Historical records matching Diana Dors
About Diana Dors
<Daily Mail, Saturday May 5, 1984>
DIANA DORS: The goddess of sex...and sense
"I'D LOVE to see you but I'm feeling a little bit tired at the moment, I have to pace myself", were the last words Diana Dors ever spoke to me.
"Ring me next week," she said, "and we'll do the interview on Wednesday May 2nd."
Just two days later she was dead at the age of 52. She was riddled with cancer but she never gave in, and never accepted defeat. She dedicated her dying, as she dedicated her life, to giving people hope, resilence, belief that whatever problems the world threw at you, you could always defeat them.
She knew despair, heartbreak, failure, immense wealth and terrifying poverty. She received adulation as a movie star and at times was booed in sleazy small town night clubs, where drunks shouted: "Show us your legs, Diana", but she could always annihilate them with a witty put-down that had audiences roaring in appreciation.
The words that people associated with Diana Dors were survival and honesty. She gave us optimism and she gave us courage. She entertained us because she was above all the consummate actresses. She gave us the belief that if she could survive a lifetime which involved two broken marriages and temporary rejection by her eldest sons, then we could cope as well.
She was tough but she never was hard. When she made personal appearances she insisted on being paid in cash on the nail because she's been let down too many times by hangers on, by crooked managers, by her manipulative first husband, Dennis Hamilton, by the flotsam of showbusiness.
Thirty years ago she was Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe - the starlet with the perfect figure, famed for her sex appeal, who survived to be loved for her earthiness and common sense.
"I did it my way", was surely her perfect theme song, because she made her own rules and lived life by her own philosophy, which meant living it to the full, doing your best, never hurting anyone.
She made mistakes and she admitted them, she failed time and time again and always said so. She frequently alienated people but she was the first to hold out a welcoming hand and say: "Life's too short for enemies."
And life was too short for her because it ended when the tragic times seemed over. Her husband Alan Lake, who nearly wrecked their marriage through drunkeness, loved her and was sober.
Her two eldest sons, who grew up in America with their father while she travelled the world to support the family, had finally come to appreciate and care for her. She'd just completed a fine performance in the movie "Steaming" and, after a diet which she described week by week on television, she was looking svelte and stunning.
She started woth at 15 in the movie "The Shop at Sly Corner" in 1946 and she grafted non-stop for the rest of her career. She was a life enhancer, a true professional who always knew her lines, arrived on time and turned in a superlative performance.
In her youth, her beauty queen figure, her large and sulky mouth, her blonde peek-a-boo hairstyle were, in fact, her biggest handicaps. She was treated like a sex object when at heart she was a sensible, suburban, dedicated, slightly puritanical actress.
Her first husband dominated her, her second husband was jealous of her professional success but her third, much younger husband Alan Lake was to be the man who made her vulnerable. She once described him as: "my third and positively last husband, a dark, handsome, brilliant actor with a singing voice that tops Tom Jones, a gift for writing poetry in the style of Dylan Thomas and the most colourful character ever to come out of Stoke-on-Trent."
He nearly broke her heart and her spirit during his days of alcoholism but when he conquered that sickness their love and their marriage were like granite. They were united with their son Jason against the world and it was for Alan she fought so fiercely in the last few painful months. She knew that he needed her, that if fates had been kinder the best years were still to come and she battled to the last minute for their right and their desire to enjoy them.
Fear was never part of her philosophy or her religion. She was never frightened because she never conceded defeat even to the end. She saw cancer as a battle she'd win and her spirit and her will were so tremendous that she was the one offering comfort to those who loved her. She was the one saying: "I'll be all right" and today they can only be reassured by the knowledge that she beleived it.
And it was Diana's talent that sustained her against tragedy, against the emotional stress, against the frequent critical battering about her private life. She proved her acting ability beyond any shadow of doubt in movies like "A Kid for Two Farthings" and "Yield to the Night", in which she played a condemned murderess, but when acting roles weren't forthcoming she toured the country with her one woman cabaret act. She couldn't really sing, she certainly couldn't dance, but she could mesmerise a rowdy audience with the strength of her personality.
"She didn't drink, she never took drugs and she attributed her self discipline to her middle-class upbringing in Swindon (where she was born plain Diana Fluck) which she loathed at the time. Her father was a railway clerk; her mother was 42 when her only daughter was born after 13 years of marriage. It was an unlikely millieu for a girl who was to shock a staid Britain in the 1950s as our very own sex symbol.
During a family holiday when she aws only 13 at Weston-super-mare she came third in a beauty contest at the Lido swimming pool.
She had already bewitched a neighbouring schoolboy, Desmond Morris, who was to become famous as author of "The Naked Ape" and only a year later she went to London drama school.
Twenty-five years later he described her as the sexiest girl he had ever known, and by the time she was 15 she was a Rank starlet and earning more money than her father.
In later life she was to emerge finally as the person she really was. People misunderstood and underrated her for a long time. But in the last few years we saw her as Diana Dors, the indomitable fighter.
She must have known she was dying because self-deception was never part of her make-up. But she tinted her roots and applied the double-strength mascara right to the end.
People all over Britain will be feeling a personal sense of loss at the news of her death, because she was more than just a successful actress and flamboyant public figure.
She was part of our culture as much as the monarchy, fish 'n chips, or Land of Hope and Glory.