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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 10:21 GMT
Actress Sandra Dee dies aged 62
Sandra Dee
Sandra Dee starred alongside Peter Fonda in Tammy and the Doctor
US actress Sandra Dee, who was best known for starring in the 1959 movie Gidget, has died in California.

Dee, who was 62, had been suffering from kidney disease and had been on dialysis for the past four years.

Born Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey, Dee began her career as a model aged 12, and went on to become a huge teen idol in the US in the 50s and 60s.

She was also famous for her marriage to singer Bobby Darin in 1960, although the couple divorced five years later.

Dee was renowned for her roles in teen movies, characterised by her most noted appearance as the lead character in Gidget, where she played a young girl who falls in love with a surfer.

This was accompanied by leads in The Reluctant Debutante, directed by Vincente Minnelli, Harry Keller's comedy Tammy Tell Me True and Helmut Kautner's The Restless Years.

Dee also had a number of secondary roles in films such as Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, 1960 drama A Portrait In Black, starring Anthony Quinn, and Peter Ustinov's Romanoff and Juliet.


After a one month courtship Dee married singer Bobby Darin in New Jersey in 1960 and they had a son, Dodd Mitchell, a year later.

Family friend Steve Blauner said of the actress: "When she was a big star in the pictures and a top five at the box office, she treated the grip the exact same way she treated the head of the studio. She meant it. She wasn't phony."

Her name became known to a whole new generation with 1978 hit Grease, which features a dance routine based on the song Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee.

In 2004, Bobby Darin's life was translated into film with Kevin Spacey's biopic Beyond the Sea, starring Kate Bosworth as Dee.

Darin became one of the biggest musical acts of the 1950s and 60s before his death, aged 37, in 1973.

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