Thursday, October 19, 2017

RIP Umberto Lenzi



La Republica
By Alessandra Vitali
October 19, 2017

Umberto Lenzi, Dad of Monnezza and the most beloved films by Tarantino died

He was 86, he was the inventor of the "policeworthy" genre and directed some of the most successful films of the 1970s and 1980s, including 'armed Rome' and 'violent Naples'

The director and screenwriter Umberto Lenzi died at age 86.  He had been one of the main authors of genre cinema and had directed films considered cult of enthusiasts, as Milan hates: police can not shoot , armed Rome and violent Naples .  Lenzi was born in Massa Marittima, in the province of Grosseto, in 1931, graduating at the Cinema Experimental Center in Rome, and made her directorial debut in 1961 with the cover of Mary Read 's hood and sword.  A passionate one, that of cinema, born when he was very young.  "In the province life there were not many opportunities: there were those who went to the sea and those who lazily spent their days at the bar. I preferred the cinema," he told in an interview with Republic .

That the genre film was his way, Lenzi understood it soon.  He said he was "a snout", seized what was happening on the national and international scene and adapted it to Italian taste.  As in the case of adventure films he faces by re-reading some of Salgari's classics, Sandokan the Mompracem tiger who headed in 1963, starring Steve Reeves, the pirates of Malaysia in '64.  It is inspired by the James Bond saga, or rather the movie's success on Agent 007, and spells on espionage, Superseven calls Cairo or A008 - Operation Extermination , both in 1965, nor dislikes war movies: Navarone's cannons decide to give confidence to the screenplay of a young Dario Argento and in 1968 he signs the Legion of the Damned .  The war genre continues to thrill him in the following years, in 1978 he flees to the United States and directs the Great Attacks , in the cast Henry Fonda, John Huston, Helmut Berger.

But what Lenzi conquers popularity is the yellow one, in which it fits by giving birth to a sub-genre, erotic yellow to Italian.  The trilogy begins in '69 with Orgasm , continues with So sweet, so perverse and closes in '70 with Paranoia .  The protagonist - in all three - the former Hollywood diva Carroll Baker, stories that mix eroticism, psychology and intrigues and secrets of the aristocracy world, Lenzi calls them "thrillers of the high quarters."  But 1970 is also the year when he goes out to cinema The bird from the crystal feathers , Dario Argento sucks and goes proselytizing and Lenzi can not go back: he makes five films in just under five years starting from 1971 with Un Ideal Place to Kill , Seven Spotted Red Orchids , The Ice Knife , Spasm and Red Cats in a Glass Maze .

The "sniff" of which it boasts continues to work.  In 1972 he went to the movie The police thank Steno and Lenzi understands immediately where the public's taste turns.  It is the birth of the policewoman, a genre in which he will claim more than in others by making some of the most successful films of those years, little appreciated by critics but rewarded by the public.  As Milan hates: the police can not shoot in 1974, leading Tomas Milian in the role of Giulio Sacchi, a viscidone, sadistic and cowardly criminal who wants to make career in the world of mala.  Bandit, kidnapping, pursuit, shootout and especially violence are the foundations of subsequent works such as Armed Forces Rome (1976), in which the director invokes Tomas Milian, alongside Maurizio Merli who instead returns on stage in violent Naples this same year film earned 60 million lire only in the first programming weekend, a record).  With Milian Lenzi, he creates a partnership that is the success of many other films.  And it will be with Milian who will "invent" Er Monnezza, the protagonist of cult-titles such as The Truffle and the Blob and The Hunchback Band .  A friendship and a professional bond but they will see the end when the Cuban actor will accept to interpret the character of the township ladder in the band of the cheating but directed by Stelvio Massi: a betrayal that Lenzi could not accept and which caused the break between the two.

 The war movie, the "thriller of the high quarters", the policewoman: between the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s Lenzi changed genre again.  It is the time of horror (in those years Dario Silver continues to give the line with titles like Suspiria , Inferno , Darkness ), Lucio Fulci keeps fuss with Fear in the City of Living Dead , Black Cat ,    And you will live in terror - The beyond , That villa next to the cemetery .  Lenzi launches with Nightmare on the contaminated city , it's the 1980s, men contaminated by radiation turn into almost invincible cannibals.  "They're not zombies" will keep telling the director when they will point out the too many analogies with Zombi of George A. Romero released two years earlier.  But there will be no criticism of the passion of Quentin Tarantino, who in those years also feeds on Umberto Lenzi's films, and his Nightmare on the Contaminated City will often mention one of his favorites.

