What the Hell Happened to Kelly LeBrock?

Kelly LeBrock

Kelly LeBrock

Kelly LeBrock was “the woman in red”.  When Anthony Michael Hall employed weird science to create his idea woman, it was LeBrock who stepped out.  She even had to remind us not to hate her for her beauty.  LeBrock was definitely a model first and an actress second.  But her acting career stalled out following her marriage to a high profile action star.  When that marriage fell apart, LeBrock went into hiding?

What the hell happened?

Kelley Le Brock - Cosmopolitan cover - 1981

Kelley Le Brock – Cosmopolitan cover – 1981

LeBrock was born in New York City but raised in London, England.  She returned to New York at the age of sixteen to pursue her modeling career.  According to LeBrock:

I was 15 and a half when I started modeling. It’s a familiar tale, but I was at a party, and some dirty old man saw me and thought I was pretty. The next thing I knew I was on an airplane to the Seychelles to shoot an advertisement for British Airways. My father got me an agent and quickly, to my surprise, my modeling career took off and I became the new face of ’70’s fashion.

LeBrock’s modeling career took off.  But she found the modeling world to be a dangerous place for a girl her age:

I decided to move out of England to survive the drug scene and thought New York would be a safer place, but I was mistaken.

Kelly LeBrock UK Vogue - 1985

Kelly LeBrock UK Vogue – 1985

The model scene in New York was every bit as treacherous as the one LeBrock had left behind in London:

I did take it too far, and when my weight dropped from 135 to 90 pounds my agent, Eileen Ford, called my mother and said, “You better get over here.” I took my mother to Studio 54 and we danced all night, but she had no idea why I was so energetic.

Back in London I had been sheltered from the real world, but in America I was all alone and this terrified me. In England we were all genuine and nice, then suddenly I went straight to America and it was a foreign land. It was full of dangerous people, and I found it frightening and intimidating.

Kelly LeBorck - Pantene Ad - 1980

Kelly LeBorck – Pantene Ad – 1980

One of LeBrock’s more high profile modeling jobs was for Pantene hair care products.  In the commercial, LeBrock famously asked audiences “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” and a catch-phrase was born.

LeBrock’s nerves almost cost her the job.  She said she was initially too shy to utter the bold tagline.  But once she worked up the courage, she made advertising history.  LeBrock continued working as a Pantene spokeswoman into the mid-nineties.

Kelly Le Brock and Victor Drai

Kelly Le Brock and Victor Drai

In the early 80’s, LeBrock decided to ditch New York and the runway in favor of an acting career in Hollywood:

I didn’t want to get hooked on heroin and die like some of my friends. I decided to change my lifestyle and quit modeling and go to the next obvious thing, movies.

In California, LeBrock met aspiring film producer Victor Drai.  The couple began dating and in 1982 they flew off to Paris together:

We went to Paris, fell in love and rented a bunch of French movies. We saw Pardon Mon Affaire and decided it was a good film to remake in Hollywood.

Next: The Woman in Red and Weird Science


Posted on May 15, 2015, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. This probably beat Chris Tucker’s article with the least amount of pages devoted to her! Will Kelly LeBrock hold that record, or can another future WTHH subject break it in the near future?


  2. First, I was seriously derailed from ever getting past page 2, as the Stevie Wonder song is in the RB Top 100 and I couldn’t play the clip enough times. After people around here got tired of my singing, I looked at the clip more closely. I must watch that movie! Gene Wilder’s expressions are perfect!! He’s got to have one of the most expressive faces in acting.
    OK. So, reading on, while this isn’t one of those articles where Lebeau has had to sift through 80 movies in 40 years of acting, this is someone who added famous lines to pop culture dialogue – because of advertising! How well I remember the “Don’t hate me” line (we all hated her anyway). I am regretful that LeBrock had to live through a lot of victimhood, but it sounds like she kept her kids away from a lot of negatives, and I hope she can find some fulfillment and comfort in middle age. Lord knows it isn’t easy.


