Monday, May 16, 2011

Rant #505: Mystery Solved

I am sure you heard about a former Playboy Playmate of the Month who was found dead in her dilapidated apartment a few weeks ago.

Evidently, she had been dead for a year or so, but no one noticed until recently, when mail started to pile up at her door.

Now we have learned that Vickers, an actress in several classic B-movie horror films, died of natural causes "due to arterial sclerotic cardiovascular disease," or heart disease caused by a hardening of the arteries, according to the Los Angeles Coroner's Office.

Vickers, who was in her 80s, had left a space heater on, and evidently had a heart attack when she died. The space heater continued to run for the past year without interruption.

But for a year, she had no visitors, no family, nobody, who tried to visit her or at least check in on her.

When police finally investigated her disappearance, they found a woman who was as far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood as one could be. She was a virtual recluse, her apartment was filled with boxes and was in disrepair ... it was pretty much a mess.

But 50 years ago, this girl was as hot as hot could be.

Vickers was nothing more than a B-movie actress, at best, during her time in the limelight. She used her good looks--she could have been Marilyn Monroe's sister--to become a model, posing for Playboy in 1959.

Her good looks got her into a few lower-level films, including 1958's "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and 1959's "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

For a young kid who watched "Chiller Theater" and "Creature Features," she was one of the female stars that I recognized as a young child.

She also had bit parts in major movies, including "Sunset Boulevard" and "Hud."

Her last feature role was in a 1990 horror called "Evil Spirits."

She also did loads of commercials, and was the White Rain girl in a series of mid-1950s TV ads.

Vickers also was a singer, releasing at least one album.

She married twice, but both marriages did not last very long. She also reportedly had a long-term romance with actor Jim Hutton.

Whatever happened to her throughout the remainder of her life, what a sad end to an interesting story.

And what is ironic is that at the time of her death, she was writing her autobiography. What stage that work was in is unknown, but however far she got with it, it might be an interesting read.

R.I.P. Yvette Vickers.

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