The Wild Women (and men) of wongo

Varden Lee Spencer

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jo elaine and varden maybe 2

Varden Spencer and Jo Elaine Wagner in WILD WOMEN OF WONGO

Varden Lee Spencer was born on February 2, 1935 in Los Angeles, California. He and his older sister Miriam grew up in Santa Monica where they lived at 2818 Colorado Ave.

Varden’s father, Chester Leroy Spencer, who worked as an architectural and boat designer, retired in 1965 and started the Hi-Desert Studio Guild in Yucca Valley, which taught art to children. He was also a member of the Shadow Mountain Palette Club and the Desert Art Center of Palm Springs, as well as the founder of the Yucca Valley Art Association.

Varden’s mom was the former Angelina (Angela) Giallombardo. She was widowed in 1968. Like her late husband she was also a part of the desert art scene, and announced her engagement to Wilton McCoy in December of 1975. It would appear that Varden’s sister Miriam passed away at an early age, as she was not mentioned in their father’s obituary.

Varden Spencer scouting


Littlie is know about Varden’s life before or after his appearance as one of the hunky Goona men, but he was a Boy Scout (as the clipping above shows) and later a Sargent in the US. Army serving in Korea. In 1955 he took the exam to become a candidate for one of the military academies in West Point, Annapolis, or Colorado Springs, but I could find no record that he was accepted. He died on December 22, 1995 in San Francisco and is buried at San Joaquin Valley Cemetery.



Author: Mike Barnum

I am a lifelong lover of films, with a taste for movies of all genres, new and old, as well as pop culture from around the world. I currently write for the U.S. based film magazines CLASSIC IMAGES and FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE and have also been published in FILMFAX, SCARLET STREET, and VIDEO WATCHDOG.

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