    • The Woman in Red isn’t a very good movie. But it’s worth a look. Wilder is good as always. LeBrock is pretty and actually has a good screen presence. Charles Grodin and Gilda Radner are funny in supporting roles. And of course music by Stevie Wonder. But most of the humor falls flat. The whole movie hinges on the idea that adultery is funny. If you don’t find the idea of Wilder going to extreme lengths to cheat on his wife with LeBrock funny, most of the movie doesn’t work.


      • He’s married?


        • Yeah, that doesn’t come across in the clip 🙂


        • I reread my description and realized I omitted that detail. At one point, I specifically mentioned that his character was married but I didn’t like the way it flowed. Apparently I lost it entirely in the rewrite. Oooops.

          The movie is very French. It’s about a middle-aged guy cheating on his loving wife with a complete stranger because she looks good in red panties. Ooo la la.


      • 10 Shocking Nude Scenes In Otherwise Family Friendly Films

        The Woman In Red

        The Family Friendly Film: Not a prequel to The Woman In Black detailing her more risque days, but a Gene Wilder rom com that no one remembers. Remaking the intriguingly named French film An Elephant Can Be Extremely Deceptive, it’s the odd story of a married man becoming obsessed with a woman (Kelly LeBrock) he saw in the street and the hilarious antics he gets up to; accidentally asking out the plain office girl and being mistaken for a man about to commit suicide. Yeah, a little tonally out there, but the rest of Wilder’s back catalog avoids people focusing too much on this one.

        The Shocking Nudity: Released in the censorship days of the BBFC, The Woman In Red got a 15. However, in the US it somehow gained a PG-13, leading to the youngest of children seeing the film. The entire plot is kicked into motion by an odd imitation of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress mishap from The Seven Year Itch, but it’s much later when the nudity pops up. Having finally got into the woman’s apartment, Gene Wilder (and the audience) catch a glimpse not only of LeBrock’s breasts, but her genitals too. Her husband arrives back before it gets any more raunchy, but for the only non-cartoon appearance of genitals on this list, The Woman In Red deserves a high placing.


      • The Mother Brain Files Underrated Actors Special: Charles Grodin

        Then there was 1984’s The Woman in Red, a remake of the French comedy An Elephant Can Be Extremely Deceptive. Cast by his friend and director Gene Wilder, Grodin played the gay best friend of Wilder who cheats on his lover. Though he was not the lead character, Grodin’s performance felt colorful and natural at the same time. He has a scene in the film where Wilder comes to visit him in his empty apartment after his lover leaves him due to his infidelity. He expresses his pain in few words and subtle looks to Wilder. At a time when homosexual characters were portrayed as stereotypes, Grodin gave one of the most realistic portrayals of a gay man on film.



        Since I’m already on a GW nostalgia trip today (due to his passing yesterday), I’m bringing up a film that most people don’t recall, but I consider it one of Gene’s underrated classics (already recommended it to a friend last night, after I got off work and learned of his passing).

        Also co-written and directed by him, this follows Gene Wilder as a middle-aged basket case pining for the “Woman In Red” and begins a cavalcade of misunderstandings and romance screw-ups to get “The One”.

        This was pretty much a remake of “10”, but I find it A LOT funnier: Wilder’s best Woody Allen type without having anything to do with Woody Allen. This was also the film where he and Gilda Radner officially hooked up (they’d remain together until Radner’s passing).

        Check it out and see if it’s streaming near a NetFlix/Redbox near you


  3. I don’t know if this is a fair comparison, but is Kelly LeBrock sort of reminds me of a less accomplished Kim Basinger. Both were ’80s era sex symbols who had jerky husbands (Steven Seagal and Alec Baldwin respectively), allowed their careers to stall during said marriages (although it’s easy to suggest that their domineering husbands had a hand in that), after their marriages ended, they virtually disappeared.


