Diana Dors Biography

PHOTO: Diana Dors

Diana Dors, born Diana Fluck, was Britain’s forerunner to Marilyn Monroe. Though stereotyped as a post-war good time girl, she was more, bringing talent and sensuality to the British cinema, as well as driving men wild with her mink bikini.

The railway town of Swindon was an unprepossessing start for a starlet, but Diana loved film from the age of three. Her mother lavished Diana with gifts and her father begrudgingly sent her to the best private schools.

Physically and socially mature for her age, Dors became a pin-up girl at 13. She lied to the photographers and later directors, claiming she was 17. Her first flirt with the camera came at 15, in 'The Shop at Sly Corner'. She played the beautiful blonde in the background, a role that she was to repeat with frequency, along with that of a gold-digger.

She trained at the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (RAMDA) and cornered the market as a sex-pot with character. In 1948, she appeared in six films, some unaccredited walk-ons, others with actual character; the best as Charlotte in 'Oliver Twist'.

On 3 July she married Dennis Hamilton after meeting him five weeks earlier. They started divorce proceedings in 1958 but Hamilton died in 1959.

A genius at publicity, whether through her love life or her attire, Dors was a glamour sensation, unrivalled throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. Over this period she starred in a wide range of films and TV series' including 'Lady Godiva Rides Again' (1951, 'The Great Game' (1953), 'A Kid for Two Farthings' (1955), 'Yield to the Night' (1956), 'The Big Bankroll' (1961) and 'Baby Love' in 1968.

Dors married Richard Dawson on 12 April 1959 and they had two sons Mark Dawson, who is now an actor, and Gary before divorcing in 1966.

On 23 November 1968, she married for the last time to Alan Lake, with whom she had a son called Jason.

She was a darling of the tabloid press and a good friend of the notorious East End gangsters, The Kray twins. Dors was also a close friend of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, after Ellis had a cameo role in 'Lady Godiva Rides Again'.

As age advanced and she was no longer able to rely just on her siren status, Dors developed into a credible character actress in the 1970s, playing in 'The Amazing Mr. Blunden' and 'Steaming'. She also tried, but failed, to become a success in Hollywood.

She did, however, appear in plenty of popular TV shows in the decade including 'Queenie's Castle' between 1970 and 1972, 'All Our Saturdays' (1973), 'Just William (1977-78) and an episode of the 'The Sweeny' in 1978.

Her last jobs were as Adam Ant's fairy godmother in the video of 'Prince Charming', and also as an agony aunt on GMTV.

On 4 May 1984, Dors died at the age of 52 from ovarian cancer, which had been diagnosed two years previously. She was buried at Sunningdale Catholic Cemetery, having converted to the religion in 1973. Her widower Lake burnt all her clothes and committed suicide five months after her death.

She left around £2 million in banks around Europe at her death leaving a secret code to her son Matthew to access the fortune. However, Lake had the key meaning the money has still not been found.

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