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John Ashley
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    (December 25, 1934-October 3, 1997)
    Born in Kansas City, Missouri
    Birth name was John Atchley
    Appeared in the films ‘Dragstrip Girl’ (1957), ‘Motorcycle Gang’ (1957), ‘Zero Hour’ (1957), ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’ (1958), ‘How to Make a Monster’ (1958), ‘High School Caesar’ (1960), ‘Hud’ (1963), ‘Beach Party’ (1963), ‘Muscle Beach Party’ (1964), ‘Bikini Beach’ (1964), ‘The Eye Creatures’ (1965), ‘Sergeant Deadhead’ (1965),’Beach Blanket Bingo’ (1965), ‘How to Stuff a Wild Bikini’ (1965), ‘Young Dillinger’ (1965),’Hell on Wheels’ (1967), ‘Brides of Blood’ (1968), ‘The Mad Doctor of Blood Island’ (1968) and ‘Sudden Death’ (1977)
    Produced and acted in the films ‘Beast of Blood’ (1971), ‘Beast of the Yellow Night’ (1971), ‘The Twilight People’ (1972), ‘Beyond Atlantis’ (1973), ‘The Savage Sisters’ (1974) and ‘Black Mamba’ (1974)
    Produced the film ‘Black Mama, White Mama’ (1972) and the TV series The A-Team
    He appeared in a bajillion films for American International Pictures because the daughters of co-founder James H. Nicholson were fans.
    When he was drafted, AIP pulled strings so he could get out after only six months in order to make a war movie, Suicide Battalion (1958).
    AIP had him record several singles, in a less than successful attempt to turn him into a singing idol like his Beach Party co-star Frankie Avalon.
    Most of his appearances were in cheap biker, beach party, and horror films.
    He was adopted when a few months old and never knew his birth parents.
    He accompanied his girlfriend to an audition for the film ‘Dragstrip Girl’ and was encouraged to audition himself by the screenwriter; he wound up getting the male lead.
    Because of his experience producing exploitation films in the Philippines, he was hired by Francis Ford Coppola to serve as a liaison to the government during the filming of ‘Apocalypse, Now.’
    In addition to producing ‘The A-Team,’ he was the narrator during the opening title sequence.
    He said, ‘Maybe the key to my success with exploitation films is that I always liked those movies, and I never had any real reason to turn them down. I just enjoyed doing them.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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