This one’s kind of cool, especially when you realize that there aren’t a lot of females working as writers, directors and producers in 2017. Way to go Gaylen Ross! Ms. Ross was born in Indiana in August 1950 and served as an editor before taking a stab at acting. She booked her first credited role, one of only three, at age 28. Horror fans would see her first as Francine – the pregnant helicopter hero – in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), the highest grossing flick in the Dead Series. Gaylen was asked to make a cameo in the widely successful remake in 2004, but turned it down.
Next, Gaylen starred as Betsy in Joe Giannone’s only feature length effort – Madman (1981). The camper slasher flick saw her as the almost-hero who ends up impaled on a coat rack in this sleeper VHS hit. Finally, she appeared as Becky Vickers in the ‘Something to Tide You Over’ segment of Creepshow in 1982. Creepshow opened at #1 at the box office, and though it was only a small role, it proved to be another hit for Ms. Ross. Still, being an actress just wasn’t her thing and she retired from the business shortly there-after.
But her career in the entertainment industry didn’t end there! She re-emerged in 1995 as a full fledged film-maker with a multi-award winning documentary titled Dealers Among Dealers. Gaylen would work predominantly in documentary films for the rest of her career. She wrote and produced award winning documentary Blood Money: Switzerland’s Nazi Gold in 1997 and wrote, directed and produced To Russia For Love: Mail Order Brides (1999). She created and edited another award winning documentary, her most popular, in 2008 with Killing Kasztner.
So, where is Gaylen Ross?
She created and served as cinematographer on the biographic documentary of Caris Corfman, Caris’ Peace, in 2011. If fan photos are anything to go by, Gaylen makes frequent guest appearances at horror conventions across the country, which shows that she’s still thankful for the opportunities her short acting career brought her. While it shouldn’t be too long before she releases another documentary, I think it’s safe to say we shouldn’t expect to see her in another horror film anytime soon.