‘Angelyne’: What’s the True Story Behind the Emmy Rossum Series?

Emmy Rossum’s exit from the hit Showtime series Shameless left a void for fans that could not be filled by anyone else. They missed seeing Fiona Gallagher in season 10 and many wondered about her latest projects.

Wonder no more, because Rossum is returning to the small screen in the NBC Peacock mini-series, Angelyne.

But Angelyne is no fictional character. Rossum is a far cry from what we’ve seen from her before in film and television as she tackles the role of the billboard icon. But who exactly is Angelyne?

Angelyne
Angelyne in her Corvette | Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

‘Angelyne’ is based on an investigative report

We must start from the beginning of how this production came to fruition. In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter published a feature about Angelyne by one of its senior writers, Gary Baum.

Baum, with the aid of reliable source, was able to trace her history and rise to fame as the pink-loving, self-promoting woman who turned into a local Los Angeles celebrity in the ’80s and ’90s. She’s a fixture.

He discovered her real name is Renee Goldberg and compared her to media personalities that we know today. Baum described Angelyne as the precursor to Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

NBC’s Peacock streaming service picked up the TV adaptation rights for the THR article with Baum serving as a consultant.

What is Angelyne’s real story?

According to Baum’s piece, Goldberg worked hard to build an air of mystery around her Angelyne persona, going so far as to fashion a new backstory and legally change her name. She was born to two Holocaust survivors: Hendrik Goldberg and Bronia Zernicka, but the location is murky.

Her parents suffered in Germany but moved to Poland, then Israel, and later immigrated to the US, settling in California. Baum learned that Goldberg attended high school in the San Fernando Valley after her mother died and her father remarried.

After school, she had a short-lived marriage to a man named Michael Strauss whom she divorced in 1969.

A few years later, the two – still friends – bumped into each other. Strauss told Baum, “I hooked up with Renee again, and she was Angelyne,” he said. “I wasn’t there when she made the transition. All of a sudden, big boobs, blond hair, this voice — the voice used to make me nuts. It didn’t compute with who I’d known she was.”

Thus, Angelyne came to be. She put up billboards of herself advertising a phone number for “fans” to reach her, and the pink Corvette and pink outfits became synonymous with Angelyne. Now 67, the Hollywood legend is known by her stage name and can still be seen around LA.

She made herself famous and has fans all over the world. Paid membership to her real-life fan club came with exclusive merchandise and sometimes, a phone call.

According to an old documentary on YouTube, Angelyne made money by selling her own brand of items such as shoes, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and lingerie.

Fans are excited to see Angelyne’s story

Peacock TV released the teaser trailer for the series on April 16, prompting fans to share their memories and experiences with Angelyne. Many are excited to learn more about the local legend’s mysterious past and have a fondness for her.

YouTube commenters are saying things like, “Finally! So glad to see Angelyne get some national attention. She was reality tv before it existed. She was a Kardashian before Kris was” and “I always feel thrilled when I spot her driving around.”

In addition to Angelyne getting love from the public, others are happy to see Rossum return to the screen. Peacock will launch in July 2020, but there is not a set release date for Angelyne.