Sandra Dee


Actor
Sandra Dee

About

Also Known As
Alexandra Zuck
Birth Place
Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Born
April 23, 1942
Died
February 20, 2005
Cause of Death
Kidney Disease

Biography

A reigning teen star of the late 1950s and early 60s, whose pert innocence and saucy yet virginal sweetness struck a nerve with the pre-sexual revolution's youth audience until a more-knowning kind of twentysomething--the Tuesday Welds and Ann-Margrets--came to the fore. A successful child model from the age of ten, the petite, twinkly-eyed blonde Dee made her film debut in "Until They ...

Photos & Videos

Come September - Movie Posters
Gidget - Movie Posters
Until They Sail - Sandra Dee Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Bobby Darin
Husband
Married on December 1, 1960; separated in April 1966; divorce became final in December 1967; met while co-starring in "Come September" (1961); died in 1973.

Notes

There was a song in the 1972 hit stage musical "Grease" called "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" which poked fun at her squeaky-clean image.

Biography

A reigning teen star of the late 1950s and early 60s, whose pert innocence and saucy yet virginal sweetness struck a nerve with the pre-sexual revolution's youth audience until a more-knowning kind of twentysomething--the Tuesday Welds and Ann-Margrets--came to the fore.

A successful child model from the age of ten, the petite, twinkly-eyed blonde Dee made her film debut in "Until They Sail" in 1957 and starred in a series of popular romantic comedies ("Gidget" 1959) and melodramas ("Imitation of Life," "A Summer Place" both 1959, "Portrait in Black" 1960) usually as a good girl on the brink of sexual maturity. Dee also took over the title role from Debbie Reynolds in the popular "Tammy" film series, starring in "Tammy and the Doctor," (1963) and "Tammy Tell Me True" (1961). Her reality was not so squeaky clean, according to her 1991 interview with People magazine, Dee was sexually abused as a child by her stepfather and pushed into stardom by her mother.

At age 18, Dee wed brash singer-actor Bobby Darin, with whom she co-starred in "Come September" (1961), "If a Man Answers" (1962) and "That Funny Feeling" (1965). Her diminshing box office and dampening youth appeal was attributed by her Universal bosses to her rocky split from Darin, and they dropped her in 1965. Divorced in 1967 (though Darin remained the love of her life), she made her final screen appearances, including"The Dunwich Horror" (1970), a handful of telepics, and guest shots on such series as "Fantasy Island" and, in voice only, "Frasier." She only revealed in the 1990s her recovery from anorexia, drug and alcohol addiction, and the near-fatal depression that precipitated her premature, self-imposed retirement from the screen.

Spending nearly three years inside her home, Dee eventually turned her life around with the help of her son Dodd Darin, and after therapy began seeking a return to the screen. She has remained a pop culture touchstone: her name and image was evoked in 1978 with the film "Grease," which featured Olivia Newton-John's character Sandy modeled loosely on Dee, and Stockard Channing as Rizzo singing the tune "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee," mocking the teen idol's squeaky-clean image. And just prior to Dee's death in early 2005, her life with Darin was depicted in Kevin Spacey's loving Darin biopic "Beyond the Sea" (2004), with Kate Bosworth portraying the actress.

Life Events

1952

Moved from Long Island to Manhattan at age 10

1957

Went to Hollywood to test with producer Ross Hunter for "The Restless Years" (1958), signed to seven-year contract with Universal

1957

Loaned out to MGM to make film debut in "Until They Sail" before making "The Restless Years"

1970

Last film, "The Dunwich Horror"

Photo Collections

Come September - Movie Posters
Come September - Movie Posters
Gidget - Movie Posters
Here are two one-sheet movie posters for Gidget (1959). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters. Aside from the regular release poster, an advance one-sheet featuring Dick Clark is on view.
Until They Sail - Sandra Dee Publicity Stills
Here are several photos of model-turned-actress Sandra Dee, taken to help publicize MGM's Until They Sail (1957), Dee's film debut.
Until They Sail - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Until They Sail (1957), starring Paul Newman and Jean Simmons and directed by Robert Wise.

