women in the arts

Diana Dors

This weeks Illustrated Woman in History was written by Hollie Peck

Real name Diana Mary Fluck, Diana Dors was a well-loved actress and TV personality. The blonde-bombshell was often dubbed Britain’s own Marilyn Monroe.

Born 23rd October 1931 at The Haven Nursing Home in Swindon, she soon outgrew her hometown enrolling at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) aged 14.

She looked and acted much older than her tender years and lied about her age to obtain some of her first acting roles.
Dors was promoted by her first husband and manager Dennis Hamilton as a sex symbol. Most of her work included glamour modelling and sex films.

It emerged later that Hamilton had been siphoning away her earnings, leaving Diana with little choice but to “keep up appearances” and continue along the same path. The two later went their separate ways, leaving Dors heavily in debt, unable to pay her divorce lawyers.

After a short hiatus, Diana made a comeback through slots on daytime TV shows and cabaret performances including a stunt in Las Vegas. She managed to reignite her flagging career.
It is claimed that Dors left approximately £2m to her sons Mark and Gary from her second marriage to Richard “Dickie” Dawson. However, the money was hidden away and only accessible with the use of coding. Although forensics were able to decode the notes left in the care of third husband Alan Lake, the location of her fortune remains a mystery to this day. The story was televised by Channel 4.

She was married to Alan, with whom she had one son Jason, until she passed away aged 52 from a second battle with ovarian cancer on 4th May 1984.

Recently (January 2017), a blue plaque was unveiled on Kent Road, Swindon where the actress was born.

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