Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith

LOS ANGELES--Actress Cheryl Smith, whose short, promising career was derailed by drugs, died here October 25. MSTies will remember her as heroine Kathy Farley in episode 706- LASERBLAST, as well as a small role in the movie in episode 704- THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN. She was 47.

Much of her appearance in INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN was cut for the version that appeared on MST3K--we only see her sobbing in a police car, with a photographer taking pictures of her. The cut scene shows Smith posing for the photographer, then the photographer makes a grab for her and as the two are struggling they stumble over one of the Melting Man's victims.

Smith was born in 1955 in Los Angeles and grew up in single-parent family. By the late 1960s, when she was a teenager, she was spending much of her time hanging out in Sunset Strip clubs, including the famous Rainbow Room. Music was her first love, and she got gigs playing drums with several groups, most notably for Joan Jett.

She then moved on to films, making her movie debut 1971, when she was just 15. She would appear in more than 30 movies, including "Phantom of the Paradise," "The Swinging Cheerleaders," "The Pom Pom Girls," "Massacre at Central High" and "Slumber Party '57." In many of her films, she used the name Rainbeaux Smith, as tribute to her early days in the Rainbow Room.

In 1976 she had a son who, according to L.A. whispers, was fathered by rock musician Eric Burden of Eric Burden & the Animals. But it was also during this period that she became a heroin user, an addiction which ultimately ended her movie career and sent her to prison twice. She was also reportedly a talented artist and painter, even earning money while in prison by designing elaborate tattoos for fellow inmates.

According to some reports, in the mid to late 1980s she was doing soft-core exploitation movies in Australia. Toward the end of her life she was, during some periods, reportedly living on the streets near L.A.'s MacArthur Park. Her addiction also led to her developing hepatitis, complications of which led to her death.