    • Well they both are model turned movie stars turned has been.
      Or at least I think Kim was a model.
      I know she had a short role in a bond movie,and a stint in playboy,while she was still unknown.
      But let’s face it very few women in hollywood i hired for their talent.
      It’s all about looks you can sell


      • Kim Basinger is sort of a more complicated subject when compared to Kelly LeBrock. I don’t want to repeat what I just said, but the point that I’m trying to make is that Basinger has sort of had a really erratic career when compared to LeBrock (who in comparison, only made two noteworthy movies). Basinger still works in movies and didn’t really let her looks go to the crapper as badly as LeBrock, but it’s in mostly stuff that isn’t easily visible (or if it is in a widely released film, Kim Basinger’s presence is essentially treated like an afterthought) to a majority of people. Like w/ Steven Seagal, part of me wonders where Kim Basinger’s career would’ve gone had she not hooked up w/ Alec Baldwin in the early ’90s?


      • Now that I think about it, I wonder if in a sense, Elizabeth Hurley had the career (at least in theory) that Kelly LeBrock could’ve or should’ve had? Granted, as evidence by the nature of this site, things didn’t exactly work out too well for Ms. Hurley either but I kind of get some vague similarities. Both were brunette, incredibly sexy and attractive British women, who had a knack for comedy (I guess, “Austin Powers” could be considered Hurley’s “Weird Science”).


    • Kelly Lebrock: ‘Seagal divorce turned me into a hermit’

      One-time movie pin-up Kelly Lebrock retreated to Santa Barbara, California after her 10-year marriage to Steven Seagal fell apart in the mid-1990s and has lived like a hermit ever since.

      The forgotten model-turned-actress, who starred in cult 1980s films Weird Science and The Woman in Red, has been out of the spotlight for almost two decades but now she’s ready for her close-up again as she prepares to promote an upcoming autobiography.

      Now 53, she tells Britain’s Daily Mail, “When I split with Steven, the divorce was very ugly, and details of the case were on the evening news. I didn’t want my kids seeing it, so I simply got rid of the TV. I moved my kids out of L.A. so they could grow up with real people – the kids of gas pump attendants, plumbers and real family people.”

      LeBrock, who had three kids with the action star, fled Hollywood and set up home in Santa Barbara.

      She adds, “I became a hermit. I had absolutely no self-esteem. I hated myself… I feared everything and didn’t want to leave the house.”

      But she quickly learned to make the most of her new life away from the cameras and started becoming self-sufficient.

      She explains, “I grow all my veggies and make my own cheese and yogurt. It’s bloody exhausting! To work the land full time keeps me so fit that I haven’t worked out in seven years.”


  4. Short and sweet article; whatever difficulties at home or personal problems, Kelly LeBrock did make a mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s hard to say this without sounding unchivalrous but I never found Kelly LeBrock particularly pretty. Far from ugly of course but in my opinion her face has a certain… rectangular blandness as it where. Most modern actresses famed for their beauty have more interesting faces.

    It wouldn’t matter so much but in all the films I’ve seen her in she seems to have been set up as the sex goddess to end all sex goddesses.

    To be fair it might be a period thing. I was born in 1981 so far too young to appreciate her films and fashion and hair obviously moved on.


    • I’ve heard Edward Furlong has had some problems since his initial success. On another note, I think Holly Hunter would be a good subject, since I don’t think much is heard of her nowadays after being pretty big for an extensive period, along with being an Oscar winner.


  6. You really should do Edward Furlong. He had really big movies with Terminator 2 and was in the fucking excellent “American History x” and then, bam! gone. The next I’d heard of him, he was being arrested for freeing lobsters in the grocery store while he was high, and nothing else since.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m intrigued by this. Can you elaborate? I am always tempted to set the lobsters free in grocery stores, but thus far have resisted the impulse. They wouldn’t have anywhere to go?


  8. LeBrock hits #3 on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Sexiest Women of the 1980s


  9. Here’s What The ‘Weird Science’ Cast Has Been Up To, You Little Maniac:

    Kelly LeBrock — Lisa

    Born in New York, then raised in London, LeBrock has only worked sporadically on-screen since Weird Science. Her follow-up role was five years later in Hard to Kill with her then-husband, reggae musician/action star Steven Seagal. Since then, she’s worked occasionally on low-profile productions, with a notable part as Lauren Goodhue alongside Leslie Nielsen in the action parody Wrongfully Accused. She also co-stars in the Nellie Bly biopic 10 Days in a Madhouse, which wrapped production earlier this year.


