Sandra Dee ~ The Troubled Teen Star

 Sandra Dee

Sandra Dee was a popular teenage star who struggled with anorexia and alcoholism.

She was born Alexandria Cymboliack Zuck on April 23, 1942 (some sources say 1944). Her parents divorced when she was five and her mother remarried. Unfortunately her stepfather sexually abused her. Sandra began modeling when she was a child. At the age of twelve she was earning $75,000 a year. She was discovered by producer Ross Hunter who cast her in the 1957 film Until They Sail. Her performance won her a Golden Globe award for Best New Star. Then she was signed by Universal Studios. She starred in a string of hit films including Imitation Of Life, Gidget, and A Summer Place. The blonde teenager had a wholesome girl next door image that audiences loved. Sandra appeared on the cover of countless movie magazines and was nicknamed the "Queen Of The Teens". Terrified of gaining weight she started starving herself to stay thin. On December 1, 1960 she married singer Bobby Darin after a three month courtship. Their son Dodd was born a year later. She and Bobby worked together in the films Come September and That Happy Feeling. The couple divorced in 1967. By this time her career was in decline and she was still struggling with anorexia.

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Sandra Dee

At one point her weight plummeted to only eighty pounds. She and Bobby tried to reconcile several times and in 1970 she had a miscarriage. Sandra was devastated when he died in 1973 at the age of thirty-seven. She never had another serious romance with a man. During the 1970s she guest starred on the television shows Night Gallery and Police Woman. As she grew older she suffered from depression and became an alcoholic. In an interview she said she felt like a "has been that never was". Her final film was the low budget Lost released in 1983. Sandra quit acting and became very reclusive. She tried to make a comeback in 1991 when she appeared in the play Love Letters with her former costar John Saxon. To promote the show she was interviewed on the Sally Jessy Raphael show. She wanted to keep working but their were no other offers. Sadly she was diagnosed with liver failure in 2000. She died on February 20, 2005 from complications of liver disease and pneumonia. Sandra was sixty-two years old. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California.

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Sandra in the 1980s