Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee.
That of course, as mentioned yesterday is a song lyric from the 1978 musical Grease.
Sandra Dee, who wasn’t in Grease, represented the wholesome girl next door, and the song satirizes that image.
Sandra didn’t mind. In fact, she got a kick out of her mention. In any case, song denotes that the teenage star of the 50s and early 60s was a household name. In fact Sandra Dee was one of the top ten box office stars four years in a row from 1960 though 1963.
Thus her elevation to Monday Quiz status. How much did you really know about Sandra Dee? Let’s refer to yesterday’s questions and today’s answers and find out.
1) Question: What was Dee’s real name? a) Marilyn Goldberg; b) Alexandra Zuck; c) Lucille LeSueur; or d) Mary Frances Reynolds.
1) Answer: Sandra was born in 1942 as (b) Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey.
2) Question: What was Sandra’s Hollywood nickname? a) Sandy; b) The Queen of Teens; c) Sandush; or d) Gidget.
2) Answer: This is a trick question. All options apply. Our favorite is (b) Queen of Teens.
3) Question: We know that Dee’s career began at a very early age. How early? a) seven; b) nine; c) 12; or d) 19.
3) Answer: Dee was a success as a child model by age (c) 12 years old. She made her first movie by age 14.
4) Question: Dee’s marriage to singer Bobby Darin took place at the height of her career. During the making of which movie did she first meet the singer? a) 1957’s Until They Sail; b) 1961’s Come September; c) 1958’s The Reluctant Debutante; or d) 1965’s That Funny Feeling.
4) Answer: Sandra and Bobby Darin (pictured above) cemented their romance while making the romantic comedy Come September. It was an innocuous romantic comedy costarring a firmly-in-the-closet Rock Hudson and Italian bombshell Gina Lollobrigida. Dee was considered an experienced professional at the time she made the picture. Darin was just starting out. That Come September was filmed in Italy may have help promote the couple’s burgeoning romance. By the time it came out, they were hitched.
5) Question: How long did Dee’s marriage to Darin last? a) 15 years; b) seven years; c) two years; or d) nine years.
5) Answer: Dee and Darin married in 1960, and divorced (b) seven years later.
6) Question: Dee replaced a famous predecessor in the Tammy movie series. Can you name this actress? a) Jane Powell; b) Marie Windsor; c) Debbie Reynolds or d) Tuesday Weld.
6) Answer: c) Debbie Reynolds, who set forth the character (a rustic teenage girl looking for romance) in 1957’s Tammy and the Bachelor. Sandra took over the role in the two big sequels, 1961’s Tammy Tell Me True and 1963’s Tammy and the Doctor.
7) Question: Dee had throughout her life her share of mental and physical ailments. Which one of the following is NOT included? a) alcoholism; b) throat cancer; b) child molestation victim; or d) bouts of manic depression.
7) Answer: Actually, all options are correct. No wonder Dee died at the relatively early age of 62 in 2005.
8) Question: Dee’s favorite costar might well have been this actor, who had career of sorts as a dark leading man. Who is he? a) Fabio; b) Fabian; c) John Saxon; or d) James Dean.
8) Answer: c) John Saxon, a solid supporting actor whose career spans decades (he is in his eighties) and whose darkly handsome looks (he was born Carmine Orrico in Brooklyn) was ideal for the teenager roles he was assigned in the late Fifties and early Sixties. With Dee in The Restless Years and The Reluctant Debutante, both 1958, and 1960’s Portrait In Black.
9) Question: Which long-running Broadway musical and later a hit film of the same title mentions Sandra in a light-hearted song that for a while at least brought Dee back into the spotlight?
9) Answer: As indicated by today’s Quiz introduction, Grease.
10) Question: Although she had costarred with an A-list cast in director Douglas Sirk’s 1959 weepie Imitation of Life, Dee ended her career starring in a cheaply made horror movie. a) True; or b) False.
10) Answer: a) True. Dee’s last film of note was director Curtis Hanson’s 1970 horror item, The Dunwich Horror. It was an independently made picture, with Sandra costarring with Dean Stockwell and Ed Begley. The movie turned out to be quite popular, spawning a sequel and tv offshoots (all without Sandra).