|Height:||166 cm (5' 6'')|
|Birth Day:||October 23, 1931|
|Death Date:||May 4, 1984 (age 52)|
As per our current Database, Diana Dors died on May 4, 1984 (age 52).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|166 cm (5' 6'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
She was able to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art at age 14 after lying about her age.
Diana Mary Fluck was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, on 23 October 1931 at the Haven Nursing Home, Kent Road, Swindon, Wiltshire. Her mother Winifred Maud Mary (Payne) was married to Albert Edward Sidney Fluck, a railway clerk. Mary had been having an affair with another man, and when she announced she was pregnant with Diana, she admitted she had no clear idea if he or her husband was the father.
Having excelled in her elocution studies, after lying about her age, at 14 she was offered a place to study at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), becoming the college's youngest student, starting in January 1946.
Following her return to LAMDA, she graduated in spring 1947 by winning the London Films Cup, awarded to LAMDA by Sir Alexander Korda for the "girl most likely to succeed in films". Greta Gynt presented the award to her at a ceremony. Dors timed her return to Swindon to visit her parents, with the local release of The Shop at Sly Corner.
Her first film under contract to Rank was Streets Paved with Water where she was the fourth lead; filming started in July 1947 but was cancelled after a month. She had a small role as a maid in Gainsborough's The Calendar (1948), and a good part in Good-Time Girl (1948), as a troubled teen being warned at the beginning and end of the film. She then played the role of Charlotte in Rank's adaptation of Oliver Twist (1948), directed by David Lean.
In August 1948 Rank announced Dors would be one of its young players that they would be building up into stars. (The others included David Tomlinson, Susan Shaw, Patricia Plunkett, Sally Ann Howes and Derek Bond.) In September she was in A Boy, a Girl and a Bike (1949) by which stage her fee was £30 a week; she says that the movie took six months to shoot.
In November 1949 Dors was contracted out to Ealing Studios who put her in Dance Hall (1950), as one of the four female leads, along with Natasha Perry, Petula Clark and Jane Hylton. Dors later called it "a ghastly film - quite one of the nastiest I ever made" although she received good personal reviews.
In 1949, while filming Diamond City, she had a relationship with businessman Michael Caborn-Waterfield, the son of the Count Del-Colnaghi, who later founded the Ann Summers chain, which he named after his cousin/secretary. During the short relationship, Dors became pregnant, but Caborn-Waterfield paid for a back-street abortion, which took place on a kitchen table in Battersea. The relationship continued for a time, before Dors met Dennis Hamilton Gittins on the set of Lady Godiva Rides Again, with whom she had a second abortion in 1951.
In February 1950 she went into the play Man of the World with Lionel Jeffries and Roger Livesey, directed by Kenneth Tynan. It which opened at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. It only had a short run but she received strong personal noticces and was awarded Theatre World magazine's Actress of the Year Award.
However Diamond City flopped at the box office and with Rank now £18 million in debt, Rank closed their "Charm School" and made Dors redundant in September 1950. David Shipman argued that "though the Rank Organization knew how to put Dors through its Charm School paces they had no idea how to handle such an individual talent."
With her boyfriend in jail and having just undergone her first abortion, Dors met Dennis Hamilton Gittins in May 1951 while filming Lady Godiva Rides Again for Rank, a film which has uncredited appearances by Joan Collins, and a four-months pregnant Ruth Ellis. (Dors described herself as "the only sex symbol Britain has produced since Lady Godiva".) The couple married five weeks later at Caxton Hall on Monday, 3 July 1951.
In December 1951 a newspaper reported that " likeliest British names for glamor in 1952 are probably Britain's Glynis Johns and plumpish Diana Dors. Both are going to Hollywood." She gained a second offer from Burt Lancaster for a lead role in his His Majesty O'Keefe (1954), but this time Hamilton turned down the part on her behalf before she even knew of the offer. The result was that her early career was restricted to mainly British films.
