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Sandra Dee

Real name: Alexandra Zuck
Birthdate: April 23, 1944
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Sandra Dee (April 23, 1942; see below) - February 20, 2005) was an American film actress best known for her role as the titular character in "Gidget" (1959).

Born Alexandria Zuck to Mary Cimboliak, who was of Rusyn ancestry, and John Zuck, in Bayonne, New Jersey. Renamed 'Sandra', she became a professional model by the age of four and subsequently progressed to television commercials. Sandra made her first film, Until They Sail, in 1957. There is some confusion as to her actual birth year, with evidence pointing to both 1942 and 1944.

In 1958 she won a Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer" (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).

Her marriage in 1960 to singer/actor Bobby Darin kept her in the public eye for much of the decade. She was under contract to Universal Studios, which 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, who took the name Dodd Mitchell Darin, but in 1967 she and Darin were divorced. (Bobby Darin died of heart disease on December 20, 1973.)

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 throat cancer and renal disease, but it later appeared that the throat scare was unfounded. Complications from the kidney failure (aka End Stage Renal Disease-ESRD), combined with a bout of pneumonia, led to her death on February 20, 2005, in Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California. She was 62.

Sandra Dee is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, not far from her mother Mary Douvan, who died December 27, 1987.

Sandra Dee is survived by son Dodd, her only child with Bobby Darin, daughter-in-law Audrey and two granddaughters, Alexa (after her grandmother's real name, Alexandra) and Olivia Darin.

In 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 has been dramatized in the 2004 film Beyond the Sea, in which she was played by Kate Bosworth.


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