By Fritz Koenig and Mark Gutglueck
FLAMINGO HEIGHTS—For the second time in just over five years, one of the Hollywood expatriates who located in Yucca Valley in the twilight of his or her career has died in an unexpected circumstance at home.
The two actors knew each other, having met during their careers on the big and little screen. It was the most recently deceased movie star who had found the other dead in 2012.
Seventy-five-year-old Carol Vogel is believed to have died on November 22. On November 25, she was found dead in a dirt field behind a house on Luna Vista Lane in the Flamingo Heights district of Yucca Valley. She had been reported missing on Wednesday, November 22. Three days later, on Saturday, an off-road rider spotted a disabled truck in a field about 100 yards north of the 57000 block of Luna Vista Lane. The truck was Vogel’s. A nearby resident contacted the sheriff’s department at 12:23 p.m. and reporting the truck’s presence off the road.
A responding deputy located the truck and approximately 100 yards away came across Vogel’s lifeless body.
The sheriff’s department reported that there was no outwardly apparent sign of trauma or foul play. A coroner’s report has not been released.
Vogel broke into the moving picture business in 1967 with a role in “Depraved.” Her next appearance was in 1968’s “The Ghastly Ones.”
It was in television that she had the greatest visibility, with parts in “Gunsmoke,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Rockford Files,” “Serpico,” “Barnaby Jones,” “CHiPs,” “Wonder Woman,” “How the West was Won,” “Hotel,” “Highway to Heaven,” “Newhart” and “Starman,” She was also featured in several TV movies, most notably 1980s “Homeward Bound.”
Vogel was well acquainted with Richard Lynch, who was two years older than she was, but came to the acting profession later than she did. Nevertheless, Lynch enjoyed a greater level of success in the acting profession than did Vogel.
Lynch served in the Marine Corps. In 1967, he dropped some acid and during that LSD trip in New York’s Central Park, set himself on fire, suffering burns on 70 percent of his body. He was in recovery from his burns for more than a year, during which time he ceased using drugs. Thereafter he began training at The Actors Studio and at the HB Studio. His scarred appearance had a degree of cachet, as directors often utilized him to play “heavies,” i.e., bad guys.
With then-upcoming actors Robert DeNiro, Sally Kirkland and Diane Ladd, he co-starred in 1970 in Shelley Winters’ relatively short-lived off-Broadway play, “One Night Stands of a Noisy Passenger. A part in “Scarecrow” was his first screen appearance. Thereafter, he had parts in “The Seven-Ups” and “Bad Dreams.”
In 1977 Lynch was nominated for a Tony for his portrayal of a wheelchair bound Vietnam Vet in the Broadway play, “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel,” which also featured Al Pacino, a close friend. With Judson Scott, he co-starred in the 1982 short-lived science fiction TV series “The Phoenix.” Also in 1982, Lynch received a Saturn Award for best supporting actor for his performance as the evil King Cromwell in “The Sword and the Sorcerer.”
He had a part in “Little Nikita.” He was given a rare sympathetic part as the President of the United States in the 2007 film “Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy.” He starred together with brother Barry in the films “Nightforce” and “Total Force.” Lynch’s wife Lily starred with him in the 1998 film “Breaking the Silence” and his son Christopher Lynch starred with him in the science fiction film “Trancers II.” With Don Calfa he was in the films “Necronomicon” (1993), “Toughguy” (1995), “Corpses Are Forever” (2003), and “Lewisburg” (2009).
Twice married, Lynch’s first wife was Béatrix Lynch, the mother of their son Christopher, who died in 2005 from pneumonia, and subsequently Lily Lynch.
Lynch’s body was found in his home in Yucca Valley by Carol Vogel on June 19, 2012, after having died on either June 18 or June 19. Having not heard from Lynch for several days, Vogel went to his home. She found the door to his home open and his body in the kitchen.
While Yucca Valley is now one of the more impoverished of San Bernardino County’s incorporated municipalities, it once had pretensions to being an artists’ colony. Long a remote and rustic desert area that attracted those wishing to remain well off the beaten track, a major development in Yucca Valley’s evolution toward becoming a larger community was Norman J. Essig’s effort beginning in the 1950s to establish it as both a getaway to and private residency for entertainment celebrities. He ventured capital toward that end, acquiring hundreds of acres, which he improved with roads around the region’s major arterial, Highway 62, which is also known as Twentynine Palms Highway.
While attracting movie stars as well as recording and visual artists was only marginally successful, the improvements did succeed in luring others by virtue of the relatively inexpensive land prices, and Yucca Valley grew sporadically over the years, appealing to the independent minded and lovers of its remote desert beauty.
In November 1991, the town incorporated, becoming the 24th and last municipality in San Bernardino County to do so.
Flamingo Heights lies west of Highway 247 on the way out of town in Yucca Mesa. It abuts Bureau of Land Management lands leading toward the Indian petroglyphs and miles of desert horse trails. While not upscale by most standards, it fits within the general character of Yucca Valley, and a number of low income retirees with rugged individualist natures live there. It boasts Starland, which is a spa that caters primarily to a gay clientele. While Flamingo Heights is not flooded with Hollywood types, Vogel did live there. Plans for its development from the 1960s that did not come to fruition called for a futuristic city to be built there, one that looked like a Star Trek vista of Earth 2265.
By Fritz Koenig and Mark Gutglueck