Sandra Dee (April 23, 1942 – February 20, 2005) was an American film 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 as a result of kidney failure, combined with pneumonia.
Dee was born Alexandra Cymboliak Zuck to John and Mary (née Cymboliak) Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her parents later divorced. Her mother was of Ruthenian ancestry. Changing her name to "Sandra", she became a professional model by the age of four and subsequently progressed to television commercials.
There was some confusion as to her actual birth year, with evidence pointing to both 1942 and 1944, however Intelius indicates 1942 (see Intelius search). According to her son Dodd Darin in his book Dream Lovers she was born in 1944, she and her mother having lied to everyone about her age so she could work.Sandra Dee made her first film, Until They Sail, in 1957, and the following year, she won a Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress, along with Carolyn Jones and Diane Varsi. Her film career flourished, and she became known for her wholesome ingenue roles in such films as Imitation of Life, Gidget and A Summer Place, all in 1959. She later played "Tammy" in two Universal sequels to Tammy and the Bachelor in the role created by Debbie Reynolds.
During the 1970s she took very few acting roles, but made occasional television appearances. Her 1950s persona was the inspiration for the song "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee", featured in the 1972 Broadway musical Grease, and the 1978 film version.
Her marriage in 1960, at the age of 18, to Bobby Darin kept her in the public eye for much of the decade. She was under contract to Universal Studios, who tried to develop Dee into a mature actress, and the films she made as an adult - including a few with Darin - were moderately successful. They had one son together, Dodd Mitchell Darin (also known as Morgan Mitchell Darin). She and Darin divorced in 1967.Dee's adult years were marked by ill health. She admitted that for most of her life she battled anorexia nervosa, depression and alcoholism. In 2000, it was reported that she had been diagnosed with several ailments, including throat cancer and kidney disease. Complications of kidney failure, combined with pneumonia, led to her death on February 20, 2005, at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California. She was 62 years old, although some reports at the time indicated she was 60.
Sandra Dee 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.
Dee is survived by her son Dodd, her daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, Alexa and Olivia.
1994, Dodd wrote 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.
Her life with Bobby Darin was dramatized in the 2004 film Beyond the Sea, in which Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin and Dee was played by Kate Bosworth.
(voice in 1959 English-dubbed version)
Until They Sail (1957)
The Reluctant Debutante (1958)
The Restless Years (1958)
A Stranger in My Arms (1959)
Imitation of Life (1959)
The Wild and the Innocent (1959)
A Summer Place (1959)
Portrait in Black (1960)
Romanoff and Juliet (1961)
Tammy Tell Me True (1961)
Come September (1961)
If a Man Answers (1962)
Tammy and the Doctor (1963)
Take Her, She's Mine (1963)
I'd Rather Be Rich (1964)
That Funny Feeling (1965)
A Man Could Get Killed (1966)
Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding (1967)
The Dunwich Horror (1970)
East of Marsa Matruh (1971)