In April 1952 Dors appeared in a stage revue with Wally Chrisham, Rendezvous which eventually made it to London.Variety said in May she made the "only noteworthy contribution" to the play which ultimately only had a short run. However until Hamilton's guidance she received enormous publicity. Dors later said these reviews, in addition to Hamilton's publicity, helped turn her career around. Dors later said Hamilton "promoted me strictly as a sex symbol, never as an actress. But it served its purpose and at the time it was fun."
In December 1952 Dors appeared on stage in It Remains to be Seen which only ran seven performances. The Observer said Dors "bangs at it with goodwill." The 'Daily Telegraph said she "carries blondeness to its ultimate pitch, works very hard and is likeable as a good-hearted little trollop."
In March 1953 Dors did a cabaret act in Glasgow. Variety said she showed "little ability to be a personality act." She began touring a variety act and would perform variations of this act throughout her career.
Adelphi were impressed by Dors in February 1953 announced they had bought the screen rights to the popular play Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? (1953) as a vehicle for Dors; it was directed by Elvey in April. Her fee was £1,000 for four weeks work. She was paid that for another comedy, It's a Grand Life (1953) with Frank Randle.
Dors had a support part for Hammer in The Saint's Return (1954). In September 1953 the producer of that movie Julian Lesser announced he had an option for Dors' services on two more movies.
Dors career stepped up another level when cast in a supporting role in a prison drama, The Weak and the Wicked (1954), directed by J. Lee Thompson alongside Glynis Johns. She made the movie in August 1953, only a few weeks after having been convicted in real life of stealing alcohol from a friend's house. By this stage she was earning a reported £12,000 a year. When the film came out it was a big hit in Britain and earned Dors some excellent reviews.
She played Aladdin as a Christmas pantomime in 1953 and did "The Lovely Place" for Rheingold Theatre on TV. In April 1954 she said "I'm picking and choosing my parts now. That doesn't mean I'm waiting for the perfect part, but I'm sick to death of being the sexy siren."
The earliest recordings of Dors were two sides of a 78-rpm single released on HMV Records in 1953. The tracks were "I Feel So Mmmm" and "A Kiss and a Cuddle (and a Few Kind Words From You)". HMV also released sheet music featuring sultry photos of Dors on the cover. She also sang "The Hokey Pokey Polka" on the 1954 soundtrack for the film As Long As They're Happy.
In 1954, Hamilton had the idea of exploiting the newly printed technology of 3D. He engaged photographer Horace Roye to take a number of nude and semi-nude photographs of Dors which Hamilton subsequently had published in two forms; the semi-nude pictures were issued as a set called "Diana Dors 3D: the ultimate British Sex Symbol", which was sold together with a pair of 3D glasses; the full-nude test shot photographs became part of Roye's booklet London Models (1954). Police pressed charges, alleging the books were obscene but a court ruled that they were not.
Adelphi called her back for Miss Tulip Stays the Night (1955) for a fee of £1,500. She then played one of the leads in A Kid for Two Farthings (1955), directed by Carol Reed in mid 1954 for Alex Korda, paid £1,700; the film was one of the most popular movies of 1955 in Britain. Dors was offered the female lead in Thompson's As Long as They're Happy (1955) with Jack Buchanan but was unable to accept; she agreed to do a guest role instead at £200 a day.
In October 1954 questions were asked in Parliament about why she was allowed to claim her mink coat as a tax deduction.
In December 1954 she reportedly turned down a seven-year contract with Rank worth £100,000 because she could make more freelance. She did sign a three-picture deal with Rank worth £15,000. The first of this was Value for Money (1955) for director Ken Annakin starring with John Gregson, filmed in early 1955. and An Alligator Named Daisy (1955), directed by Thompson, also for Rank, starring Donald Sinden.
