Los Angeles icon and cult ’80s figure Angelyne, known for her hot-pink sports cars, billboard signs, and being one of the first people to be “famous for being famous” long before Kim Kardashian was, is the subject of a new and dramatic exposé that reveals her true identity.
A long story by Gary Baum in the Hollywood Reporter reveals the mysterious Angelyne Llyne to have been born Renee Goldberg to a pair of Polish Holocaust survivors who, after the war, immigrated to Israel and then to Los Angeles. After a brief marriage to a Beverly Hills executive in the late 1960s, Goldberg’s paper trail ends, according to an anonymous, hobbyist genealogist who first tips off Baum.
Goldberg’s identity is completely different than the one Angelyne has constructed for herself. She is not an only-child from Louisville, Kentucky, but originally from Poland. She was born in 1950, though she claims it was 1962. And is anyone really surprised that Angelyne’s infamously cartoonish figure and big, bleach-blonde hair (originally red) isn’t exactly natural?
We know that Angelyne is fake—it’s what makes her fun! So none of this information quite comes as a shock, though Baum goes to great lengths to write his often overly-dramatic story as if he has finally discovered the identity of the Zodiac Killer. But he does bring up an interesting point: Goldberg’s Cali-girl image is like an exaggerated version of what so many Jews did after the Holocaust, which was try to assimilate and pass into American gentile culture.
Eventually, after Baum is hung up on by her sister and step-sister and talks at-length to her real ex-husband, he confronts Angelyne and her assistant for answers. Forever tight-lipped about her past, never talking about her reportedly cruel parents or where she grew up, Angelyne denies the rumors and says that plenty of stalkers have claimed they know who really she is. “I know you want it to be true because you’re Jewish—and that’s adorable!” she tells Baum.
When pressed about the details of her upbringing, Angelyne says she’s saving it for her memoirs. And while it’s debatable whether that will materialize, at least we’ll always have this mysterious, hot-pink-spandex-wearing blonde as Los Angeles’s true cult icon.