Friday, November 2, 2007

Celebrity: Behind Closed Dors

Diana Dors, Star Books/W.H.Allen & Co., 1979
On the American side of the Atlantic, the name Diana Dors rings few bells, other than to those who have an affinity for peroxide blonde bombshells of the past. Born with unlucky name of Diana Fluck, Dors began her career as England’s version of Mamie Van Doren more or less at the same time as Joan Olander (Mamie’s real name) as a well developed nymphet in the late 1940s. The similarities between the two cannot to be overseen: a limited amount of talent, a lot of bleach, impressive BHs, a variety of memorable and forgettable film roles behind them, comparable reputations (as outspoken, sexual beings), lives and careers that continued long past the deaths of the very stars they were modeled after (Marilyn and Jane, naturally) and, eventually, book contracts for "tell all" autobiographies. Dors foray into the world of letters predates Mamie’s by some 10+ years, first with For Adults Only and then, in 1979, with Behind Closed Dors. Nifty titles with lots of promise, but in the case of the latter, nothing more than an empty promise—100% more so than Mamie’s 1987 Playing the Field (in any given available edition). Whereas Mamie goes for the gusto telling "the full story," Dors tends to meander around her narrations, seldom giving the full names of those involved in the more licentious events, padding the book with uninteresting personal opinions about such things as if the Krays where "bad" or not, expatiating upon such mundane subjects as what Don Rickles said during this or that Las Vegas performance. The book is truly less than scandalous; in fact, it is often downright boring. The most shocking revelation she makes is that Paul Newman has a teenie weenie, but she doesn’t even bother telling how she came to know that.... actually, considering its 208 pages, the book tells very little. Neither shocking nor interesting, Behind Closed Dors also does little to make Diana likable or appealing. Perhaps one may be able to appreciate the fact that she, unlike Ms. Van Doren, was able to take advantage of the unflattering aspects of aging to not only to start a second career as a sitcom queen, but to also achieve some success as a character actress (unforgettable in that truly strange 1971 Jerzy Skolimowsky film Deep End, amongst others), but one has a rather hard time stomaching the complaints she makes about her financial difficulties and tax problems when she drives a Rolls Royce. Books like this aren’t bought for the belly-aching, they are bought for the dirt—and Dors delivers little dirt unwashed. For that matter, most of the little dirt she does deliver, unwashed or not, tends to be about forgotten has-beens, shooting stars, English no-names or similarly dreary people.
Behind Closed Dors: great title, boring book, and now that you know that Paul Newman has a teenie weenie, you have no reason to read it. Go get Playing the Field instead.
Addendum: Ms. Dors, of course died in 1984 at 52 from ovarian cancer. According to Wikipedia, at 20 she was the youngest Polls Royce owner in England.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...