A prime pin up attraction (“Miss Body Beautiful”, “Miss Bronx”), auburn-haired Mickey Koren was raised in the East Bronx and began her career as a juvenile model. She moved with her family to California while still in her teens. After attending classes at the Ben Bard Drama academy in Hollywood, Laurie appeared in stage productions in southern California (then using the name Barbara White, following a marriage to trumpet player and magician Larry White). Having segued into motion pictures — beginning with a bit part as a good time girl in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)] — she languished for several years near the bottom of the bill in second features, alternating with marginally better guest spots on TV in anthology dramas and westerns. Though usually typecast as ‘saloon girls’ in often stilted fare, she later recalled “… they were crappy pictures, but I loved it. It was a great, great experience.” A co-starring role in a minor musical comedy aimed at the youth market (Calypso Joe (1957)) began to raise her profile. Taking her sister’s advice, Laurie then changed her hair colour to blond and adopted her new moniker. Thus transformed, she went on to join the circle of cult favorites, commencing her foray into mini-budget schlock sci-fi with Attack of the Puppet People (1958). This was followed with two back-to-back roles in the same genre: first, as a man-hating Venusian despot in the (frankly dreadful) Queen of Outer Space (1958) (in which she goes toe-to-toe with a heavily accented Zsa Zsa Gabor); her second, as a ‘moon girl’ fated to be munched up by a lunar cave spider in (the equally vapid) Missile to the Moon (1958), an inferior re-make of the earlier Cat-Women of the Moon (1953). On a brighter note, there also were small parts in the Billy Wilder classic Some Like It Hot (1959) (as one of Sweet Sue’s band members) and as a showgirl in the Cary Grant-Doris Day rom-com That Touch of Mink (1962).
Laurie retired from the screen in 1971. She divorced White in 1976 and subsequently married a medical salesman, re-emerging from relative obscurity in later years after being “rediscovered” by fans to making the rounds of celebrity expos.
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