1931 – 1984
Labelled ‘the British Marilyn Monroe’, Diana Dors brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to her home village of Bray.
During the war in Swindon, a young Diana Fluck revelled in the stories of Hollywood told to her by American servicemen billeted there. Aged 14 she enrolled in an acting academy and was soon spotted by J Arthur Rank, the film mogul. Diana Fluck was then transformed into Diana Dors, the blonde bombshell, and hailed as the British Marilyn Monroe.
Her first major film was The Shop On Sly Corner in 1955, but it was Yield To The Night the following year that launched her meteoric rise to stardom. This was a powerful anti-capital punishment film, which mirrored the story of Ruth Ellis, who was hanged in 1955 for shooting her boyfriend David Blakely.
Diana had married her first husband, Dennis Hamilton, in 1951. They set up home in Bray, where Diana soon endeared herself to the residents with her warm, sincere nature. Her extravagant, glamorous lifestyle and flamboyant American cars brought a touch of Hollywood to the village.
In 1955, Diana opened the Le Toucan coffee bar at the bottom of Maidenhead High Street, and this became a popular meeting place for teenagers.
Dennis died in 1959 and Diana married twice more – firstly to American comedian Dickie Dawson, with whom she had two sons, and then to fellow actor Alan Lake, with whom she had a third son.
Diana kept her distinctive blonde hairstyle all her life, and when she left her ‘starlet’ phase she was still in demand as a character actress, both in films and on television.
Her death, from cancer at the early age of 53, was too much for Alan to bear and he committed suicide.
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