Sandra Dee

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Sandra Dee

Dee in the early 1960s
BornAlexandra Zuck
(1942-04-23)April 23, 1942
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedFebruary 20, 2005(2005-02-20) (aged 62)
Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of deathKidney disease
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Hollywood Hills
OccupationActress, model
Years active1957–1994
Spouse(s)Bobby Darin (m. 1960–1967) «start: (1960)–end+1: (1968)»"Marriage: Bobby Darin to Sandra Dee" Location: (linkback://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Dee); divorced; 1 child
 
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Sandra Dee

Dee in the early 1960s
BornAlexandra Zuck
(1942-04-23)April 23, 1942
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedFebruary 20, 2005(2005-02-20) (aged 62)
Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of deathKidney disease
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Hollywood Hills
OccupationActress, model
Years active1957–1994
Spouse(s)Bobby Darin (m. 1960–1967) «start: (1960)–end+1: (1968)»"Marriage: Bobby Darin to Sandra Dee" Location: (linkback://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Dee); divorced; 1 child

Sandra Dee (April 23, 1942 – February 20, 2005) was an American actress. Dee began her career as a model and progressed to film. Best known for her portrayal of ingenues, Dee won a Golden Globe Award in 1959 as one of the year's most promising newcomers, and over several years her films were popular. By the late 1960s her career had started to decline, and a highly publicized marriage to Bobby Darin ended in divorce.

She rarely acted after this time, and her final years were marred by illness; she died of complications from kidney disease in 2005.[1]

Contents

Birth and background

Dee was born Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her parents, Mary (née Cymboliak) and John Zuck, met as teenagers at a Russian Orthodox church dance. They married shortly after, but divorced before she was five.[2][3] She was of Polish and Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry[4] and was raised in the Russian Orthodox Church. Her son Dodd Darin wrote in his biographical book about his parents, Dream Lovers, that Dee's mother, Mary, and her sister Olga "were first generation daughters of a working class Russian Orthodox couple."[5] Dee herself recalled, "we belonged to a Russian Orthodox Church, and there was dancing at the social events."[6] Alexandra would soon take the name Sandra Dee. She became a professional model by the age of four and subsequently progressed to television commercials.

There has been some confusion as to Dee's actual birth year, with evidence pointing to both 1942 and 1944. According to her son's book she was born in 1944, but since Dee started modeling and acting at a very young age, she and her mother falsely inflated her age by two years so she could find more work. Therefore, 1942 was listed as her birth year in official studio press releases, leading to that year's being considered truthful in verifiable sources.[7] After having studied at Hollywood Professional School, she graduated from University High, Los Angeles, in June 1958. In a 1959 interview, Dee recalled that she "grew up fast", surrounded mostly by older people, and was "never held back in anything [she] wanted to do."[8] During her modeling career, Dee attempted to lose weight to "be as skinny as the high fashion models", though an improper diet "ruined [her] skin, hair, nails - everything". Having slimmed down, her body was unable to digest any food she ate, and it took the help of a doctor to regain her health. According to the actress, she "could have killed [herself]" and "had to learn to eat all over again."[8]

Career

Ending her modeling career, Dee moved from New York to Hollywood in 1957. There, she made her first film, Until They Sail, in 1957. The following year, she won a Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress, along with Carolyn Jones and Diane Varsi.

In Imitation of Life trailer (1959)

She became known for her wholesome ingenue roles in such films as The Reluctant Debutante, Gidget, Imitation of Life, and A Summer Place. She later played "Tammy" in two Universal sequels to Tammy and the Bachelor, in the role created by Debbie Reynolds. During the 1970s, Dee took very few acting jobs but made occasional television appearances.

