of the Beast," "Brides of Blood Island," "Danger on Tiki Island," "Orgy of Blood." 92 min. Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Beast Of The Yellow Night (1971)/Keep My Grave Open [DVD](1976) DVD
First, in "Beast of the Yellow Night," a man makes a deal with the devil for power and wealth--only to learn that his arrangement has turned him into a raging monster. John Ashley, Mary Charlotte Wilcox star. Then, in "Keep My Grave Open," a psychotic knife-wielding woman lures unsuspecting victims into her castle of terror. Camilla Carr, Gene Ross, and, in his film debut, Stephen Tobolowsky star. AKA: "The House Where Hell Froze Over." 141 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Twilight People [DVD](1972) DVD
Based on the 1932 horror classic "Island of Lost Souls," this Roger Corman-produced shocker features a mad scientist whose creations include an ape man, antelope man, bat man (no, not that bat man!) and even a tree woman. John Ashley and Jan Merlin star, with Pam Grier as the panther woman. 84 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
Beyond Atlantis [DVD](1973) DVD
Explorers Patrick Wayne and John Ashley discover a fortune in pearls and jewels on a remote island, only to later find the lost land of Atlantis, a beautiful princess and bizarre merman monsters. 90 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; biographies.
Scream Theater [DVD] DVD
Based on the 1932 horror classic "Island of Lost Souls," the Roger Corman-produced shocker "Twilight People" (1972) features a mad scientist whose creations include an ape man, antelope man, bat man, and a tree woman. John Ashley, Pam Grier star. In "Beyond Atlantis" (1973), explorers Patrick Wayne and John Ashley find a fortune in pearls and jewels on a remote island, only to later discover Atlantis, a beautiful princess, and weird mermen monsters. With Leigh Christian, Sid Haig. When a mishap with farm machinery kills his father and mangles his own hand, Matthew has his mitt replaced with a menacing claw which he uses to terrorize anyone foolish enough to get in his way. "Scream Bloody Murder" (1973) stars Fred Holbert, Suzette Hamilton, and Angus Scrimm (billed as Rory Guy). AKA: "The Captive Female," "Claw of Terror," "Matthew." Four-disc set also includes "Beast of the Yellow Night," "The Vampire Happening," "Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires," "Don't Open the Door," "House of the Living Dead," "Alice, Sweet Alice," "Death Game" (1980), "Night Creature" (1978), and "Sisters of Death. 18 hrs. total. Standard/Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
Black Mamba [DVD](1974) DVD
Creepy shot-in-the Philippines effort from the John Ashley-Eddie Garcia team ("Beast of the Yellow Night") tells of a voodoo witch who uses dolls and snakes to steal a child from a widowed woman. Ashley is a doctor who becomes a believer in black magic after he encounters the sorceress face to face. This rarity features extremely gory sequences. With Marlene Clarke, Pilar Pilapil.
Savage Sisters [DVD](1974) DVD
Warring factions are tearing a banana republic island apart for the million-dollar proceeds of the previous regime's treasury, and a guerrilla chieftain's girlfriend (Cheri Caffaro), local rebel leader (Rosanna Ortiz), and secret police interrogator (Gloria Hendry) decide to pool their lethal talents so they can be the ones coming up with the loot. Great babes-behind-bars spectacle from genre maestro Eddie Romero co-stars John Ashley, Sid Haig, Eddie Garcia. 89 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.

john ashley dvds available from

john ashley photos and posters available


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 the Dead (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, Bobbi Shaw, Eve Arden, and Donna Loren
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) with Annette Funicello, Jody McCrea, and Bobbi Shaw
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, Bobbi Shaw, 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.

john ashley film now showing

Watch John Ashley's 1960 juvenile delinquent flick High School Caesar
Back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered August 21, 2001.