Sandra Dee, the blonde all-American girl-next-door who made her mark in movies such as Gidget and Tammy Tell Me True and became a teen idol of the 1960s, has died at the age of 62. She died on February 20, 2005, at the Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, from complications of kidney disease.
Dee, born Alexandra Zuck, of Carpathian-Ruthenia ancestry, began her career at the age of four in commercial and print modeling. She then moved into films in her adolescence and was soon one of Hollywood’s top pin-ups. Her role in Robert Wise’s Until They Sail in 1958 led to a Golden Globe Award nomination as the year’s most promising newcomer. By the late 1960s, however, the landscape of Hollywood film had changed and audiences no longer lined up to see her portrayals of naive ingenues. Her high-profile marriage to crooner Bobby Darin, best known for the hits Mack the Knife and Dream Lover, also ended in divorce. She continued her acting career, but suffered from a number of ailments throughout the rest of her life, ultimately succumbing to kidney failure in 2005.
During her lifetime, Dee acted in more than 33 movies and was also a television star. She was also a singer and wrote several songs, including the title track to her 1958 album, Sandra. In addition to her acting and singing careers, Dee modeled for a time as well. In total, she appeared in more than 100 magazines.
Sandra Dee was born on April 23, 1942, in Bayonne, New Jersey, United States. Her parents were Mary and John Zuck. Her mother had always wanted her to be successful in the entertainment industry and Sandra was able to fulfill that dream. She started her career at the age of 4 in commercial and print modeling and then moved into films as a teenager. Sandra Dee was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood during her early and mid-career. She was known for her sweet and innocent image in the movies, which made her a teen idol of the 1960s. She was married to crooner Bobby Darin in 1957, with whom she had a son named Dodd Mitchell Darin. Dee died on February 20, 2005, at the age of 62, from kidney failure and throat cancer. She was buried in Thousand Oaks, California. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her obituary was written by actress and writer Sue Cameron. Dee’s family said that she wished for privacy in her last days. She had been suffering from chronic kidney disease for the past two years. She was buried next to her husband.