Among the unforgettable scenes of the cinema of the 80s, the one that starred Kelly LeBrock under the watchful eye of Gene Wilder in A red hot girl (1984) has a privileged place. Much more, even, than the film itself. LeBrock is wearing a knee-length boat-neck red silk dress when she walks unsuspectingly over a culvert in a parking lot. The gust of air makes her skirt, barely supported by a black belt, rise and reveal the actress’s underwear. Charlotte, her character, first covers up and quickens her pace, but then she comes back and rehearses, convinced that nobody is looking at her, some sensual movements to the rhythm of “I Just Called To Say I Love You, by Stevie Wonder.
With that already mythical erotic dance, the young actress not only paid homage to Marilyn Monroe and her iconic white dress in The seventh year itch (1955): that sequence, moreover, was enough to record her name in the chapter of the most remembered scenes in the history of cinema and turned her overnight into a true sex symbol. However, her star gradually faded, until she almost completely disappeared from the public scene. What happened to the life of that beautiful model who managed to conquer the world in a red dress?
The “perfect hanger”
Kelly LeBrock was born in New York on March 24, 1960, but grew up in London. Encouraged by her mother and thanks to her particular beauty, at the age of 16 she debuted as a model: very quickly she became one of the most sought-after young women in Europe and her name synonymous with beauty. With the goal of breaking down her own barriers and transcending within the fashion industry, she moved to New York, where she worked hard to become part of Eileen Ford’s prestigious Ford Models agency. She then came the campaigns and the covers of publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue or Cosmopolitan.
Restless and wanting to diversify, shortly after marrying the producer and businessman Víctor Drai, in 1984, she decided to direct her career towards the seventh art. According to a note published by the newspaper The countryher husband’s influences were decisive: it was he who, according to the article, convinced Gene Wilder -director, screenwriter and star of A red hot girl– that LeBrock was the “perfect hanger” to play the lead and wear that memorable dress.
A year after falling in love with his character Charlotte, LeBrock landed in science fiction cinema with mad science (1985), a John Hughes film where two high school students create the perfect woman with a computer in order to lose their fear of dating girls. Lisa, with her diver cut above the navel, her blue bikini and a perm worthy of that time, finished consolidating LeBrock as a worldwide sex symbol. However, the cost of fame, some bad work experiences and her personal life pushed her to disappear from the center of the scene.
a california dream
A year after ending his relationship with Drai and after some fleeting relationships with figures such as Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, LeBrock married Steven Seagal, his then bodyguard and martial arts expert, with whom he had his three children: Annaliza, Dominick and Arissa. During the time that the marriage lasted, the supermodel worked on six more films, one of them Hard to kill, where she shared a poster with her husband. The stormy relationship marked her in such a way that when she separated from her, all she wanted was to get away from her.
In an interview he gave to the portal PageSix In 2021, LeBrock opened up about the torment he experienced with Seagal, who was also accused by several women of sexual assault. “I think he’s a very sad person and it’s what I would call a Hollywood tragedy,” the 61-year-old actress said. “I think he was very bullied as a child, very sick, very weak and I guess people who are treated that way in their childhood end up losing themselves as they get older,” she later analyzed. In 1996 the couple divorced and LeBrock decided to radically change her lifestyle: she moved to a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, southern California.
“Hollywood was not the place where I wanted to raise my children. My divorce was in the press a lot, and I’m just not a Hollywood girl. I’ve never been. I never really liked the attention. I wanted to have dirt on my nails and be outside,” she told Foxs News a few years ago. “ I didn’t want my kids to watch the news, so I just got rid of the television and got my kids out of Los Angeles so they could grow up with real people: the kids of the gas pump attendants, the plumbers, and the people real family, ”he explained in an interview with the DailyMail.
Without hesitation, LeBrock gave up his extravagant life in Beverly Hills and went to the desert, where he lived without television for 25 years. “I did the best I could as a single mom. I have three wonderful children, ”she added, and she confided that reaching fame so young did not do her any good:“ It just caused trauma. Being famous is not for everyone, ”she acknowledged. Since that day, LeBrock participated in some low-budget movies like the mirror (2007), Ten days in a madhouse (2015) and Charlie Boy (2021). In addition, in 2007 she was part of the reality show Hell’s Kitchen.
The B-side of Hollywood
In a talk that LeBrock had with Bert Martínez three years ago and that the same presenter and writer shared on his YouTube channel, the actress recalled the success of her first film jobs. After acknowledging that she still gets a lot of attention for those roles, she opened up, “We had a lot of fun, and I think the movies we made during those years have a quality that we don’t have with movies now.” Immediately, and consulted about her subsequent disappearance, the actress revealed how difficult it was to become a celebrity.
“When I modeled I was a big star in Europe, but when I moved to New York nobody called me for six months. They told me that I was too exotic, that my mouth was too big, that my photographs were too European and that they wanted nothing to do with me. I’m writing a book, I have 27 chapters of some pretty intense stories and I think when it comes out it’s going to be well received because my life was not what people think, “she acknowledged, without sharing more details. “It will come out and I’m sure there will be some people upset about it, but it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” she completed.
Finally, with great sincerity, LeBrock mentioned the roles he would have liked to do and the opportunities he passed up. “ I really wanted to play the role in the Michael Douglas movie, what was that one where the woman comes in and destroys her life? Fatal Attraction. She wanted to do it, but they were worried because she had no experience. the same thing happened to me with Ghostbusters (1984). A red hot girl It hadn’t appeared yet… I think it would have been great to do it. and then i refused beetlejuice (1988), which I think was a mistake, but I’ve always gone by my heart, I’ve never tried to be famous, so it was easy to give that up for my family.”
Since leaving for the country, LeBrock has never returned to the city. At his home in Santa Barbara, he spends his time caring for his animals, planting and growing his own vegetables, making his own homemade cheese, and enjoying the little pleasures of earthly life. When he is interested, he returns to the ring in front of the cameras, but his fame is still something that does not take away his sleep. Nor her love: after a fleeting marriage to businessman Fred Steck, whom she divorced in 2008, she never went through the civil registry again. A little jokingly, a little seriously, on her Instagram account she immortalized her opinion on the matter: “I should have married my horse,” she wrote under a photo where she can be seen kissing the snout of Kiwi, her mare. more famous.