May 17, 2010

Diana Dors

At the Cannes Film Palace in 1956 where she attended the presentation of Yield to the Night

Diana Dors was born on October 23, 1931, in Swindon, England. Her birthname was Diana Mary Fluck, of which she is quoted as saying: "They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if my real name Diana Fluck was in lights and one of the lights blew..." She died on May 4, 1984, in Windsor, England, from ovarian cancer.

She was England's first homegrown sex symbol, and she would come to be known as "The English Marilyn Monroe." Dors was trained at The Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (RAMDA) and appeared on stage while still a young girl. She married three times, including once to Richard Dawson from 1959 to 1966.

In addition to appearing in films and on television, Dors made a few musical recordings, the most notable being her 1960 Columbia Records album, the cleverly titled Swinging Dors. One of the best known tunes from it was the wonderfully cheesy "Roller Coaster Blues."

Dors was paid a high compliment in 1967 when The Beatles chose to put her image on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band among the Fab Four's other pop cultural influences and heroes.

Dors appeared as the "Fairy Godmother" in the Adam Ant music video for "Prince Charming" in 1981:

Ray Davies wrote a tribute to Dors after she died for The Kinks' 1984 album, Word of Mouth:

"News of the world, tea and biscuits in bed.
The headlines said that Diana is dead.
She couldn’t act much but she put on a show.
She always smiled even when she felt low.
I used to fancy her a long time ago."

She is on the cover of The Smiths' 1995 compilation album, Singles.

In the 1970s

Here's a good British documentary about her life:


Amy said...

Married to Richard Dawson for 7 whole years, yikes.

She is something. But I'd say she's more the Brit version of Jayne Mansfield.

I was long past my Smiths phase by 1995 so I'd never seen that album cover.

Chris said...

Heh, yes, that must have been rough. If you watch that documentary, it's suggested he used her to further his own career as a comedian.

She had more....depth than Mansfield, who always just seems like a stupid bimbo to me, a cartoon character, really. Watch that documentary to around 2:44, and you'll see some pretty good acting from Dors. Like Monroe (unlike Mansfield), she actually trained and worked at it.

'95 is a bit late in the game for the "original" Smith fans!