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Pia Zadora

Pia Zadora

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Also Known As: Pia Alfreda Schipani, Pia Schipani Died:
Born: May 4, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A media personality and professional "guest star", Zadora was a seasoned child and teen performer who kept busy in the 1960s and 70s in a series of understudy and supporting roles on Broadway and in road companies before becoming the "Dubonnet Girl" of TV commercials in the late 70s. Starring in a series of ubiquitous advertisements finally brought the hardworking, ambitious actress a measure of the fame that had eluded her, one which increased after her marriage at 22 to reticent, paternal multimillionaire Meshulam Riklis, owner of Dubonnet's parent company.Petite, energetic, her hair generally blonde and highly teased, with kewpie-doll looks and mannerisms to match, Zadora became the focus of an incredible barrage of publicity engineered with the purpose of making her a multimedia sensation. Starring vehicles such as "Butterfly" (1981) and "The Lonely Lady" (1983), though, failed with both critics and the public and her surprise win at the Golden Globes as most promising newcomer of the year was enough to almost sabotage the reputation of the award and lead to an investigation. These days Zadora, having attracted enough attention to fuel a career as a "personality", is content to successfully...

A media personality and professional "guest star", Zadora was a seasoned child and teen performer who kept busy in the 1960s and 70s in a series of understudy and supporting roles on Broadway and in road companies before becoming the "Dubonnet Girl" of TV commercials in the late 70s. Starring in a series of ubiquitous advertisements finally brought the hardworking, ambitious actress a measure of the fame that had eluded her, one which increased after her marriage at 22 to reticent, paternal multimillionaire Meshulam Riklis, owner of Dubonnet's parent company.

Petite, energetic, her hair generally blonde and highly teased, with kewpie-doll looks and mannerisms to match, Zadora became the focus of an incredible barrage of publicity engineered with the purpose of making her a multimedia sensation. Starring vehicles such as "Butterfly" (1981) and "The Lonely Lady" (1983), though, failed with both critics and the public and her surprise win at the Golden Globes as most promising newcomer of the year was enough to almost sabotage the reputation of the award and lead to an investigation. These days Zadora, having attracted enough attention to fuel a career as a "personality", is content to successfully perform in an occasional concert, make cameo appearances in campy feature films and occasional appearances on stage.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 National Lampoon's Favorite Deadly Sins (1995) Herself ("Greed")
3.
 Troop Beverly Hills (1989) Herself
4.
 Hairspray (1988) Beatnik Girl
5.
 Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1985) Dee Dee
6.
 Lonely Lady, The (1983) Jerilee Randall
7.
 Fake-out (1982) Bobbie Warren
8.
 Butterfly (1981) Kady
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1961:
Broadway debut as Cleo June in "Midgie Purvis"; play closed after 21 performances
1961:
Was an understudy in short-lived Broadway play, "The Garden of Sweets"
1962:
Appeared in "We Take the Town," a musical version of "Viva Villa" starring Robert Preston
1964:
Made film debut in "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"
1964:
Replaced Linda Ross as Bielke, Tevye's youngest daughter, in the Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof"
1967:
Appeared in the chorus for "Henry, Sweet Henry," a musical version of the film, "The World of Henry Orient"
1968:
Replaced Bernadette Peters in the cast of the off-Broadway musical "Dames at Sea"
:
Attracted attention in the late 1970s as the "Dubonnet Girl" in TV commercials
1981:
First starring role in a film, as Kady in "Butterfly"; produced by husband Meshulam Riklis
1983:
Released the single, "The Clapping Song"; also performed song in the feature film, "The Lonely Lady"
1983:
Played leading role of Babette Latouche in the Showtime cable TV comedy special, "Pajama Tops"
1988:
Returned to feature films for a cameo role in John Waters's "Hairspray"
1994:
Played a small role in the comedy, "Naked Gun 33?: The Final Insult"
1995:
Returned to the Broadway stage in the musical "Crazy for You"
1996:
Retired from show business to concentrate on raising her family
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

High School of the Professional Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

During her first marriage, she and her husband Meshulam Riklis purchased 'Pickfair', the former home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, in 1988. Reportedly because of termite damage, they were forced to raze the mansion build a new house on the same site.

Director John Waters, in his book "Crackpot", discusses the qualities that made him cast Zadora in a cameo role in his film "Hairspray" (1988): "Pia is my kind of movie star. She's shorter than Elizabeth Taylor, cuter than Alvin the Chipmunk, richer than Cher, more publicized than Zsa Zsa, and has a better hairdo than Farrah."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Meshulam Riklis. Business executive. Married c. September 1977; headed the RapidAmerica Corporation; separated c. November 1993; divorced in 1995.
husband:
Jonathan Kaufer. Director. Married in August 1995; she filed for divorce in November 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Alfons Schipani. Violinist. Died in 1987.
mother:
Nina Schipani. Costume designer.
daughter:
Kady Riklis. Born on January 1, 1985.
son:
Kristofer Riklis. Born on March 2, 1987 in New York.
son:
Jordan Maxwell Kaufer. Born April 13, 1997.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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