The success of her movies, particularly Kid for Two Farthings, led to British exhibitors voted her the ninth-most popular British star at the box office in 1955 – the sole female star in the top ten. She ranked after Dirk Bogarde, John Mills, Norman Wisdom, Alastair Sim, Kenneth More, Jack Hawkins, Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, and in front of Alec Guinness In November 1955 the press criticised her for wearing revealing necklines when meeting royalty.
Dors made a fourth film with Thompson, Yield to the Night (1956), filmed in late 1955. It was a crime drama with Dors playing a role similar to Ruth Ellis. She received some of the best reviews of her career. She was acclaimed at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
Dors' performance attracted interest in Hollywood. In February 1956 she guest starred on a TV special Bob Hope made in England.
In May 1956 Dors signed a contract with RKO to support George Gobel in I Married a Woman. She left Southampton on board the Queen Elizabeth for New York City and then to Hollywood.
In July 1956 Dors – through her company, Treasure Pictures – signed a contract with RKO Pictures to make three more movies, the first of which was to be The Unholy Wife (1957) with Steiger, which started filming in September. Her fee was a reported $75,000, with the other films to go up $25,000. Dors reportedly had an affair with Rod Steiger during the filming of The Unholy Wife. In October 1956, Hamilton started an affair with Raymond's estranged wife in London. In November, Dors announced she and Hamilton were separating. Dors later said "They tried getting me in the gas chamber again in Hollywood.. but [the film] wasn’t good. They edited it badly."
William Dozier of RKO announced Dors would star in Blondes Prefer Gentlemen with Eddie Fisher, but the film was never made. In August 1956 she announced she had signed a one-picture deal to appear in a Bob Hope movie. This never happened – nether did a project Robert Aldrich announced he wanted to make with Dors and Paul Douglas at UA, Potluck for Pomeroy.
Hamilton and Raymond arranged a Hollywood launch party at Raymond's house in August 1956, with a guest list that included Doris Day, Eddie Fisher, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Liberace, Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, and John Wayne. After 30 minutes while lining up next to Raymond's pool with her US agent Louis Shurr and her dress designer Howard Shoup, all four, including Dors and Hamilton, were pushed into the pool after the party crowd and photographers surged forward. Hamilton emerged from the pool and hit the first photographer before he could be restrained. The headlines in the National Enquirer read: "Miss Dors Go Home – And Take Mr. Dors With You". Because of the resulting negative publicity, the couple failed to buy Lana Turner's house, settling into a rental property in Coldwater Canyon.
In England she made The Long Haul (1957) for Columbia with Victor Mature, which started filming in February 1957. While making The Long Haul, Dors started a relationship with co-star Victor Mature's stuntman, Tommy Yeardye. Details about the affair were reportedly leaked to the press by Yeardye.
Gerd Oswald wanted her for The Blonde. In October 1957 Hedda Hopper reported that Dors intended to make the last two films under her RKO contract but Hopper thought "she was just whistling Dixie."
Diana Dors was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in April 1957 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre, and in October 1982, when Andrews surprised her at London's Royalty Theatre.
She and Gassman were to reunite in Strange Holiday but it was not made. She was a prostitute in Passport to Shame (1958). In August 1958 she reported she had been robbed of £11,000. She made a series of advertisements believed to have earned her £25,000.
Dors' RKO films flopped and RKO elected not to make the other two films. In December 1958 RKO terminated its contract with Dors alleging she "has become an object of disgrace, obloquy, ill will and ridicule." Dors sued the studio for $1,250,000 in damages. (In July 1960 she settled for $200,000.)
Following her final separation from Hamilton in 1958, Dors discovered that her company Diana Dors Ltd was in serious debt. Hamilton had steered the company toward the dual purpose of publicising his wife and helping himself, overpaying tax bills and establishing financial stability.
In July 1958 Dors was the top of the bill act at a cabaret in Coventry, being paid £2,500 a week.