Personal life

Dee's marriage to Bobby Darin in 1960 kept her in the public eye for much of the decade. They met while making the film Come September (released in 1961) together. She was under contract to Universal Studios, which tried to develop Dee into a mature actress, and the films she made as an adult—including a few with Darin—were moderately successful. On 16 December 1961 they had one son, Dodd Mitchell Darin (also known as Morgan Mitchell Darin). She and Darin divorced in 1967 and Darin died in 1973.[citation needed]

In 1994, Dee's son Dodd Darin published a book about his parents, Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, in which he chronicled his mother's anorexia, drug and alcohol problems, and her claim that she had been sexually abused as a child by her stepfather, Eugene Douvan.

Illness and death

Dee's adult years were marked by poor health. She battled anorexia nervosa, depression and alcoholism for many years. Complications from kidney disease led to her death on February 20, 2005 at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.[9] She is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, not far from her mother, Mary C. Douvan, who died on December 27, 1987. She was survived by her son, her daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

In popular culture

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
1957The Snow QueenGerdaVoice: English version
1957Until They SailEvelyn Leslie
1958The Reluctant DebutanteJane Broadbent
1958The Restless YearsMelinda GrantAlternative title: The Wonderful Years
1959A Stranger in My ArmsPat BeasleyAlternative title: And Ride a Tiger
1959GidgetGidget (Frances Lawrence)
1959Imitation of LifeSusie, age 16
1959The Wild and the InnocentRosalie Stocker
1959A Summer PlaceMolly Jorgenson
1960Portrait in BlackCathy Cabot
1961Romanoff and JulietJuliet MoulsworthAlternative title: Dig That Juliet
1961Tammy Tell Me TrueTambrey "Tammy" Tyree
1961Come SeptemberSandy Stevens
1962If a Man AnswersChantal Stacy
1963Tammy and the DoctorTambrey "Tammy" Tyree
1963Take Her, She's MineMollie Michaelson
1964I'd Rather Be RichCynthia Dulaine
1965That Funny FeelingJoan Howell
1966A Man Could Get KilledAmy FranklinAlternative title: Welcome, Mr. Beddoes
1967Doctor, You've Got to Be KiddingHeather Halloran
1967Rosie!Daphne Shaw
1970The Dunwich HorrorNancy Wagner
1971Ad est di Marsa Matruh
1971–1972Night GalleryAnn Bolt
Millicent/Marion Hardy
2 episodes
1972The ManhunterMara BocockTelevision movie
1972The Daughters of Joshua CabeAdaTelevision movie
1972Love, American StyleBonnie GallowaySegment "Love and the Sensuous Twin"
1972The Sixth SenseAlice MartinEpisode: "Through a Flame Darkly"
1974Houston, We've Got a ProblemAngie CordellTelevision movie
1977Fantasy IslandFrancesca HamiltonTelevision movie
1978Police WomanMarie QuinnEpisode: "Blind Terror"
1983LostPenny
1983Fantasy IslandMargaret WinslowEpisode: "Eternal Flame/A Date with Burt"
1994FrasierConnie (Voice)Episode: "The Botched Language of Cranes"

Box Office Rating

For a number of years, exhibitors voted Dee one of the most popular box office stars in the US:[10]

References

  1. ^ Kehr, Dave (2005-02-20). "Sandra Dee, 'Gidget' Star and Teenage Idol, Dies at 62". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/movies/20cnd-dee.html?ex=1266728400&en=a2d4c4eedf02d972&ei=5090. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  2. ^ Biography of Sandra Dee
  3. ^ Dee, Sandra (1991-03-18). "Learning to Live Again". People. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20114698,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  4. ^ Darin, Dodd (1994)
  5. ^ Darin, Dodd (1994). Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, Warner Books, p. 27.
  6. ^ Darin, Dodd (1994). Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, Warner Books, p. 30.
  7. ^ Darin, Dodd (1994). Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, Warner Books, pp. 28-30.
  8. ^ a b "Sandra Dee, Teen-age Beauty" by Lydia Lane, The Palm Beach Post. p. 42.
  9. ^ Marla, Lehner (2005-02-20). "Screen Star Sandra Dee Dies". people.com. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1029880,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  10. ^ Quigley's Annual List of Box-Office Champions, 1932-1970 October 23, 2003 accessed July 9, 2012

External links