Society
Society

Identity Of LA Billboard Icon 'Angelyne' Revealed (Photos)

| by Michael Howard

The identity of Angelyne, the Los Angeles pop culture icon who blazed the trail for modern day tabloid celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, has finally been revealed.

Angelyine, who appeared on billboards around the city and drove a pink corvette, was born Renee Goldberg to Polish holocaust survivors, according to an expose by Gary Baum for The Hollywood Reporter.

The information came from an unidentified man who described himself as an amateur genealogist. The Hollywood Reporter was able to independently verify the information by consulting public records and speaking to family members.

She was reportedly born in Poland on Oct. 2, 1950. Her parents, Hendrik Goldberg and Bronia Zernicka, were Polish Jews who met in the Chmielnik ghetto during World War II. They both spent time in a series of Nazi concentration and slave labor camps, including the notorious Buchenwald.

Henrik and Bronia were married in Germany shortly after the war. After being repatriated to Poland and giving birth to Renee, they immigrated to Israel, where they lived in an orthodox community of Hasidic Jews.

In 1959, the Goldbergs took a ship to America and landed in New York, eventually settling in Los Angeles, where Henrik worked as a mechanic. In 1965, when Renee was 14 years old, Bronia died of cancer at the age of 44.

Hendrik changed his name to Henry, married another holocaust survivor and moved to Panorama City. That's where Renee attended high school.

Years later, Renee married the Jewish son of a Beverly Hills executive. They lived together in Hollywood until their divorce in 1969, at which point Renee embarked on a new life of glamor and fame.

Before long, she had a new personality: Angelyne, the glitzy blonde who epitomized Los Angeles celebrity culture. Her IMDB page lists 13 acting credits, beginning in 1974. Her roles included "Busty Lady" in 1979's "The Frisco Kid," and "Gas Girl" in 1988's "Earth Girls Are Easy."

When interviewed by Baum in 2015, Angelyne described herself as an orphan and refused to discuss her childhood.

"I lost my parents at a young age, and because of that, I sought the attention of the world through my tricks," she said at the time. "I said, 'Well, I'm going to get the love of the world.'"

On the subject of religion, Angelyne was evasive.

"I've tried them all -- Jewish, Catholic, Hindu," she said. "Too many dogmas."

After learning her true identity, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Angelyne's ex-husband, Michael Strauss, who explained that there were never any hard feelings between them. He recalled that Angelyne "never considered herself Jewish" and refused to speak about her mother.

"She'd never talk about her mother -- ever, ever, ever," he told Baum. "It was a subject that couldn't be brought up. If I brought it up, it was shut down."

Strauss added that, in his view, Angelyne always sold herself short.

"As an entrepreneur, I was sad that she wasn't ever able to be more [financially] successful," he said. "Why didn't she take it farther? Why not a TV show? She invented this marvelous, crazy, out-of-this-world character but couldn't fully sell it. I was always a Renee-rooter: 'Come on, girl, take it to the next level!' But she only had the capacity to take it so far."

Angelyne's legal name remained Renee Goldberg until 2016, when she officially changed it to Angelyne Llyne. When asked to state the reason behind the name change, she simply wrote: "This is my stage name that I use and have used since 1978."

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, IMDB / Featured Image: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Michael Strauss via The Hollywood Reporter, WENN.com via dlisted, Larry Lombardi via Out Traveler

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