Videos

Movie Clip

Summer Place, A (1959) - I've Been A Good Girl! Rescued teens Molly (Sandra Dee) and John (Troy Donahue) return from their night stranded on a coastal island, her mother Helen (Constance Ford) assuming they have sinned, in Delmer Daves' A Summer Place, 1959.
Summer Place, A (1959) - Waiting To Be Kissed A version of the giant hit theme song by Max Steiner accompanies Johnny (Troy Donahue), son of the troubled couple that owns the resort, escorting Sandra Dee (as Molly), daughter of the VIP guests, with provocative talk and shots from writer-producer-director Delmer Daves in A Summer Place, 1959, from the novel by Sloan Wilson.
Summer Place, A (1959) - We've Spoiled Two Lives Critical revelations as well-to-do Ken (Richard Egan), visiting the island inn owned by Sylvia (Dorothy McGuire) and her useless boozy husband Bart, steps in to fix the roof and revisit their implied but so-far not confirmed old romance, a big moment in Delmer Davis’ hit melodrama A Summer Place, 1959, also starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue.
Imitation Of Life (1959) - A Falling Star! Susie (Sandra Dee) and Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) are now teens, Lora (Lana Turner) now a Broadway star and Annie (Juanita Moore) still her backup, when old flame Steve (John Gavin) shows up at a premiere party ten years later, in producer Ross Hunter's Imitation Of Life, 1959.
That Funny Feeling (1965) - All Men Are My Brothers Exposition about Bobby Darin as New York publishing exec Tom, who rings his apartment not realizing that the maid working there is Sandra Dee, the gal who turned his head minutes earlier on the way to work, then consulting with Donald O’Connor as his boss, early in That Funny Feeling, 1965.
Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding (1967) - Open, Five Of You! Nutty 60's comic opening leading to three suitors (Bill Bixby, Dwayne Hickman, Dick Kallman) rushing pregnant Sandra Dee, and her mother Celeste Holm, to the hospital, in Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding, 1967.
Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding (1967) - Take This Memo Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura!) is the first to help Heather (Sandra Dee) as she applies for a job with hot-shot executive Wycliff (George Hamilton), making his first appearance in Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding, 1967.
Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding (1967) - Strong Little Girl Heather grows up to be (Sandra Dee), first with stage-mother Louise (Celeste Holm) in the elevator she operates, then narrating her college career, then neighbor Dick (Bill Bixby) dropping by, in Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding, 1967.
Until They Sail (1957) - What Kind of Woman? New Zealand, 1945, Paul Newman as American officer Harding testifies about Delia (Piper Laurie), the sister of Barbara (Jean Simmons), who are both seen in flashback with their sisters Anne and Evelyn (Joan Fontaine, Sandra Dee), opening Until They Sail, 1957, from a James Michener story.
That Funny Feeling (1965) - My Eyes Were On That Girl Opening with Paul Frees narration, veteran Richard Thorpe directing for MGM, starting with the universe then narrowing down to what will be a triple meet-cute for married stars Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, Larry Blake the cop, in That Funny Feeling, 1965.
That Funny Feeling (1965) - That's Not What I Do For A Living The third and most elaborate chance collision between married stars Bobby Darin, as publisher Tom, and Sandra Dee as aspiring actress and housemaid Joan, who still haven’t realized she’s the one who cleans his apartment, Ben Lessy the bartender as they chat, in That Funny Feeling, 1965.
Come September (1961) - Analysis Would Help Him! Rich American Robert (Rock Hudson) hasn’t quite realized that butler Maurice (Walter Slezak) has turned his Italian villa into a hotel in his absence, and he’s still obfuscating when chaperone Brenda de Banzie and psych student Sandy (Sandra Dee) appear, in Come September, 1961.

Trailer

Romanoff And Juliet (1961) -- (Original Trailer) Peter Ustinov is director and star of the Hollywood version of his own London and Broadway hit play, starring John Gavin and Sandra Dee, Romanoff And Juliet, 1961.
Gidget - (Original Trailer) A young girl (Sandra Dee) dreams of winning acceptance from a gang of surfers.
Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding! - (Original Trailer) Four suitors pursue a pregnant singer (Sandra Dee) to the maternity ward.
Imitation of Life (1959) - (Original Trailer) Two mothers, one white, one black, face problems with their rebellious daughters in Douglas Sirk's Imitation Of Life (1959) starring Lana Turner.
Come September - (Original Trailer) A womanizing tycoon (Rock Hudson) ends up chaperoning a group of American girls who've rented his Italian villa in Come September (1961) with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.
Take Her, She's Mine - (Original Trailer) James Stewart attempts to protect his college-age daughter from trouble which leads to scandal in Take Her, She's Mine (1963).
Until They Sail - (Original Trailer) Four sisters in New Zealand fall for Allied sailors en route to World War II but can only have them Until They Sail (1957) starring Paul Newman.
Reluctant Debutante, The - (Original Trailer) British parents try to prepare their Americanized daughter for her social debut in The Reluctant Debutante (1958).
That Funny Feeling - (Original Trailer) A cleaning girl tries to pass off her workplace as her home, not knowing she's dating her boss in That Funny Feeling (1965).
Summer Place, A - (Original Trailer) An adulterous couple discovers that their children, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, are sexually involved in the Warner Bros. pot-boiler A Summer Place, 1959.

Family

Eugene Douvan
Step-Father
Owned New York real estate. Married Sandra Dee's mother 1950; died during heart surgery in 1956.
Dodd Mitchell Cassotto
Son
Born on December 16, 1961; married; first child, a daughter born in August 1996.

Companions

Bobby Darin
Husband
Married on December 1, 1960; separated in April 1966; divorce became final in December 1967; met while co-starring in "Come September" (1961); died in 1973.

Bibliography

Notes

There was a song in the 1972 hit stage musical "Grease" called "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" which poked fun at her squeaky-clean image.