Sandra Dee the original Gidget star dies at 62 years old
Sandra Dee the original Gidget movie star dead at 62 years of age.
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 February 2005: - - Sandra Dee the Actress who played the ledgend GIDGET, has died from kidney disease at age 62 years. Sandra passed away at 5:57am on Sunday Feb.20th at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks Calif. (L A County) not far from famed Malibu Point (Surfriders Beach).... the surf break she made famous to the masse4s as a teenage wannabee surfer girl growing up in the early 1960's in Souther California.
The Movie put surfing on the map for mainstream America and the rest of the world... as the Surfing Craze took off. Before the Movie, surfing was very much an underground activety with but a handfull perhaps 1000 Surfers worldwide..........R I P / S.D.
"Gidget", starring Sandra Dee in the title role, is the original smash hit movie that led to several sequels, including "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" & "Gidget Goes To Rome". It also inspired two different television series, the most famous being "Gidget" starring academy award winning actress Sally Field. The romantic teen-comedy centred around 16 year old Californian beach girl Gidget & her romantic encounters with 2 surfer boys ( James Darren & Cliff Robertson ) during the hot summer of 1959.
Robertson played the beach bum while Darren starred as Moondoggie, for the first time, the character that made him the pinup boy for teenage girls around the world. He was so popular in the role he went on to star in subsequent Gidget sequels. The role of Gidget lifted Sandra Dee to superstar status & she went on to star in other major Hollywood pictures such as "A Summer Place" with Troy Donahue & "The Wild & The Innocent" with American legend Audie Murphy.
The original "Gidget" was a light & breezy slice of teen entertainment. It will be remembered as a fun & good-natured film that helped to made household names of actors Sandra Dee, James Darren & Cliff Robertson.
Sandra Dee was born Alexandria Zuck on April 23, 1942 in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her mother envisioned a show business career for her daughter and would often lie about her age in order to get Sandy where she wanted to go. For example, her mother enrolled her in school early so she could have a head start. Sandy was only four years old when she entered the second grade.
Sandra was an extremely pretty young lady, which enabled her to get into modeling. In fact she was already very successful at her craft by the time she was 12 years old. This in turn led to television commercials for local companies, an added benefit for the young model. Through her mother's prodding and the talent scouts, Sandra was signed to do a movie when she was 14 called UNTIL THEY SAILED, released in 1957. While the film didn't exactly top the charts, it would lay the foundation for Sandra's career.
The new young actress was then signed to two more films for 1958, THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE and THE RESTLESS YEARS, the latter with a young actor, John Saxon. In 1959, Sandra appeared in five productions with GIDGET and A SUMMER PLACE being the two most popular. Sandra was 17 years old and becoming the heartthrob of teenage boys all across America.
In 1960, Sandra appeared in only one film, PORTRAIT IN BLACK, but is remembered by her for something else. She married teen idol Bobby Darin in December that year. It may have sunk a few teen boys' hearts, but most still were enamored of her. Her work, once again, took off. The 1961 releases were COME SEPTEMBER, ROMANOFF AND JULIET, and as Tammy Tyree in TAMMY TELL ME TRUE. Sandra had replaced the ever-popular Debbie Reynolds in the Tammy series, but the film and its 1963 sequel, TAMMY AND THE DOCTOR, didn't do all that well at the box-office. The films were now slowing for Sandra.
The last few that she made were I'D RATHER BE RICH (1964), THAT FUNNY FEELING (1965), A MAN COULD GET KILLED (1966), DOCTOR, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING (1967), and ROSIE! (1968). Her career was effectively over at 26. She had divorced Bobby Darin in 1967 and it was hard to get a role in films when she was looked at as a divorcee rather than a competent actress who could play parts other than a teenager.
Sandra did nail down the part of Nancy Wagner in 1970's The Dunwich Horror (1970). After four made for television movies in the 1970s, Sandra played in her last film for the silver screen, Lost (1983).
Compiled by O'Board
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