So my Little Monsters, today we say goodbye to the month of May. BUT, being that it’s also Wednesday, it means we also say hello to another wonderful Woman of Horror. This week’s liebenswerte Frau (that’s lovely lady to you and me, Rusty), is the incredibly sweet and talented P.J. Soles.
Pamela Jayne was born in Frankfurt, Germany to Nancy and Cornelis Hardon. P.J. and her parents were quite the globetrotters as she was growing up. No, not the Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal kind of Globetrotters. Her father worked for an international insurance corporation, so his career path took them all around the world. As P.J. was growing up, P.J. and her family lived in Morocco, Venezuela and Brussels, where she attended high school at the International School of Brussels. After high school, she attended Briarcliff College in Briarcliff Manor, NY, where she had aspirations of becoming the very first woman ambassador to the Soviet Union. However, after visiting the Actor’s Studio in New York, P.J. decided acting was the career choice for her.
P.J. made the move to Manhattan, and kicked off her career doing modeling gigs for magazines and acting in commercials. She also made a couple of appearances on television, before making her first big screen appearance in a small role at the end of the 1976 horror anthology, Blood Bath. That same year, P.J. would win the part of Norma Watson in Brian De Palma’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Carrie. Despite the fact that hundreds auditioned for various roles in the film, P.J. would be the perfect choice to don Norma’s trademark red baseball cap. When auditioning with John Travolta for Carrie, P.J. impressed Travolta so much that he went out of his way to make certain she was cast with him in the TV movie, Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Two years later she would appear in the role that would essentially ensure her status as an icon amongst Women in Horror, portraying Lynda in the John Carpenter classic, Halloween. P.J. didn’t even have to win this part over any other actresses, as it was a role that Carpenter had specifically written for her. It’s rumored that it was due to the fact that Carpenter simply liked the way P.J. said the word “totally”.
Although P.J. has obviously got the good’s when it comes to acting in the horror genre, she is NO one trick pony. She has also shown she’s got comedy chops, with roles in some real classics early in her career, which include: Riff Randell in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Pvt. Wanda Winter in Private Benjamin and MP Stella Hansen in Stripes. Her versatility has also translated to work in other film genres as well as on television in numerous movies and series.
P.J. is also one tough cookie, having been knocked unconscious and suffering a torn ear drum during her death scene in Carrie. She was also injured during the filming of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and was also able to survive three marriages. However, she did retain some good things from the aforementioned marriages: her last name Soles, from her marriage to J. Steven Soles, and two wonderful children from her marriage to Skip Holm.
Much to the benefit of genre fans, P.J. has consistently kept her hand in the horror game. And although she didn’t get to make an appearance in Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of Halloween, she did get to work with him on his 2005 film, The Devil’s Rejects. So maybe she didn’t fall victim to Michael Myers again, but she did get carjacked by Sid Haig’s iconic character, Captain Spaulding.
Over the past decade P.J. has appeared in nine films, seven of them horror, most recently appearing as Dr. Ramone in the horror/exploitation style anthology, Grindsploitation. She also has a project, entitled 13 Girls, that is currently in its pre-production phase. Perhaps if we genre fans are particularly lucky, she’ll get to be involved in David Gordon Green and Danny McBride’s upcoming Halloween reboot…that is, of course, if she even wants to return to Haddonfield.
A couple of years back, at Days of the Dead in Indianapolis, P.J. was in attendance and I had the great pleasure of meeting her. The poor dear had lost her voice, but she was still incredibly kind and generous, and never once lost that adorably sweet, sunny smile of hers. That’s what I call a trooper. It was obvious that her love for the fans was not going to be dampened by something like laryngitis. If you have the opportunity to meet P.J. at a con, I highly recommend it. She’s an absolute sweetheart, whose love of the genre and its fans is easy to see.
As always, my Little Monsters, if you wish to keep up on what projects P.J. is working on next, you can check out her official IMDb page an also give her a follow over at Twitter. So with that I take my leave, and as a maniacally brilliant man once said, “I do wish we could chat longer, but…I’m having an old friend or dinner.” It’s not that I’m a cannibal, I just have to get the shopping in. OK? OK, buh bye for now.