    • I got some static from commenting on YouTube about Kelly LeBrock. I’ve been called both a “thirsty loser” and an “average-looking man” (hardly; I’m hotter than Keith Carradine). Wow, internet muscles sure are something.


  10. Since the upcoming “Vacation” reboot/reimagining (whatever else you want to call it) is coming up, is it time to prepare for Kelly LeBrock’s “Weird Science” co-star Anthony Michael Hall for a What the Hell Happened to… retrospective? I’m sure that inevitably, just about everybody who was in “The Brat Pack” is due for one:

    My theory is that in the late ’80s, he started playing against type in every way he could. It almost appeared that he would just go to the trouble of getting a part for any movie that wasn’t of a geek, but didn’t really look for actual quality. Most of these movies bombed, and he disappeared for two years to take care of his drinking problem. By then, he had started to push into obscurity, and the damage was done. This could have very well been remedied had deals to be in “Full Metal Jacket” not fallen out.


    • I would love to have a WTHH on Anthony Michael Hall ready for the Weird Science anniversary. But that’s not likely to happen. We have discussed doing something that week. But a WTHH article about Hall probably won’t be part of it. I have a new article underway on another subject and several updates I need to get to.


    • Famous Celebs Who Vanished

      Post by wildojinx on Feb 4, 2016 at 8:27pm
      Anthony Michael Hall. Last I saw him was playing the villain of the week on the short-lived “No Ordinary Family”. I know he was considered a punchline because of the 1985-86 season of SNL, but you’d think he could still get some decent acting gigs (that season didn’t seem to hurt the careers of the other actors from that season, all of whom had steady work post-SNL).


  11. Why Weird Science Pin-Up Kelly LeBrock Left Hollywood:

    Kelly LeBrock left Hollywood not long after ‘Weird Science’ was released 30 years ago this weekend.

    “My children were and are my most important thing and so to say no to Hollywood was very easy,” says the now-55-year-old. “I didn’t care about being famous. I’d already done that with modelling. I always said I could never go back to my kids, but I could always go back to my films.”

    It must have annoyed her agent no end. The English model-turned-actress had already been a hugely successful cover star after being scouted as a teenager and had hit comedy ‘Woman in Red’ with Gene Wilder, as well as John Hughes’s ‘Weird Science’ under her belt.

    In quitting the scene, she turned down starring roles in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ – as well as the lead in ‘Carry on Emmannuelle’ – only occasionally popping up in films like ‘Hard to Kill’, which she did as a favor to then-husband Steven Seagal. “I call ‘Hard to Kill’ Hard to Watch or Hard to Believe,” she says now.

    LeBrock’s bitter and acrimonious split from the action star, which she has said involved some awful abuse, only solidified her intention to remain outside the movie bubble on a ranch in Northern California.

    “My [three] kids have been raised in the middle of nowhere, we were home every night and I made a meal most nights,” she says. “They’re very normal, I put them in school with the plumbers and electricians.”

    Still, despite growing up a shy student at an all-girls boarding school in England, LeBrock had always loved being on-stage.

    Having married movie producer Victor Drai in 1984, she took the lead in his remake of French flick ‘Pardon Mon Affaire’, renamed ‘Woman in Red’, in which she emulated Marilyn Monroe’s famous skirt-blowing opposite Gene Wilder.

    ‘Weird Science’ came in 1985, a wish-fulfillment comedy in which two nerds create the perfect woman on a computer.

    “I had actually turned down ‘Weird Science’ initially because I was in the South of France with Sting,” she reveals. “I was with my first husband, he was doing a movie there. I was like, ‘work or play with Sting?’ and I decided not to work.”

    But Hughes persisted.