Dors became an early subject of the "celebrity exposé" tabloids, appearing regularly in the News of the World. In large part, she brought this notoriety upon herself. In desperate need of cash after her separation from Hamilton in 1958, she gave an interview in which she described their lives and the adult group parties in full, frank detail. The interview was serialised in the tabloid for 12 weeks, followed by an extended six-week series of sensational stories, creating negative publicity. Subsequently, the Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher denounced Dors as a "wayward hussy".
Joseph Kaufman announced he wanted to make a film starring her called Stopover but it was never made. In May 1959 she said she wanted to retire from acting and focus on her other interests, including a shampoo factory. She had a cameo on Scent of Mystery shot in Spain.
Yeardye suggested that they hire the comedian Dickie Dawson, later known as Richard Dawson. Dawson subsequently scripted the show and wrote most of the material. Dors started a relationship with Dawson and ended the relationship with Yeardye, who subsequently emptied her cash box at Harrods of £18,000 and sold his story to the media. This brought negative publicity to the show, but audience numbers remained high, which allowed Dors extra time to explain her affairs to a subsequent Inland Revenue investigation of her cash holdings. In 1959, Hamilton died, and Dors married Dawson in New York while making an appearance on The Steve Allen Show. "The Diana Dors Show" was commissioned for two studio-based series on television at ITV.
In 1959 Variety said Sabrina was "to Diana Dors in Britain what Jayne Mansfield is to Marilyn Monroe."
She also sang as a special guest for the Italian TV show Un, due, tre (One, two, three, starring Ugo Tognazzi and Raimondo Vianello) on 31 May 1959, at the Teatro della Fiera in Milan, with orchestra conducted by Mario Bertolazzi and recorded singles on various record labels from the 1960s through the early 1980s, including a single for the Nomis label, "Where Did They Go?" / "It's You Again" (the latter being a duet with her son, Gary Dawson), while she was battling cancer. While promoting the single on TV, Dors claimed "Where Did They Go?" had been especially written for her, but in fact, the track had been recorded originally by Peggy Lee in 1971 and in 1972 by Sandie Shaw.
In 1960 was announced Dors and Dawson would make a film of the stage show Grab Me a Gondola but it never eventuated.
After the birth of her first child in February 1960, and wishing to stay in the United States with Dawson, Dors undertook a cabaret contract to headline at the Dunes hotel and casino in Las Vegas. In September 1960 she did a cabaret act at Ciro's which Variety said was "pleasant enough".
Having turned her life story into a cash flow through interviews and leaked tabloid stories, like many celebrities in their later careers, she turned to the autobiography to generate retirement cash. In 1960 she wrote and published Swingin' Dors and between 1978 and 1984, she published four autobiographical books under her own name: For Adults Only, Behind Closed Dors, Dors by Diana, and A. to Z. of Men.
Dors recorded only one complete album, the swing-themed Swingin' Dors, in 1960. The LP was originally released on red vinyl and with a gatefold sleeve. The accompanying orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott.
Dors returned to Britain. In 1961 she narrowly escaped death at a Guy Fawkes Night party in Wraysbury where fireworks were accidentally ignited indoors. The house was destroyed, three people died in the fire and another one had a fatal heart attack, and Dors was slightly injured while escaping through a window.
In the early 1960s she was living in Los Angeles. While there she guest starred on episodes of Burke's Law and The Eleventh Hour, and starred in a 1963 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "Run for Doom", co-starring John Gavin as well as an episode of Straightaway and Armchair Theatre in Britain.
She toured Australia in 1963. While there she said 1956 was "my biggest year, "and you never can tell whether you will do it again. That is what makes show business so fascinating —you never can tell."
Dors divorced Dawson in 1966 and returned to the UK in order to find work, leaving behind her two sons. She resumed cabaret work with her pianist and musical director Denny Termer, and subsequently was served with a writ of bankruptcy. As her popularity had fallen, this time she was touring working men's clubs, and smaller venues.
