Saturday, April 11, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: J is for Jewel Shepard!

I first noticed Jewel Shepard when I saw Return of the Living Dead in the theater. She looked wild - certainly wilder than the Southern Illinois girls I went to school with.

After RotLD the next time Jewel appeared in my life was on this video box:

I saw this movie available for rent at several video stores over the years - and I always picked it up and looked it over - then never rented it. Why not? I don't have a good reason, really. I rented scads of movies, and certainly a lot of them were much like this flick - but I never put down my money to see it.

Jewel Shepard was born in the late 50's in New York City. She went out to California to break into show business in the 70's. Never shy about her body she worked as a stripper and a car show model, then first showed up in an uncredited bit in a 1979 movie called Teen Lust. I'd never heard of that movie before - but reading up on it for this post - WOW - it starred Kirsten Baker (Friday the 13th Part 2) and Perry Lang (Spring Break) and was written, produced, and directed by actor James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China). Did I mention - WOW! Need to see this one!

But I digress.

Jewel Shepard next turned up in another uncredited bit in one of my favorite 80's movies - Zapped! After that she started to make it on the credit lists - with her next two movies genre flicks worth noting: H.B. Halicki's The Junkman and Kung Fu Cannibals.

Working through the 80's continuing to appear in movies like My Tutor and Hollywood Hot Tubs - and its sequel as seen above - Jewel branched out in the 90's as a writer, putting together a great book of interviews with other actresses like herself in 1992 called Invasion of the B-Girls. She also wrote for magazines like Premiere, Details, and Cosmopolitan.

In 1996 she published an autobiography called If I'm So Famous, How Come Nobody's Ever Heard of Me? which chronicles her life in the entertainment industry and pulls no punches.

All that skin showing - and this blog is still PG-13!

In the 2000's she only acted sporadically, with an appearance in the Oscar winning The Artist the highest profile project - and she kept writing and launched a website. Sadly, in 2011 she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and has been fighting against it ever since. She is on social media, and is very open there about her health struggles and her battles with insurance companies and her financial woes. Sometimes her stories are just heartbreaking but she mostly maintains a rather dour optimism - and her adventures working her way through her bucket list - which she has completed, by the way - were fascinating. She also appeared in a tearjerker Hallmark card ad that showed the effects her various treatments and chemotherapies had on her...

Check out some Jewel Shepard if you get the chance - and keep her in your thoughts and prayers for continued health. 

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. She is a strong lady and she is and always be the girl next door... who you only get to dream about living so close to you... I have read some of her current issues and her ability to still smile. Only good thoughts I can send to her, may her shine keep shining!!

  2. She sounds like a strong woman. I'll be keeping her in my thoughts and prayers now that I'm aware--and looking her up on social media as well. Thanks for this post.

    1. I'm pleased you're adding your positive energy - as you understand better than most what she's been through. Thanks, Joe.

  3. Another fantastic post...I never knew her name, but knew the face, thanks to seeing her in ROTLD dozens upon dozens of times. She sounds like a really interesting character with a no-nonsense backstory, and she seems to have been in a bunch of films I'd enjoy (never seen the Hollywood Hot Tubs films, for example). Sad to hear she has been so unwell, but I love that she went and completed her bucket list, and seems to be filled with fight. I'll definitely be looking into her career.

    Thanks for this, and great photos, too!

    1. She certainly is filled with fight - great way to describe her, there! Thank YOU - for coming by.