Star Archive

Diana Dors (1931 - 1984)

She's been a National Joke and a National Disgrace in her time, but when she died we realised we'd lost a National Treasure.

She was born Diana Fluck in Swindon. Her mother pushed her into performing, though she didn't need much pushing. She attended RADA and quickly got small parts in pictures. It was clear from the start that there was something that set her apart from other actresses of her generation - she was unmistakably common.

The public started to notice her, particularly in her role as the cousin in two of the Huggetts films. Rank's publicity machine moved in to get as much mileage out of her personality as possible. She was even, briefly, at the famed Rank Charm School, though that was never going to change her. What Rank seemed incapable of doing was providing her with a vehicle to show off her talents. After Dance Hall Rank dropped her contract and she freelanced for a while, doing theatre, music halls and several dreadful films.

She got a decent role in The Weak and the Wicked and people started to believe she could act as well as look decorative. Following this up A Kid for Two Farthings and Yield to the Night confirmed her talent and naturally she was snapped up by a Hollywood studio.

Unfortunately, the studio was RKO which was entering its death throes. It put her into two unsuitable vehicles before a public brawl between her and her husband made Hollywood uncomfortable for them.

She came back to Britain, and like many British actresses who tried and failed in Hollywood, never quite attained the level she was at before she left. There followed a period of decline - she never stopped working but the films were mostly bad and her roles small. She began to pile on the pounds and rapidly went from blowsy to fat.

She opened the Seventies with Queenie's Castle as the Yorkshire matriarch of a rough family living in a council flat. This TV sitcom was written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall and was the ideal vehicle for her talents. Queenie was loud, common and determined to be herself and Dors revelled in the part.

Her role in The Amazing Mr Blunden got a lot of publicity as she played a slatternly Victorian housekeeper in her sixties. However she continued to accept any role going and took small parts in several examples of that dodgiest of genres - the British sex comedy.

She'd battled cancer for a number of years but it was a shock when she finally died. For over thirty years she'd lived her life in the headlines, and she was missed. Her third husband, Alan Lake, committed suicide not long after which generated even more headlines. Proof of her lasting appeal came in a recent TV biopic: The Blonde Bombshell.

Her appeal stemmed from a combination of glamour and humour, coupled with a lack of vanity. A good example of her early appeal comes in Lady Godiva Rides Again where she plays the main rival to Pauline Stroud in a beauty competition. She's friendly and surprisingly non-threatening, more interested in having fun than in winning. As an actress she's not trying very hard, but still manages to act Miss Stroud off the screen. She looks utterly artificial but behaves completely naturally. No wonder we fell for her.

Publicity shot for Diana DorsPressbook for Here Come the HuggettsPoster for Yield to the NightPublicity shot for Diana Dors


1946 The Shop at Sly Corner
1947 Dancing with Crime
1947 Holiday Camp
1948 Good Time Girl
1948 The Calendar
1948 My Sister and I
1948 Oliver Twist
1948 Penny and the Pownall Case
1948 Here Come the Huggetts
1949 Vote for Huggett
1949 It's Not Cricket
1949 A Boy, a Girl and a Bike
1949 Diamond City
1950 Dance Hall
1951 Worm's Eye View
1951 Lady Godiva Rides Again
1952 The Last Page
1952 My Wife's Lodger
1953 The Great Game
1953 Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?
1953 It's a Grand Life
1953 The Saint's Return
1954 The Weak and the Wicked
1954 As Long as They're Happy
1955 A Kid for Two Farthings
1955 Value for Money
1955 Miss Tulip Stays the Night
1955 An Alligator named Daisy
1956 Yield to the Night
1957 I Married a Woman (U.S.)
1957 The Unholy Wife (U.S.)
1957 The Long Haul
1958 La Ragazza del Palio (It.)
1958 Tread Softly Stranger
1959 Passport to Shame
1960 Scent of Mystery
1961 On the Double (U.S.)
1961 King of the Roaring Twenties (U.S.)
1961 Encontra a Mallorca (Sp.)
1962 Mrs Gibbon's Boys
1963 West Eleven
1964 Allez France
1966 The Sandwich Man
1967 Berserk
1967 Danger Route
1968 Hammerhead
1969 Baby Love
1969 There's a Girl in my Soup
1970 Deep End
1971 Hannie Caulder
1972 Pied Piper
1972 Every Afternoon
1972 Nothing but the Night
1972 The Amazing Mr Blunden
1973 Theatre of Blood
1973 Steptoe and Son Ride Again
1974 From Beyond the Grave
1975 Bedtime with Rosie
1975 Three for All
1975 The Amorous Milkman
1976 Adventures of a Taxi Driver
1977 Adventures of a Private Eye
1979 The David Galaxy Affair
1984 Steaming

 Diana Dors at Amazon UK

 Diana Dors at Amazon US