    “They gave the role to somebody else, but three weeks into filming they had to dismiss her because she wasn’t right for the role,” LeBrock explains. “They called me and within a couple of hours I was on a plane from France to Chicago.

    “They were in really big trouble. They’d filmed for three weeks with someone and they couldn’t use any of the footage. We didn’t even time to change the wardrobe and she had a completely different body type to me. They had to slice the clothing in the back to let my body fit into it.”

    Co-starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith and a young Robert Downey Jr. (“He was a little s**t, he was definitely a little bit different.”), the movie really caught fire on VHS.

    “It did well, but it didn’t have the opening my first film ‘Woman in Red’ did,” says LeBrock. “I don’t think they promoted it very well, but it’s gone on to be a cult film.”

    The comedy was in cinemas when she met Seagal and she quickly became pregnant.

    She’s both funny and sanguine about her ex now, who she divorced in 1996 after nine years of marriage.

    “Who? Who?” she jokes when asked about the ‘Under Siege’ star, adding, “I am onward, I am forward, I’ve forgiven and I’ve forgotten. I’m actually helping a lot of people with abuse. I’ve just been asked to speak at Princetown [about it]. I’m going to go out and make a difference.”

    Having raised her family – her three children are all now in their 20s and only youngest daughter Arissa is thinking about following in her parents’ acting footsteps – she has made her way quietly back onto the screen again, appearing in everything from reality series ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ (below) and ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ to this year’s ’10 Days in a Madhouse’ which co-stars Christopher Lambert.

    “It did very nicely at the Cannes Film Festival recently,” she says of the latter, in which she plays a cruel nurse at a mental institution. “If you sneeze you’ll miss my role, but it’s an integral part and I was very well-noticed. Now I care about my career and I’d like to get it back and I’m going to get noticed as an actor and I’d like to get an award one day.”

    She recently re-connected with her ‘Weird Science’ co-stars at an autograph-signing event and Hall stayed at her ranch, where “I slaughter my own animals, I grow my own vegetables and make my own cheese.”

    She still misses England. “It’s in my veins,” she says, admitting that she gets annoyed when customs officers think she’s an American. “I was just in New York and I went to a place that sells English food and bought myself some English bangers and had a nice sausage sandwich and a cup of tea.”

    Is she surprised we’re still talking about ‘Weird Science’ 30 years later?

    “I look back on it with enormous fondness,” she says. “John Hughes knew how to touch the hearts of every teenager out there. The world has changed so much in 30 years, but I’m honored I still look like myself, I’m a little more wrinkly, but I’m very proud to be around after all this time.”

    So one last very important question: do Lisa and Wyatt have sex off-camera in the movie?

    “F*** no! That would be disgusting,” she cries. “When we had to do that kissing scene, he stuck his tongue down my throat and every hair on the back of my spine went up. When John Hughes called cut, I said to [Ilan Mitchell-Smith], ‘if you ever do that again I’m going to pull your tongue out.’ It was very disturbing.”

    “Still,” she says, ‘they’ll always be my boys.”


  12. Weird Science star Kelly Le Brock is coming to Shameless:

    She’ll recur as a woman from Frank’s teenage past who’s Sammi’s mom.


  13. When I posted this to Kelly LeBrock’s Facebook page, Kelly herself actually liked the article. So I guess she isn’t “that offended” (a la Sean Young):


    • Awesome. LeBrock seemed cool. I figured there was a pretty good likelihood she knew about the article. It’s currently pretty high on her Google results.


      • Then again, I the other day, found out that Kelly LeBrock blocked me on Twitter (presumably over me tweeting this article about her to her):


        • What personally pisses me off is that I didn’t write that, I just tried to tip her off about this “career retrospective”! If you want to be upset w/ somebody get upset w/ LeBeau! ;). Maybe Kelly was upset in particular over the (not too flattering) portions about her nasty marriage to Steven Seagal, her substance abuse issues, and her weight gain.

          I’ve told stories before about how Kim Basinger’s daughter and Ashley Judd (in response to Mira Sorvino, not her own WTHHT as far as I can remember) got upset w/ me on Twitter in regards to this blog.

