Big Bad Mamas: Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith (1955-2002) PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Projectionist   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 17:23

Click to View Larger... Click to View Larger...Cheryl Lynn Smith was born in Los Angeles, CA on June 6, 1955, (source, to a mother who was an entertainer. Her parents divorced whe she was still a young child, and she moved with her Mother to Hollywood.

She literally grew up on the Sunset Strip, hanging out and playing with bands. (She was a drummer, and payed with Joan Jett at one point during this time. You can hear Cheryl's drum skills in Joan's 1984 release "Du-Beat-e-o.) She hung out at the famous Whisky A-Go-Go club. (Her stage name "Rainbeaux," was allegedly given to her by Mario Maglieri, owner of The Whisky A-Go-Go, The Roxy, and The Rainbow Bar and Grill, because she constantly hung out there. Other sources say it was because of the colorful clothes she wore. As sometimes happens, the truth may be one or the other, a combination of the two, or something completely different.) 

lemora092004 lemora092004She appeared in her first movie in 1969, ("The Birth of Aphrodite") at the tender age of 14. At the age of 15, the mature appearing Smith snagged the role of Lila Lee in Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural. She went on to appear in more than 30 films. (See list at the end of this article.) Most of Cheryl's roles were in movies in the 1970s.

Cheryl had lead roles in numerous B-movies, and countless small parts in larger films and television shows. She had a sizeable co-starring role in the 1978 Walter Hill movie "The Driver". Unfortunately, the subplot involving her character was dropped and all of Smith's scenes were cut as well. Hill regretted having to cut those scenes and spoke highly of her acting prowess.

In 1975 Cheryl began a relationship with an unnamed member of a noted band (one report says he was the bass player with The Animals, but this has never been confirmed.) He introduced her to drugs, and she soon became pregnant by him. She was pregnant while filming the drive-in classic "The Revenge of the Cheerleaders". (The directors of both "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" and "The Swinging Cheerleaders" were convinced Cheryl had gotten a breast enlargement. It was simply because the "Prego Titty Fairy" had visited. Click to View Larger... Click to View Larger...Cheryl and her baby son, Justin, make a post-credits cameo at the end of "Revenge of the Cheerleaders".)

Quentin Tarantino once paid tribute to Cheryl at a film festival, uttering this memorable quote:
"What Pam Grier was to blaxploitation movies, what Bruce Lee was to kung fu movies, what Burt Reynolds was to good-ol’-boy movies, Rainbeaux Smith was to cheerleader movies. She truly has, without trying whatsoever, a Marilyn Monroe quality. She doesn’t look like Monroe at all; she just has that kind of vacantness. She’s not so much acting as she is existing. Imagine Marilyn Monroe as kind of a ’70s hippie junky, then you kind of have Rainbeaux Smith.”

Cheryl's relationship with the musician continued for several years. Both digging deeper and deeper into heroin addiction. Around 1985 or so, (sources vary,) financial sources depleted, both lost control of their lives, lost their son to the state, lived on the streets and eventually went to prison on drug related charges.

Click to View Larger... Click to View Larger...Upon release from prison, Cheryl attempted to stay straight. She supported herself as a freelance artist. (She was a talented artist as well as actress and singer.) Sadly, she gained residence with some friends who were still heavily into the drug scene and slipped back into the abyss, winding up back on the streets. She was in and out of jail numerous times, as she attempted to support suport her drug habit by panhandling, petty theft, hooking, and borrowing from friends. She returned to prison, obtaining release in 1997. She again attempted to stay clean, but a "friend" who was a dealer gave her a fix, turning her into a regular customer once more.

Cheryl was able to get clean with the help of a man she met. He worked for the City of Los Angeles. She moved in with him, and he was able to get her on his city health insurance so she could be treated. While in a hospital for treatment, it was discovered she had hepatitis and liver problems. Upon release from the hospital she entered a methadone program, which she continued until her untimely death.

Click to View Larger... Click to View Larger...Cheryl passed away from liver failure and other effects of hepatitis on October 25, 2002 at 5 a.m. It was a Friday.

While Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith was never a household name, but thanks to the internet, video tape, and DVD and Blu-Ray interested parties can admire her work and fragile beauty. "Imagine Marilyn Monroe as kind of a ’70s hippie junky, then you kind of have Rainbeaux Smith.”


Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith's Filmography

  • 1983 Independence Day - Ginny
  • 1982 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid - Veronica Lake (uncredited)
  • 1982 Parasite - Captive Girl
  • 1982 Vice Squad - White Prostitute
  • 1981 Hart to Hart (TV series) - Woman
  • 1981 Nice Dreams - Blondie Group #1 (as Cheryl RX Smith)
  • 1981 The Choice (TV movie) - Chris
  • 1980 Melvin and Howard - Patient Ronnie
  • 1978 Up in Smoke - Laughing Lady (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1978 Laserblast - Kathy Farley
  • 1977 The Incredible Melting Man - The Model (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1977 Fantasm Comes Again - Carol (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1977 The Choirboys - Tammy
  • 1977 Game Show Models -  (uncredited)
  • 1977 Cinderella - Cinderella
  • 1977 Boogievision - Naked hippie girl on motorcycle (uncredited)
  • 1976 Slumber Party '57 - Sherry (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1976 Massacre at Central High - Mary (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1976 The Quest (TV series) - Blonde Girl
  • 1976 Drum - Sophie Maxwell (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1976 Revenge of the Cheerleaders - Heather (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1976 The Pom Pom Girls - Roxanne (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1975 Farewell, My Lovely - Doris (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1975 Video Vixens - 'Twinkle Twat' Girl
  • 1974 Phantom of the Paradise - Groupie
  • 1974 The Swinging Cheerleaders - Andrea (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1974 Caged Heat - Lavelle (as Rainbeaux Smith)
  • 1973 Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural - Lila Lee
  • 1971 Evel Knievel - Girl buying ticket at rodeo (uncredited)
  • 1971 The Birth of Aphrodite (short) - Aphrodite

The writer of this article would like to thank the following sources used for this article.

The Official Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith Page She was a Rainbeaux (NSFW)

The Deuce: Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith Bio Page

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2011 23:16

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