Sunday, March 13, 2005

If you are gay and British and like nostaglia then you probably have a soft spot for Diana Dors, actress and glamour-puss, who starred in a range of films, some good some bad, some so bad they were good. She died in 1984. For American readers, you may want to imagine a kind of British cross between Mae West, Shelly Winters and Marilyn Monroe.

She was game for anything - particular in her later roles; here's a selection: she appeared in the Adam and the Ants Price Charming video, had her own sitcom called "Queenie's Castle", played the mother of a family of werewolves in a Hammer House of Horror show called "Children of the Full Moon", was the President of a woman-only dictatorship that took over Britain in The Two Ronnies serial "The Worm that Turned" and was a regular on TVAM in the early 1980s with slimming advice for viewers. Two of her most outrageous roles involved playing a sexually frustrated housewife in the film Deep End (who has sex with a 15 year old boy in a public baths), she also played the devil in the film Nurse Will Make it Better (she later claimed that the film was cursed and resulted in her nearly dying from meningitis).

An almost mythological-like noteriety has built up around her - my fella remembers seeing her in an advert for some tabloid newspaper in the 1970s, cooing "I'll tell you ALL my secrets", and that phrase has become something of a constant catch-phrase in the Odana household of late, being uttered at random points throughout the day.

So it was with excitement that I found a shrink-wrapped, second hand copy of her autobiography "For Adults Only", at a market, selling for £1.50. However, it's a disppointment to read - quite a bit of casual homophobia (words like "fairy" etc) I guess it was the late 1970s and that was seen as normal (but Diana - think of your fanbase!) The book is also full of name-dropping (notably of rather unnotable people) and worst of all - she tries to have it both ways - revelling in scandlous anecdotes yet claiming she remained "above it all". So she gives us the details about spying on couples having sex behind one-way-mirrors or what happened at key parties she attended, but is always at pains to say she never did it herself or was forced into it by one of her husbands. The whole thing comes across rather badly but at the same time is oddly compelling and utterly fascinating. Needless to say, Diana published more autobiographies, including "Behind Closed Dors", "Swingin' Dors" and "Diana Dors' A-Z of Men". I can't wait to collect them all.

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