          Maybe I’m simply following the credo of “Don’t blame the messenger. Maybe, I’m looking at things from the perspective of an “it’s 100% negative, we’re just wondering why you weren’t in more stuff”.


    • Wow, that really is great to see; when I saw an interview with her some time back, she sounded like she had perspective on how everything played out and seemed very fulfilling overall. With Sean Young, I think she’s just naturally defensive and touchy (I actually can relate a little).


  14. John Hughes Films: Ranked From Worst To Best:

    Weird Science

    From my heart and from my hand why don’t people understand intention? Weird Science!
    The majority of Hughes’ films have not, erm, aged well, at least from an aesthetic point of view (the same can be said for a great deal of 80s films). The technology, the music, the BIG HAIR…it’s all so wonderfully…’of its time’. Never is that as evident as in Weird Science, which concerns two hapless nerds and their attempts to create the perfect woman via their computer.

    It’s cheesy, the premise is ridiculous and its nowhere near as polished as some of Hughes’ other films, but it’s oh so much fun to watch. It’s a little rough around the edges, sure, but you cannot help but enjoy Kelly Lebrock’s “Mary Poppins with breasts” routine or Michael Anthony Hall trying to fit in at a black dive bar or Bill Baxton’s overbearing older brother schtick?

    It’s a film of stand-out moments and performances, rather than a cohesive whole and has rightfully become something of a cult classic. Cracking theme song, too.


  15. Don’t forget a photo gallery!


  16. And to think my mom and I were living with her and Victor back then in 82″ What great and crazy memories! She was a wonderful, sweet and beautiful person. My first year in the USA and she was so helpful with us. I think she left a great impact in the movie industry and will be remembered as an icon!


  17. “Weird Science” star Kelly LeBrock joins @bastilledan for #GoodGrief performance on “Ellen”


  18. Weird Science (1985) : Kelly LeBrock is the entire movie!

    I watched this guilty pleasure of my youth once again. Not only was Kelly LeBrock one of the hottest women of the 80s, she has incredible on-screen charisma that only she could bring to Weird Science. This movie would have been just another crappy teen movie from the 80s if some other model babe played Lisa.

    One of the sad things about getting older is the sex symbols from your youth are also aging.

    Sun Feb 21 2016 11:52:37

    You are so right, she really made the whole movie. Not just her beauty, but also her charisma and charm. Many models can’t act, i.e. picture Christie Brinkley in Vacation…. but Kelly LeBrock was special!

    Mon May 2 2016 19:19:59

    Her drop dead gorgeous looks aside, she honestly gives a fleshed out, thoroughly impressive performance. Besides being full of charisma and wit, her delivery is effortless and she just seems so at ease. And while the movie DOES have some other memorable things in it, LeBrock easily owns the movie.

    Sun Jul 3 2016 22:48:37

    Oh, hell yes. Yes, she was ridiculously hot in this movie (that face! those eyes! those lips!), but waaaay beyond that was her charisma. She really tugged it off. Oops, I mean pulled it off.


  19. Like

  20. Bill Paxton: 5 Awesome Performances (And Five That Sucked)

    5 Awesome Performances

    Chet – Weird Science (1985)

    Though he’s ludicrously funny in a handful of films, you never really hear people talk about Paxton as a comedic talent.

    That’s probably due to the fact that his two most famous roles, or the roles the general public will know him for – Twister and Titanic – are light on laughs, but dig a little deeper into his catalogue of films and you’ll find that humour is one of his more underappreciated traits.

    Possibly his funniest role came in John Hughes’ Weird Science. As Chet Donnelly – protagonist Wyatt’s older brother – he slipped into the role of ‘douchebag elder sibling’ perfectly, delivering quotable insult after quotable insult, managing to transform into a complete jerk while still remaining likable.

    Perhaps out of fear of being typecast, Paxton stepped away from roles like this in the future, but it was Weird Science that helped him refine those comedic chops that he’d put to good use as his career progressed.


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