She began as Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe but with a decided difference -- -whereas Marilyn and Jayne Mansfield were unattainable and basically goddesses – Diana Dors was undeniably common and endearing. She was a post-war good time girl who sent hearts racing in her mink bikini and sassy demeanor! She provided an interesting contrast --- she looked completely artificial but acted utterly natural. She was most favorably cast as a busty blonde good time girl who liked her ale and laughs and a periodic role in the hay.

The woman (and tabloid darling) with a natural flair for publicity was born Diana Mary Fluck at the Haven Nursing Home in Swindon on October 23rd, 1931 and wore a patch as a girl to correct a lazy eye and was also born with naturally brown hair.But this Swindon native had stars in her eyes and her sights were set on decidedly greener pastures. The quest for stardom was a constant in her young life.

She had a great quote about seeing her name in lights – “I needed to change my name (she adopted ‘Dors’, her grandmother’s surname – and dyed her hair shortly thereafter as well) …I mean what if there it was up in lights (Fluck) and one of the lights blew…” She was saucy indeed! The always-approachable star was the product of a determined mother who launched Diana into the big time after the girl won a beauty contest at the age of 13. Mature for her age she lied and was soon being cast and recorded as 17! Soon after she married her first husband Dennis Hamilton (at age 17) who helped orchestrate her early career and starred her in a number of British films good time girls in such flicks as Charlotte in ‘Oliver Twist’ (1948), ‘Dance Hall’ (1950), ‘Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951) – this was the film that truly launched her career after The American Board of Film Censors demanded the film be censored and ordered her navel to be properly covered! This film was followed by ‘The Weak and the Wicked’ (1953), and ‘Blonde Sinner’ (1956) in which she is executed by hanging. In 1955 she was presented to the Queen at the Royal Command Performance. By 1956 the girl from the wrong side of the tracks was Britain’s highest paid film star.

On a personal front Dennis Hamilton died before their divorce was finalized and she then married ‘Hogan’s Heroes’/’Family Feud’ “survey says” host Richard Dawson. That marriage produced 2 sons. In the mid 1950s Hollywood came calling and Diana was more than ready. It all seemed so promising. She trekked the Atlantic to star in such films as ‘An Alligator named Daisy’ (1955), ‘The Broadway Jungle’ (1955), ‘I Married a Woman’ (1957), ‘The Unholy Wife’ (1957), ‘Yield to the Night’ (1956) as the woman condemned to hang. That same year there was a scandal involving an affair with Rod Steiger. These films were followed by ‘The Long Haul’ (1957), ‘The Lady and The Prowler’ (1958), ‘The Married a Woman’ (1958), etc. At this point the saucy actress was even denounced by The Archbishop of Canterbury!

During this period she separated from Dawson (eventually divorcing him in 1967), bankruptcy and tough times followed. In the meantime she had returned to England to basically resume her career. But things were never to be quite the same for around this time the shapely gal had become more of a buxom and blowsy blonde – and those roles also suited her rather well. Shortly thereafter she married actor Arthur Lake – after a 6-week whirlwind courtship.

The former sexpot would actually find greater success (after packing on a few pounds) as a blowsy character actress. She appeared twice in the Alfred Hitchcock presents series – in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (1962) she is cut in half by a crazed magician --- a fate she suffered as well in the 1968 fright flick ‘Berserk!’. The following year (1963) she starred in the Hitchcock segment ‘Run for Doom’ in which she is viciously strangled. A slew of tragic roles continued: In ‘Baby Love’ (1968) Dors stars as Liz and slits her wrists in the tub, ‘Crazed’ (1973) with Jack Palance and Trevor Howard, enduring the big top circus shenanigans as trampy Matilda in ‘Berserk’ (1968) opposite Joan Crawford in which Dors is actually sawed in half(!), , ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ (1981) with David Hemmings, ‘Children of the Full Moon’ (1982) with Simon MacCorkindale, as a nagging housewife due to get hers in ‘From Beyond the Grave’ with Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasence, and David Warner, as Maisie Psaltry (smothered by a pillow) in ‘Theatre of Blood’ (1973) with Vincent Price and Diana Rigg, ‘Nothing But the Night’ (1972) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, etc.

Aside from being an actress and tabloid regular, Ms. Dors gained notoriety and rock immortality by other means --- she was featured as the blonde on the front row of the Beatles classic album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Sadly, in 1982 this vivacious and unique screen presence was rushed to the hospital where she was found to have a severe ovarian cyst, which had ruptured. The cyst was malignant and the actress was diagnosed with cancer. The following year it was discovered that the malignant cells had spread to her stomach and the cancer had returned. Rather than shy away from the news she wrote a column about her trials and even accepted a wonderful role – on of her finest as the proprietress of a water spa in her final film ‘Steaming’ with Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles. She was also voted television personality of the year in 1983. Despite the treatments it was discovered the cancer had aggressively spread – even to her bone marrow. Eventually the wondrous Diana Dors was to pass away from the disease (stomach cancer) on May 4th 1984 at the age of 52 though in true Dors form she had her hair brushed fashionably back and she was wearing her favorite shorty nightgown at the time of her passing. Her requiem funeral service was held at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Sunningdale. She was placed in a golden oak coffin in a sensational evening gown of gold lame with a matching full cape and laid to rest beneath the shade of a sycamore tree.

However, she carried a mystery with her to the grave. The frugal actress had apparently hidden away a supposed sum of over $2 million and gave her husband Arthur Lake the key that would supposedly crack the code. However on October 10th a distraught Mr. Lake took a shotgun to their bedroom and blew his brains out – distraught over the death of the love of his life. Their son still searches to this day for clues to unlock the whereabouts of the great sum.