Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, on April 23, 1942, Sandra Dee made a splash portraying ingénues in 1950s and 1960s teen films. The late 1960s found her career stumbling, however, and her highly publicized marriage to singer/actor Bobby Darin ended in 1967.
Sandra Dee was born Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey, on April 23, 1942. By age 12, she was a successful model, and she was just 14 when she was signed to her first film, Until They Sail (1957). In 1959, Dee hit box-office success with the beach movie Gidget and the young-love movie A Summer Place. The theme song from A Summer Place became a big hit, and the movie became a touchstone for many young people.
In 1960, Sandra Dee filmed Come September with pop idol Bobby Darin, and they married that same year. Although their marriage remained a secret for years, the couple appeared together in If a Man Answers (1962) and That Funny Feeling (1965). From 1960 through 1963, Dee was one of Hollywood’s top moneymakers, peaking in 1961, the year she took over the role of Tambrey “Tammy” Tyree from Debbie Reynolds, for whom the character was created in 1957’s Tammy and the Bachelor. Dee appeared in two “Tammy” films, but her portrayal of the character never caught on with audiences. Dee appeared in only six other films in the 1960s, and her 1967 divorce from Bobby Darin also marked the end of her short-lived stardom.
The 1970s and 1980s
Sandra Dee found herself a divorcee in 1967, and the landscape of Hollywood films had also changed: Audiences no longer lined up to see the sugary-sweet fare that made her a star in the early 1960s. Dee appeared in only one (verifiable) big-screen film in the 1970s, The Dunwich Horror (1970), although she starred in four made-for-TV movies. In the 1970s, she played roles on various TV series, such as Night Gallery; Love, American Style; and Fantasy Island. In 1983, she appeared again on Fantasy Island and in her final film, Lost.
Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin had one child together, Dodd Mitchell Darin. Dodd Mitchell later penned 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, her drug and alcohol problems, and the sexual abuse Dee suffered as a child.
Six years after their divorce, in 1973, Bobby Darin died. Sandra Dee died from complications from kidney disease in February 2005 in Thousand Oaks, California.
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