Actress Sandra Dee Dead at 63 in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Sandra Dee, a perky blonde teen matinee idol of the 1950s and 1960s who played the title role in the surfer film “Gidget,” died Sunday in Thousand Oaks, California, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Dee died shortly before 6 a.m. at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center near Los Angeles, spokeswoman Cynthia Mead said. She was 63. A family spokesman, Steve Blauner, told Reuters that Dee’s death was caused by complications from kidney disease.
Dee’s son, Dodd Darin, whose father, Bobby Darin, was also a popular movie idol and pop singer of the same era, told CNN his mother had been hospitalized for two weeks prior to her death for kidney disease and pneumonia.
A former child actress and model, Dee made her film debut in “Until They Sail” in 1957. She rose to stardom in the 1959 film “Gidget,” about a teenage girl who falls for a surfer. The same year Dee and Troy Donahue starred as teenage lovers in the popular film “A Summer Place.”
In 1960, Dee married Darin. Together the young duo starred in “Come September” (1961), “If A Man Answers” (1962), and “That Funny Feeling” (1965). Dee also took over the title role from Debbie Reynolds in the popular “Tammy” film series, starring in “Tammy and the Doctor,” (1963) and “Tammy Tell Me True” (1961).
Dee and Darin divorced in 1967 and her career faded shortly thereafter. She never remarried. Her popularity was briefly revived after the film “Grease” (1978) patterned a lead character after her and named one of its signature songs “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee.”
She was portrayed last year by Kate Bosworth in the film “Beyond the Sea,” which also starred Kevin Spacey as Darin.