Carole Ann Jones was born in New York City on Feb. 13, 1942. A child of divorce, she began modeling under the name Carolyn Lee. When she went into acting — appearing on golden-age-of-television series like “Goodyear Television Playhouse” and “The Alcoa Hour” — that name already belonged to another member of the Actors’ Equity union (as did the name Carolyn Jones), so she invented the sound-alike name Carol Lynley.
In April 1957 she appeared on the cover of Life magazine, identified as “Carol Lynley, 15, Busy Career Girl.” She was indeed busy, making her Broadway debut in Graham Greene’s drama “The Potting Shed.” For that role, as a dying man’s talkative niece who reveals a family secret, she received a Theater World Award, given annually for an outstanding debut performance.
Ms. Lynley returned to Broadway once, in 1975, replacing Sandy Dennis in Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy “Absurd Person Singular.”
Her later projects included “Vic” (2006), a 30-minute short about an older actor, directed by Sage Stallone, a son of Sylvester Stallone; and “A Light in the Forest” (2002), playing the grandmother in a family-oriented fantasy with no connection to Ms. Lynley’s first movie, which had almost exactly the same title.
Ms. Lynley was married from 1960 to 1964 to Michael Selsman, a film-industry publicist, and they had a daughter, Jill, who survives her. She also had a long on-again, off-again relationship with the television host David Frost.
In 2000, in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, Ms. Lynley talked about middle-aged actresses’ difficulty in finding roles but predicted a comeback for herself in old age. “I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I am a very talented actress, and I have my head screwed on right,” she said. “I’m not going to drug clinics, I look good, and I’ve got all my marbles. So I really believe I’ll be back.”