In June 1968 she reported that she owed £53,000, of which £48,000 was to the Inland Revenue, and had assets of a little over £200. She declared bankruptcy in October 1968.
Dors' film career was now strictly supporting roles: Danger Route (1967); Berserk! (1967), with Joan Crawford; Hammerhead (1968); Baby Love (1968); Deep End (1970); and There's a Girl in My Soup (1970). She returned to the West End in 1970 for the first time in 17 years in a play called Three Months Gone.
She had converted to Catholicism in early 1973; hence, her funeral service was held at the Sacred Heart Church in Sunningdale on 11 May 1984, conducted by Father Theodore Fontanari. She was buried in Sunningdale Catholic Cemetery.
In 1974, she appeared on stage in a production of Oedipus Rex.
She was in episodes of Just William, The Sweeney, Hammer House of Horror, and Shoestring. In 1977 she won a court battle to prevent Wolf Rilla from writing a biography based on interviews she had done with Rilla.
In 1979 while touring Australia she said "I used to think it was a lot of hooey that life begins at 40. But I know what I can put up with; I've mellowed. I'm a homey person, although I don't expect people to believe it."
Although her film work consisted mainly of sex comedies, her popularity climbed thanks to her television work, where her wit, intelligence, and catchy one-liners developed as a cabaret performer won over viewers. She became a regular on Jokers Wild, Blankety Blank and Celebrity Squares, and was a regular guest on BBC Radio 2's The Law Game. She also had a recurring role in The Two Ronnies in 1980. A popular chat-show guest, an entire show – Russell Harty: At Home with Dors – came from the pool room of her home, Orchard Manor. Younger musical artists engaged her persona, brought about after the 1981 Adam and the Ants music video "Prince Charming", where she played the fairy godmother opposite Adam Ant, who played a male Cinderella figure.
Dors claimed to have hidden away more than £2 million in banks across Europe. In 1982, she gave her son Mark Dawson a sheet of paper on which, she told him, was a code that would reveal the whereabouts of the money. His stepfather Alan Lake supposedly knew the key that would crack the code, but he committed suicide soon after her death and Dawson was left with an apparently unsolvable puzzle.
Her last public appearance was in cabaret at Harpoon Louie's, Earls Court, West London, on 15 April 1984 where she looked considerably frail but stood throughout her whole set. Her final (posthumous) film appearance was in Steaming (1985).
Towards the end of her life Dors had meningitis and twice underwent surgery to remove cancerous tumours. She collapsed at her home near Windsor with acute stomach pains and died on 4 May 1984, aged 52, at the BMI Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor from a recurrence of ovarian cancer, first diagnosed two years before.
After her death, Alan Lake burned all of Dors' remaining clothes and fell into a depression. On 10 October 1984, Lake did a telephone interview with Daily Express journalist Jean Rook and then walked into their son's bedroom and took his own life by firing a shotgun into his mouth. He was 43. This was five months after her death from cancer, and 16 years to the day since they had first met.
He sought out computer forensic specialists Inforenz, who recognised the encryption as the Vigenère cipher. Inforenz then used their own cryptanalysis software to suggest a 10-letter decryption key, DMARYFLUCK (short for Diana Mary Fluck, Dors's real name). With the aid of a bank statement found among Alan Lake's papers, Inforenz was then able to decode the existing material to reveal a list of surnames and towns only – suggesting that there must be a second page that would reveal first names and bank details, to complete the message. As this has never come to light, no money has ever been traced. In 2003, UK Channel 4 made a television programme about the mystery.
On 14 September 2019, Jason Dors Lake, the son of Diana Dors and Alan Lake, was reported to have died several days after his 50th birthday at his flat in Notting Hill Gate, London.
Currently, Diana Dors is 91 years, 7 months and 18 days old. Diana Dors will celebrate 92nd birthday on a Monday 23rd of October 2023.
Find out about Diana Dors birthday activities in timeline view here.