 After many films and some successful boxing titles, Lenzi's career begins to slow down.  It is dedicated to a genre, the "cannibalistic" (partly already experienced in 1972 with the Wild Sex Country ) that earns some success abroad but which in Italy is hardly able to pass through the censorship jumps.  Eat alive!  is the first film, good for American box offices, the following year is Cannibal Ferox, who, unlike the former, gets modest cash (in the first week of programming in New York, incurs $ 400,000), it also becomes one of the most censored movies in history due to some sequences of true animal violence.  "I always despised - Lenzi will say in an interview later years - but I did it for survival, I was a year old, unemployed, never in my career."  In those years some titles that were not really unforgivable, among which Cicciabomba with Donatella Rector or Pierino was plagued .

 Back to thriller-horror genres at the end of the Eighties: Nightmare Beach is a small American production, "sister" of another film written and directed along with Vittorio Rambaldi, Rage, primitive fury .  The House 3 - Ghosthouse ('88) will be released, an American production, apocryphal sequel to Sam Raimi's House;  Fear in the dark and low budget The gates of hell ;  The House of Sorcerer and, in 1989, The House of the Anonymous Winds , the latter for TV, commissioned by RetiItalia, unique occasions where Lenzi worked on the small screen.  In the last part of her career Lenzi is dedicated to export movies for smaller markets.  The last one is Hornsby and Rodriguez - Criminal Challenge of 1992, while Sarajevo, hell of fire comes out in 1996 directly for home video.

 Lenzi withdraws from the scenes (with his wife Olga Pehar, formerly actress of some of his films, later disappeared at the end of 2015) and dedicates himself to writing successful yellow novels ( Cinecittà Delicts , Terror at Harlem , Rome assassin , The clan of the miserable , Criminal heart ).  It is in 2016 the biography written by Silvia Trovato and Tiziano Arrigoni, in which the director's life, from Maremma's youth to the Experimental Center of Rome, to gender genres has led him to experience languages, ideas and stories about his libertarian passion for the Spanish Civil War, which called "the only social revolution of the twentieth century".  And portraits of characters like Carroll Baker, Tomás Milian and the many he met on the set and out.  In short, as the title says, A Life for Cinema.  The adventurous story of Umberto Lenzi director.


LENZI, Umberto
Born: 8/6/1931, Massa Marittima, Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy
Died: 10/19/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Umberto Lenzi’s westerns – director, actor
Samson and the Slave Queen – 1963 [director]
Go For Broke – 1968 [director, actor]
A Pistol for 100 Coffins – 1968 [director]

Monday, October 16, 2017

RIP Don Pedro Colley



San Francisco Chronicle
October 21, 2017

Don Pedro Colley lost his battle with cancer on October 10th at his home in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He was 79. Colley was born in Klamath Falls, to Muriel and Pete Colley. His father played piano, and his mother was active in politics in the area. Don Pedro attended Klamath Union High School where he was active in athletics, playing football, and especially enjoying track and field. He also tried out for the 1960 Olympics in discus, placing 6th. Don Pedro also attended the University of Oregon where he studied architecture.

He became interested in acting by accident, after joining some friends for a play rehearsal. He is probably best known for his roles of Gideon in the series, Daniel Boone, in the Beneath the Planet of the Apes film as Ongaro, and as "Sheriff Little" in the TV series, "Dukes of Hazard".

Don Pedro has a daughter; Kira Zuleka Zadow-Colley. He remained very active, as he was semi-retired, and made guest appearances at conventions worldwide.

He leaves behind his X partner, Roberta, two children and two grandchildren. Funeral plans pending in Klamath Falls


COLLEY, Don Pedro
Born: 8/30/1938, Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.A.
Died: 10/10/2017, Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.A.

