TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-One — Diana Dors

Don’t call her the British Marilyn Monroe.

Some said that Diana Dors was England’s answer to Marilyn Monroe. (She resented the reference.)

In an interview with famed journalist Mike Wallace, he described her as a “bosomy blonde bundle with a flair for publicity that is extraordinary even by American standards.”

She was known for a time as Britain’s Number One Sex Symbol.

I notice that none of these labels refer to her acting talent. But she had it. Find out for yourself when TCM celebrates her first-time appearance on Summer Under the Stars.

IN THE BEGINNING:

Diana Mary Fluck was born on October 23, 1931, in Swindon, Wiltshire, England, the daughter of a railway clerk. Educated at a small private school, she fell in love with the movies as a child, when her mother took her to local movie theaters, and her favorite film stars were Veronica Lake, Lana Turner, and Jean Harlow.

Young Diana.

Even in her adolescence, Diana looked and acted older than her age, and at the age of 14, she was offered a spot in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). After appearing in several LAMDA theater productions, she was spotted by a casting director and given a small part in her film debut in The Shop at Sly Corner (1947). It was around this time that she adopted the name “Dors,” the maiden name of her maternal grandmother.

When she was 15, Diana signed a contact with the Rank Organisation, England’s largest film production, distribution and exhibition company, founded by J. Arthur Rank. Diana joined Rank’s “Charm School” for young actors. She appeared in numerous films over the next few years, including Rank’s adaptation of Oliver Twist (1948), directed by David Lean.

OTHER STUFF:

  • In a much-ballyhooed publicity stunt at the 1955 Venice Film Festival, Diana sailed down Venice’s Grand Canal in a gondola, clad only in a mink bikini.

    Dors in Venice. In her mink bikini.

  • In summer 1961, Diana shot an episode for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television show called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” based on a story by Robert Bloch (who wrote Psycho). It was deemed to be so gruesome that it never aired on network television, and was not seen until the series was sold into syndication. The episode co-starred Brandon DeWilde.
  • Diana’s second husband was actor Richard Dawson, perhaps best known for his role on Hogan’s Heroes, appearances on the Match Game show, and his longtime hosting of Family Feud. They had two children together before divorcing after seven years of marriage.
  • The actress once said that she was asked by the Rank Organisation to change her name, explaining, “I suppose they were afraid that if ‘Diana Fluck’ was in lights and one of the lights blew . . .”
  • Diana died of ovarian cancer at the age of 52. Five months later, her third husband committed suicide.

MY SUTS PICK:

Check it out.

I’ve only seen one Diana Dors film – Yield to the Night (1956). It’s excellent but, sadly, it’s not airing on her Summer Under the Stars day. (If you every get a chance to see it, be sure you take it.) So my pick will be based strictly on the description on the TCM website and comments from viewers – The Long Haul (1958). It stars Victor Mature (always a plus in my book!) and it’s about a veteran who is lured into crime by his boss’s mistress. If you have any other recommendations, please share!

And join me for Day 22 of Summer Under the Stars!

~ by shadowsandsatin on August 21, 2020.

6 Responses to “TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-One — Diana Dors”

  1. I hope you see this rec in time. Here Come the Huggetts is a fine showcase for Diana and the kick-off (after Holiday Camp) of a series of good-natured movies featuring the Huggett family.

    https://www.caftanwoman.com/2020/08/caftan-womans-choice-one-for-august-on.html

  2. Yes we know of her in the UK she was very popular for a long time l have always felt that she got mixed up with the wrong men she seemed to lack the strength of her contemporary Joan Collins when it came to the opposite sex in the context of a relationship; Joan always was good at understanding men.

    • She was so beautiful and talented, adept at both comedy and drama. I think she’s quite underrated, and overshadowed by her personal life, which is really sad. I especially enjoyed her in Man Bait and Here Come the Huggets.

  3. […] Day 21: Diana Dors […]

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