Diana Dors

Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's Marilyn Monroe", during the 1950s British actress Diana Dors was boom chicka wah wah. Dors's curvaceous body, perky breasts, silkily coiffed platinum hair and husky but feisty personality stood out like a lava lamp in a bat cave.

The luscious Diana Dors (doctormacro.com)
Born in Wiltshire in 1931 with the unfortunate surname of Fluck (oh those rhyming slang jokes must have jarred!), Dors studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and at the delicate age of 16, was already under contract to the Rank Organization, the largest film company in Britain at that time.

Typecast, she often played the ill-fated blonde in B grade films, sexed up and alluring but never destined to settle down happily behind the picket fence. As actor Rod Steiger put it "she was swamped in an image", yet her powerful personality tended to transcend the pigeon-holing - the viewer was always aware it was Dors on the screen and not a generic brittle blonde. Her best onscreen perfomance is widely considered to be her portrayal of a toxic murderess in the 1956 thriller, Yield to the Night, directed by J Lee Thompson. It was a role that actually required her to act and she was not afraid to strip away the outward markers of her sex appeal, to let her dark roots show beneath the platinum and play a makeup-less woman in bleak prison garb, teetering on the edge of annihilation.

Promo poster for "Yield to the Night"

I said to this priest: 'Am I expected to believe that if I went out and had an affair that God was really going to be upset? Okay, thou shalt not kill... steal... but thou shalt not commit adultery? If no one is any the wiser, what the hell difference does it make?' He was lovely. He told me the Commandments were laid down for a lot of guys living in the desert.~ Diana Dors

According to some of her contemporaries, her films were never as important as the men in her life, thus she never struggled hard enough to play the high, dramatic roles. Dors did in fact possesss considerable talent and many of her later films, after she'd piled on the weight and lost the seductress tag, reveal a fine character actress. In the 70's and 80's she regained a large measure of popularity through a succession of television roles that highlighted her dramatic skills.

Dors and Hamilton in the 1950s
Married three times, to Dennis Hamilton, Richard Dawson and Alan Lake, it was perhaps her tumultuous relationship with  Hamilton that is most revealing of her personality. Hamilton, who reputedly loved "sex, money and power" was a control freak and had her turned into a company, Diana Dors Ltd. and he owned or managed most of her assets - financial and physical and when she tried to extricate herself from him, things got messy, with Hamilton forcing her at gunpoint to hand over all her the majority of her assets to him. Hamilton died of syphillus in 1959, before divorce proceedings could go through but not before he had spent much of her money..

Dors seemed to attract men who spelt trouble with capital T and perhaps, as some have suggested, that was the attraction. Her life, like her looks, was high drama and sensationalism. Dors died at the age of 52 from ovarian cancer, leaving behind two sons and her third husband Alan Lake, to whom she had been married, again tumltously (Lake was a serious drinker)  for 16 years.

Jane Russell
The Platinum Blonde