Don Pedro Colley’s westerns – actor:
Iron Horse (TV) – 1967 (Asher)
Cimarron Strip (TV) - 1968 (Cully)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1968-1969 (Gideon)
Here Come the Brides (TV) – 1968 (Ox)
The Virginian (TV) – 1968 (Ira Diller)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1968 (Abbie Carter)
Nichols (TV) – 1971 (Joe Cramm)
The Legend of Niger Charler – 1972 (Joe Cramm)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1977 (Dr. Tane)

Friday, October 13, 2017

RIP Robert Dunlap



RIP Robert Dunlap

The Quad City Times
October 11, 2017

Actor Robert Dunlap died on July 27, 2017. Dunlap was born on November 29, 1942, and was raised in San Jose, California. He trained as an actor at the Pasadena Playhouse and embarked on an acting career in the early 1960s. He appeared on television in episodes of "Cheyenne", "The Joey Bishop Show", "The Lieutenant", "Hank", "My Three Sons", "Death Valley Days", "Peyton Place", "Lassie", "Far Out Space Nuts", "The Blue Knight", "Lucas", "Wonder Woman", "The Rockford Files", "240-Robert", "The Greatest American Hero", "Voyagers!", "Automan", and "1st & Ten". His other television credits include the tele-films "Here Comes the Judge" (1972), "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case" (1976), "Three on a Date" (1978), "Advice to the Lovelorn" (1981), "M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers" (1983), and "Dance 'Til Dawn" (1988). He was also featured in such films as "The City Where the Action Is" (1965), "A Covenant with Death" (1967), "The Young Runaways" (1968), "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969), and "Eyes of the Prey" (1992). He also studied filmmaking at Los Angeles Valley College, and formed RED Productions in 1982. He made such documentary films as "Grandpa" and "Anton", and many of his films aired on the Discovery Channel. He made the documentary film "Beyond Vanilla: An Unforgettable Journey into the Wilder Side of Sex in 2002, and "Xaviera Hollander, the Happy Hooker: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary" in 2008. He earned a doctorate in clinical sexology from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 2005. He served as co-host of the radio show, "The Boom Doctors", with his life partner Dr. Patti Britton.


DUNLAP, Robert (Robert E. Dunlap III)
Born: 11/29/1942, San Jose, California, U.S.A.
Died: 7/12/2017, Warsaw, Poland

Robert Dunlap’s westerns – actor:
Cheyenne (TV) – 1961 (Mark Delaney)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1968 (Sam Smith)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RIP Elizabeth Baur



Elizabeth Baur, Actress on ‘Ironside,’ Dies at 69

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
10/11/2017

She portrayed Officer Fran Belding on the NBC crime series after starring on a CBS Western, 'Lancer.'

Elizabeth Baur, who helped Raymond Burr bring the bad guys to justice as Officer Fran Belding on the long-running NBC crime drama Ironside, has died. She was 69.

Baur died Sept. 30 in Los Angeles following a lengthy illness, publicist Paul Gendreau announced.

On Ironside, which starred Burr as a San Francisco police consultant who solves crimes from his wheelchair, Baur effectively stepped in for Barbara Anderson (as Eve Whitfield), who exited the show after the fourth season.

Belding's character was introduced when she helped Robert Ironside and his team nab the gamblers who had murdered her father. Baur went on to appear in 89 episodes over four seasons until the show's conclusion in 1975, then came back for the 1993 telefilm The Return of Ironside.

Earlier, Baur starred as Teresa O'Brien, the ward of a rancher (Andrew Duggan), for two seasons on the 1968-1970 CBS Western Lancer.

A native of Los Angeles, Baur began her career as a contract player at 20th Century Fox and appeared in the Tony Curtis film The Boston Strangler (1968). She then moved to Universal, where she continued her TV work until exiting the industry to raise her daughter, Lesley Worton, now a producer.

Baur also appeared on such shows as Batman, Daniel Boone, Room 222, Emergency!, Police Woman, Fantasy Island and Remington Steele.

Survivors also include her husband Steve and a first cousin, Cagney & Lacey star Sharon Gless


BAUR, Elizabeth
Born: 12/1/947, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 9/30/2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Elizabeth Baur’s westerns – actress:
Lancer (TV) – 1968-1970 (Teresa O’Brien)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1970 (Virginia)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

RIP Gianni Bonagura



Farewell to Gianni Bonagura, lord of dubbing

Spettacoli
Marcello Teodonio
October 10, 2017

Dead at 92 years, one of the great Italian voices. Danny De Vito, Rod Steiger, Mel Brooks, Walter Matthau, Gene Wilder are just some of the main actors who he played in front of the lectern. A man of fine culture (a library of 10,000 volumes donated to the Municipal Library of Formello), he was also an excellent interpreter of the lyrics of Gioacchino Belli

