I first became aware of the gorgeous Angelique Pettyjohn, like most fans, through her appearance as Shahna in the STAR TREK episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. The statuesque, green-haired beauty fascinated me as much as she did Captain Kirk, churning my then-adolescent hormones into a frenzy! Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the lovely Miss Pettyjohn, and have made it my mission to discover All Things Angelique!
Angelique Pettyjohn was not her given name, of course, nor was it her only screen name. She was born Dorothy Lee Perrins in the City of Angels on March 11, 1943, and studied dance as a young girl. According to IMDB, her first film appearance was the “Blonde in U.S. sex insert” in Argentine director Armando Bo’s PUT OUT OR SHUT UP in 1959, which would’ve made her 16 years old at the time. She’s also credited as a juror in 1961’s THE PHANTOM PLANET, a low-budget sci-fi film notable for featuring former silent star Francis X. Bushman as an alien and the debuting Richard Kiel as a monster. Having never seen these two films, I can’t confirm if that’s indeed Angelique in them.
Angelique’s first break came in the spy-spoof sitcom GET SMART, starring comedian Don Adams as the inept Maxwell Smart, CONTROL Agent 86. Angelique makes two appearances as Agent Charlie Watkins, a male master of disguise who’s really good – so good that he looks like the beautiful Angelique! The actress has the part of Charlie in two episodes, “Smart Fit the Battle of Jericho” (disguised as a cigarette girl) and “Pussycats Galore” (as a waitress at the Pussycat Club). Though the parts are brief, they got Angelique noticed, yet stardom still eluded her.
Bit parts and uncredited roles followed: big films like HOTEL, A GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN, ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?, and THE ODD COUPLE, smaller ones such as THE COOL ONES and FOR SINGLES ONLY. She’s seen to good advantage in the Elvis Presley musical CLAMBAKE, but around this time, Angelique also began taking jobs in softcore porn: Michael Findley’s THE TOUCH OF HER FLESH, Joseph Sarno’s THE LOVE REBELLION, William Rose’s PROFESSOR LUST.
Angelique guested in episodes of THE GREEN HORNET, MR. TERRIFIC, THE FELONY SQUAD, BATMAN , and THE GIRL FROM UNCLE before landing the part that would gain her sci-fi immortality: Shahna the Thrall in the STAR TREK Season 2 episode, “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. Captain Kirk (William Shatner ), Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig) are hijacked by alien gamblers who spend their time betting on to-the-death gladiator matches. Forced to wear “collars of obedience”, each is assigned a trainer to prepare them for combat, and Kirk is assigned to the green-haired Shahna, who naturally falls for him (because all women do!). This was Angelique’s biggest part to date, and would be her claim to fame in the future.
She lost the part of Nova in 1968’s PLANET OF THE APES to Linda Hamilton, but next up for Angelique were co-starring roles in two drive-in classics. 1969’s MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND found her in a Filipino-lensed horror thriller opposite ‘Beach Party’ alum John Ashley being terrorized by a green-skinned monster, and she plays a biker chick in HELLS’ BELLES alongside bike-sploitation vets Jeremy Slate (THE MINI-SKIRT MOB, HELL’S ANGELS ’69) and Adam Roarke (THE SAVAGE SEVEN, HELL’S ANGELS ON WHEELS). That same year saw the release of CONFESSIONS OF TOM HARRIS, codirected by John Derek and David Nelson (Ozzie & Harriet’s son) in a story about an alcoholic ex-serviceman who breaks arms for the mob before coming to Jesus and helping drunks. Don Murray, Linda Evans (Derek’s then-wife), and former Warner Bros star David Brian are also in the film, which has gained a bit of a cult status.
But nothing came of these, and she was back to bits (HEAVEN WITH A GUN, THE LOVE GOD?) and dreck like THE CURIOUS FEMALE, UP YOUR TEDDY BEAR, and WIT’S END (also known as G.I. EXECUTIONER, and directed by Joel M. Reed of BLOODSUCKING FREAKS infamy). In the early 70’s, Angelique moved to Las Vegas and became a stripper and showgirl, dancing at The Silver Slipper and The Aladdin. She’d developed a problem with drugs and alcohol, and by the early 80’s was performing in Triple X fare like TITILLATION, BODY TALK, and STALAG 69 under the pseudonyms Heaven St. John and Angel St. John.
What saved Angelique from a life of porn, drugs, and obscurity was the STAR TREK revival that burst forth after the release of 1979’s STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and its sequels. Trekkies and their conventions were everywhere, and anyone remotely connected to the original series was automatically embraced by fandom. Angelique began making appearances at these conventions, where she was welcomed with open arms – a star at last, at least in Trekkies’ eyes! She sold photos of herself dressed as Shahna in two versions, one of which was in the nude, and fanboys ate them up like Tribbles gobbling quadrotriticle grain!
Angelique returned to films mostly made by former fans who knew of her work on STAR TREK and the exploitation field. She’s in Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, Jim Wynorski’s THE LOST EMPIRE (as the leather-clad Whiplash!), Fred Olen Ray’s BIOHAZARD, Mike Jittlov’s THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME, and her last film, SORORITY GIRLS AND THE CREATURE FROM HELL (under the name Ashley St. John). Returning to the Vegas stage as a burlesque queen in 1989, Angelique was a popular attraction until her diagnosis with cervical cancer, which took her in 1992. There’s a rumor circulating around the Internet that Angelique bore a child by Elvis while working on BLUE HAWAII (one Philip Stanic, now known as Elvis Presley, Jr. and working as an Elvis impersonator), and was paid off to give him up for adoption. But since Angelique isn’t even in BLUE HAWAII (at least according to IMDB), it’s probably a bunch of baloney. Best we forget stuff like this and fondly remember Angelique Pettyjohn for what she was, a Hollywood hopeful whose one brief, shining moment as STAR TREK’s Shahna made her a star in the hearts of Trekkies everywhere: