Hand color tinted photo of Diana Dors
Diana Dors (23 October 1931 – 4 May 1984) was an English actress and sex symbol. She was born Diana Mary Fluck in Swindon, England, and was educated at Colville House in Swindon. She was considered the English equivalent of the blonde bombshells of Hollywood.
Diana Dors studied at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and aged 16 was under contract to the Rank Organisation, appearing in many of their films. It appears that from a certain period, her appearance became markedly similar to Marilyn Monroe’s. She often played characters suffering from unrequited love, perhaps an unfortunate parallel to her private life.
She also had significant acting ability, which was destined never to be fully utilised (most of her later work is made up of sex-themed comedies that featured scenes near to soft-core pornography). Her success was such that, aged 20, she was the youngest registered owner of a Rolls Royce in the UK.
According to film buffs, her best work as an actress was when she played a murderess in the 1956 film Yield to the Night. She was also willing to play repulsive characters in films such as The Amazing Mr. Blunden, The Unholy Wife, and Timon of Athens.
Dors never had quite the same following in the United States, but recently has made a comeback due to her films having been shown on classic movie channels such as Turner Classic Movies. She also worked under the name of Diana d’Ors.
During the summer of 1961, she filmed The Sorceror’s Apprentice (based on Robert Bloch’s story “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and which co-starred Brandon De Wilde) that was so grisly, it was barred from airing and not released for many decades.
She was married three times:
Dennis Hamilton (3 July 1951-3 January 1959, his death)
Richard Dawson (12 April 1959-1966, div.); two sons Mark Dawson and Gary Dawson
The actor Alan Lake (23 November 1968 her death); one son Jason Lake, and lived at Sunningdale, Berks
She also left four grandchildren: Lindsay Dors Dawson, Tyler Emm Dawson, Emma Rose Dawson, Lauren jr Dawson and Morgana and Ruby Lake.
They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if my real name Diana Fluck was in lights and one of the lights blew…
According to Dors’s autobiography, she was once asked and readily agreed to open a fete in her home town of Swindon, England. Prior to the festivities, Dors lunched with the local vicar, during which she informed him that her real name was Diana Fluck. The vicar became somewhat worried about his planned speech. After lunch, they arrived at the fete at the appointed time. The vicar, totally unnerved about mispronouncing “Fluck”, introduced Diana with these immortal words:
“our star guest. We all love her, especially as she is our local girl. I therefore feel it right to introduce her by her real name; Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the very lovely Miss Diana Clunt.”
The earliest recordings of Diana Dors were two sides of a 78-rpm single released on HMV Records in 1951. The tracks were “I Feel So Mmmm” and “A Kiss And A Cuddle (And A Few Kinds Words From You)”. HMV also released sheet music featuring sultry photos of Diana on the cover. She also sang “The Hokey Pokey Polka” on the 1954 soundtrack for the film As Long As They’re Happy.
Diana Dors only recorded one complete album, Swinging Dors, in 1960. The LP was originally released on red vinyl. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott. Swinging Dors was, obviously, a swing album, and Dors demonstrated a likeable, unaffected singing voice.
She continued to record singles on various labels: “It’s Too Late”/”So Little Time” (Fontana, 1964), “Security”/Gary” (Polydor, 1966), “Passing By”/”It’s A Small World” (EMI 1977), and in 1982, although battling cancer, she recorded a single for the Nomis label, “Where Did They Go”/”It’s You Again” (a duet with her son, Gary Dors).
In a 1977 episode of the British TV show Parkinson with the actor Kenneth Williams and the anthropologist Desmond Morris (whom Dors said she had dated when they were teenagers in Swindon), Dors commented on the frequent deaths of young blonde sex symbols, such as Jean Harlow and Jayne Mansfield, and said she hoped to emulate Mae West and live a long life. However, she died seven years later, aged 52, on 4 May 1984, from a recurrence of ovarian cancer, first diagnosed two years before.
Dors left a mark on popular culture: the “50s blonde bombshell look” popularized by Dors and, in the U.S., by the actresses known as the “Three ‘Ms'” — Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren and Marilyn Monroe.
A likeness of her appears on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Before she died, Dors apparently hid away what she claimed to be over £2million in banks across Europe. In 1982, she gave her son Mark Dawson a sheet of paper, which she told him was a code that would reveal the whereabouts of the money.
Her widower, Alan Lake, supposedly had the key that would crack the code. But Lake committed suicide only five months after Dors died, leaving Dawson an apparently unsolvable code. Dawson, however, was determined to discover his late mother’s fortune. He sought out computer forensic specialists Inforenz, who recognised the encryption as the Vigenere cipher. Inforenz then used their own cryptanalysis software to suggest a ten-letter decryption key, DMARYFLUCK (short for Diana Mary Fluck, Dors’s real name).
Although the company was then able to decode the entire message and link it to a bank statement found in some of Lake’s papers, the location of the money is still unknown. Some speculate whether there may have been a second sheet, whose information might have led to the discovery of the money. Channel 4 made a television programme about the mystery and created a website (now removed) where users can read more and help solve the mystery.
A Delahaye Roadster 175S was sold at auction in August 2010 for $3 Million. The car was originally bought used by Diana Dors for £5000 when she was just 17 years old and without a driving licence!