The actor and playwright Gianni Bonagura died in Milan. It would have been 92 years on October 27th. Milanese of birth, he had always lived in Rome, where he had attended high school at Tasso and then graduated from the National School of Dramatic Art Silvio D'Amico. At the theater he worked with Franco Zeffirelli, Vittorio Gassman, Gianlcarlo Giannini, Jhonny Dorelli and Gigi Proietti. In the 1950s and 1960s it became one of the most famous voices of Italy, alongside that of ever-friends, Nino Manfredi, Bice Valori, Paolo Panelli. On television he debuted in 1956 with ‘L'alfiere’, directed by Anton Giulio Majano. To ‘Padre Pio’, in 2000, with Sergio Castellitto, for Sherlock Holmes in the role of Watson. And then on film, with about forty films including “Risate di gioia” by Mario Monicelli, with Anna Magnani and Totò. But he also worked with Bertolucci, Luigi Magni and Lina Wertmuller. Among the countless others, Danny De Vito, Rod Steiger, Mel Brooks, Walter Matthau, Gene Wilder, Marcello Morante, Giuseppe in “The Gospel according to Matteo” di Pasolini, Uncle Reginaldo degli Aristogatti, and above all the extraordinary Marty Feldman and his unforgettable Aigor in Young Frankenstein.

Gianni Bonagura was also a great interpreter of literary texts, as he has shown over the twenty years as a protagonist of the literary teas of the Vittoria Theater in Rome, where he gave voice to his favorite authors, first of all Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, whose lyrics he was the most excellent performer. A man of refined culture (his library - theater and poetry of all time and all languages ​​- of almost ten thousand volumes which he gave to the communal library of Formello), Gianni Bonagura was a stern and generous and respectful man, who loved his independence and was open to confrontation: a great lord of theater and life.


BONAGURA, Gianni (Gianfelice Bonagura)
Born:10/27/1926, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Died: 10/8/2017, Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Gianni Bonagura’s westerns – actor, voice dubber:
For a Few Dollars More – 1965 [Italian voice of Frank Brana]
Questa sera parla Mark Twain (TV) – 1965 (medic)
Fort Yuma Gold – 1966 [Italian voice of Jacques Sternas]
Roy Colt and Winchester Jack – 1970 [Italian voice of Giorgio Gargiullo]

RIP Bob Schiller



Bob Schiller, Writer on ‘I Love Lucy,’ Dies at 98

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
10/10/2017

Bob Schiller, the legendary sitcom writer known for his work on such shows as I Love Lucy and All in the Family, died Tuesday. He was 98.

Schiller, who collaborated with his late writing partner, Bob Weiskopf, for nearly a half-century, died at his home in Pacific Palisades, his daughter, Sadie Novello, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Best known for being the first (and only) additions to the original writing team for I Love Lucy, Schiller and Weiskopf came up with some of that series' most beloved episodes, including the one that guest-starred John Wayne and the one that featured Lucy (Lucille Ball) "grape stomping" in Italy.

They also wrote for such popular 1950s comedies such as Make Room for Daddy, The Bob Cummings Show, My Favorite Husband, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Ann Sothern Show and Pete and Gladys.

Their partnership continued through the '60s, '70s and '80s, writing and/or producing for The Lucy Show, The Red Skelton Show, The Good Guys, The Phyllis Diller Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Flip Wilson Show, All in the Family, Maude and Archie Bunker's Place.

The pair carpooled to the office during most of their career and played off each other perfectly — in writing and in person. When Schiller was once asked the reason for the success of their partnership, he responded, "That's easy — we've never agreed on anything!" Weiskopf's witty retort: "Yes, we have."

Schiller won two Emmys (shared with Weiskopf for their work on Flip and All in the Family), and they received the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for lifetime achievement from the Writers Guild of America in 1988.

Lifelong civil rights supporters, Schiller and Weiskopf also pushed for conversation around social issues and controversial topics such as race, gender, sexual assault and equal rights.

Born on Nov. 8, 1918, in San Francisco, Schiller and his family moved to Los Angeles a decade later. He attended John Burroughs Junior High and Los Angeles High School, graduating at age 16, and then enrolled at UCLA in 1935. In college, he wrote a humor column in the Daily Bruin titled "Bob Tales."

While in the U.S. Army in Europe, Schiller penned a column for Stars and Stripes and produced comedy variety shows for the troops, providing much-needed levity during dark times. "The worst weapon I had to use was a pie to the face," he once said.

After the war, Schiller took a job with Rogers & Cowan, whose client included a dentist for whom Schiller wrote the billboard copy, "Visit your neighborhood friendly dentist. Come in before they come out."

He then began to work in radio, writing for shows starring Abbott & Costello, Mel Blanc and Jimmy Durante and for The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, December Bride and Duffy's Tavern, which made him a staff writer in 1946.

Schiller first met Weiskopf, who had just relocated to Los Angeles from New York, in 1953, and they teamed on a radio script for Our Miss Brooks before delving into the new medium of network television.

He and Weiskopf joined I Love Lucy for the start of the sitcom's fifth season in 1955, and they wrote 53 episodes though the sixth and final season. After working on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, they developed The Lucy Show and had a hand in every one of that comedy's 156 episodes.

Schiller, who had a standing golf game twice a week at Riviera Country Club for as long as he could play, retired soon after the 1988 WGA strike.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Sabrina, and his children Tom, Jim, Abbie and Sadie. He was married to Joyce Harris from 1947 until her death in 1963. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ACLU.

Sadie said that Schiller would often say that "words were his inventory," and his response to the constant question of "How are you?" as he got older was, "Perfect, but improving."


SCHILLER, Bob (Robert Schiller)
Born: 11/8/1918, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Died: 10/10/2017, Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.A.

Bob Schiller’s western – writer:
Guestward Ho (TV) - 1960

RIP Sabrina



Actress once hailed as a British Marilyn Monroe

The Times
October 7, 2017
  
The prefix “sex” — whether placed before siren, bomb, symbol or kitten when describing women — is taboo in modern social protocol. In the rainy, frigid Britain of the 1950s, however, such terms were badges of honour, rather than crude or reductive. ‘‘I’m using my bosom to move on to bigger and better things,’’ said Sabrina in an early interview.

Sabrina was one of a number, among them Diana Dors and June Wilkinson, to proffer themselves as Britain’s riposte to Marilyn Monroe. They dyed their hair luminescent white, wore tight clothes to accentuate full figures and tittered (what else?) on cue. The stereotype of the “blonde bombshell” was set loose, with perfect timing. Before the arrival of film and, more influentially, television, sex had been either a grubby commodity played out across pulp magazines or dull and perfunctory when coalesced with nature in magazines such as Health and Efficiency.

Suddenly sex became glamorous and giggly, colourful and comical. Sabrina, born from the brick dust of a northern working-class life, was at the forefront of this breakthrough, but unlike, say, Dors, who had been to drama school, and Wilkinson, a stage performer from the age of 12, Sabrina had little discernible talent. Although said to “wear charisma like scent”, she was only ever passable as an actress, singer or comedian.

Still, she had verve and vim, and built for herself an extraordinarily rich life. Generous with her affections, she spent an evening with Elvis Presley in Las Vegas. She was a friend of Sammy Davis Jr and attended parties at Frank Sinatra’s mansion in Palms Springs, California. She went on shopping trips with Lucille Ball. Sabrina charmed princes and revolutionaries alike. She also suffered a great deal of derision, ill luck and illness. Her last decades were spent in great pain with a live-in carer at a house near West Toluca Lake in Hollywood. She died last November, but her death wasn’t known until a week ago, such was her retreat from public life.

The daughter of an engineer, Walter Sykes, and a seamstress, Annie (née Haslam), Sabrina’s real name was Norma Ann Sykes. She was brought up in a terraced house in Heaviley, an area of Stockport. A strong swimmer, at nine years old she swam a mile a day at the local baths. She contracted rheumatic fever and polio in childhood and spent long periods in hospital. After one operation there were fears that a leg may have to be amputated. She wore callipers and had scars for life. She left Stockport at the age of 12, when her parents took over a boarding house in Blackpool. Touring artistes often stayed, which might have provided Norma a glimpse of a life lit brighter.

At 16 she moved to London and lived alone in a rented windowless attic room in King’s Cross. She made jewellery and sold it at local shops. She survived on bread, potatoes and baked beans. She had a voluptuous figure, with a 41in bust and 18in waist. ‘‘I soon realised the effect my figure had on people,’’ she said. ‘‘They would frequently stop and stare at me in the street, especially if I was wearing a sweater.’’ Sydney Aylett, a barristers’ clerk and keen photographer, became a friend. ‘‘It seemed every man’s head turned towards her,’’ he said. ‘‘And from the looks, which ranged from admiration to downright lechery, it became apparent she had something. It wasn’t just the bosom; she radiated a sort of sensual purity, which sounds like a contradiction in terms.’’

Aylett introduced her to luminaries in show business, but first he met her mother. He told her that film stars such as Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield and Monroe had made “big bosom big business”. Aylett wrote later: “Mrs Sykes took my point, albeit a little rustically. ‘Aye, I see what you mean,’ she broke in, ‘and our Norma’s got a couple of beauties, hasn’t she?’ ’’ Annie Sykes was to remain close to her daughter, travelling across the globe at her side.

Norma took up offers to pose for photographers. Hungry and tired one day after walking to a studio because she had no bus fare, she agreed to pose nude for the photographer Russell Gay, who, she said, paid her 15 shillings. The pictures, to her apparent regret, appeared later in downmarket magazines, sold after she became famous.

By the mid-1950s almost half the British population owned a television. Before Your Very Eyes, hosted by Arthur Askey, was a popular comedy series. “I hit on the idea of having a dumb blonde around the set,” Askey wrote in his autobiography. “We held auditions for a suitable dumb-cluck and found one in Norma Sykes. She had a lovely face and figure, but could not act, sing, dance, or even walk properly.” Askey, with whom Sabrina became a close friend, claimed to have named her, borrowing it from the romantic comedy Sabrina Fair.

In February 1955 Sabrina started a 16-week run on Before Your Very Eyes. She seldom spoke, but more often pouted and feigned admonishment as Askey made scores of jokes about her figure. She was reportedly the first woman to show her cleavage on British television. Within a few weeks the word Sabrina became a euphemism for breasts and she was regularly name-checked in episodes of The Goon Show. The critic Cosmo Landesman later referred to her appearance as a pivotal point in Britain’s postwar cultural history.

She began receiving more than 1,000 fan letters a week. Personal appearances often degenerated into riots; about 4,000 people turned up to a shop opening in Sheffield, for which her fee was £100 (the average weekly wage was £7.50 at the time). Sabrina constantly fed stories to the press — her dress was routinely “almost torn off” by fans; Lloyd’s of London insured her bust for £40,000; she held regular public measurements of her bust and owned a Cadillac with the number plate “S41”, in tribute to her bra size. Unusually for the times, she acted as her own press agent and largely crafted her own image.

Sabrina dated Prince Christian Oscar of Hanover. One evening, after he’d downed several brandies, she duped him into kissing her while photographers were present, ensuring she appeared in the Sunday newspapers. ‘‘When I look back on what I did to Christian, I feel ashamed,’’ she said. ‘‘At the time he was simply another rung on the ladder to the top. I learnt early that I had to fight my own way. I have used men as playthings to achieve my ends and have, in turn, been ruthlessly exploited by them.’’

She appeared in a handful of British films, including the comedy Blue Murder at St Trinian’s with Terry-Thomas and Alastair Sim. The parts were small and insignificant. She relocated to the US, where she performed in a touring cabaret.

In April 1959 Sabrina found herself in the company of Fidel Castro at a television studio. She later told friends that he was “very courteous and respectful”. She was popular in Australia, where 10,000 people turned up to see her arrival at Perth airport in June 1960. The clamour was such that a section of the airport roof collapsed, although no one was injured. She was chosen as the “Caltex Oil girl”, starring in hackneyed television adverts in Australia.

In November 1967 Sabrina withdrew from public life when she married Dr Harry Melsheimer, a wealthy Hollywood gynaecologist. ‘‘He’s tall, dark and handsome, and we’re very much in love,’’ she said. The couple owned a 40ft yacht and several sports cars. Their doberman pinscher had its own bedroom at their mansion in Encino, California. They divorced about ten years later.

Sabrina suffered chronic back problems through her adult life and had several unsuccessful operations. In later years she was paraplegic. In 1990 her mother moved to Hollywood to look after her, but died five years later. Sabrina lived quietly thereafter, visited regularly by a small group of friends with whom she rarely talked of her colourful past.


SABRINA (Norma Ann  Sykes)
Born: 5/19/1936, Stockport, Cheshire, England, U.K.
Died: 11/24/2016, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Sabrina’s westerns – actress:
Ramsbottom Rides Again – 1956 (Indian girl)
The Phantom Gunslinger – 1970 (Margie)