Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Forgotten Sex Symbol

Happy New Year, everyone!

Lately, a lot of websites have been talking about the greatest "this" and "that" from 2011. Last year brought us several shocking news stories that shook the world. It was pretty eventful.

One of the news stories which rattled me was on a smaller scale. It was a story which brought my biggest fear to life before my eyes.

As an only child, I grew up with the fear that I would one day end up completely alone. This thought haunts me, constantly. I know it's silly, because I'll probably end up getting married and having kids one day. And lord knows, I'll always have a friend or two in my life. But, still. The thought lingers.

From April, you may remember the story of Yvette Vickers.



She was the elderly woman found decomposed in her Beverly Hills home. Neighbors had become extremely concerned when they noticed mail piling up on her porch and spiderwebs in her doorway. They had not seen her in a long time.



When her neighbors finally entered her bedroom, they discovered her rotted body. She had been dead for almost a year, and nobody had even noticed. Her heater and computer were even still on, untouched.

I think what shocked the world the most was that this decomposed, forgotten old lady was once the sexiest starlet in Hollywood.



Yvette Vickers had been a Playboy centerfold. She was also the star of some of the most memorable low-budget horror films of the 1950s.



Yvette was born in Kansas City to a jazz saxophonist and his wife. They moved to Los Angeles when she was a little girl.

At 16, Yvette entered UCLA to study journalism, but got distracted by the glittering lights of Hollywood.



She shot to fame in 1954, when she was cast as the White Rain girl in a national shampoo commercial.

In the mid-50s, she started doing films, but it wasn't until her supporting role in the cult-classic, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, that people started to take serious notice.

The blue-eyed starlet would go on to star in other low-budget horror films, most notably Attack of the Giant Leeches.



Her popularity with men was so high, she became Playmate of the Month with a very sexy spread for Playboy in 1959.

As the new It Girl in Hollywood, she went on to have scandalous affairs with several Hollywood insiders, including Cary Grant. She would remain close friends with the legendary movie star until his death.



But in the late 1970s, the only child dutifully took a break from her career to care for her ailing parents.

In the late 1980s, Yvette released a jazz album, much to the delight of her fans. She also started working on her memoirs.



After a couple of divorces and several failed romances, the now overweight alcoholic became a recluse. She rarely ventured out of her home and she had very few friends. So few, in fact, that they didn't even notice when she stopped returning their calls or e-mails after a year.

And as you know, she was found dead in her home in April. She had died some time in 2010, of heart failure.



Staring at these photos of the vivacious blonde, I simply can't believe she suffered such a dismal demise. It's chilling to think that a girl who was so full of life and so intensely adored at one point, could be utterly alone only a few decades later.

Isn't that sad?

27 comments:

Meri said...

That is really sad- there seem to be so many stories like this. I wonder where the joy goes?

Julie @ ROJ Running said...

Wow that's terrible. In all honesty though what's weird about that is how uncommon it would be for anyone our generation as we age. Seriously. Think about it, one week without a tweet or FB update and people are hunting you down like there's no tomorrow. Try not paying your bills or a month let alone a year and see who shows up. That being said....how terrible of a loss.

btd. said...

This is very sad. They're doing a movie about a story like this, I don't know if it's based on her. A year and nobody, nobody, tried to go see her? Extremely sad.
cookingturtles.blogspot.com

French Girl in Seattle said...

Very sad story indeed, and you found the words once again to tell it, and tell it well. As for you, my dear Jenny, not to worry. I know I live far away, but I promise to alert the authorities if you have not posted/commented/liked on FB in more than a day. Deal? ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

debbiecutieface.com said...

wow. This sounds really horrible.

just me said...

sad, but i never knew it. was interesting to readed it.

http://excurlythoughts.blogspot.com

cricketfreak said...

That's terrible. I would hate to die like that-utterly alone.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Wow. I'm glad you're bringing attention to her story. It's incredibly sad.

Be well.
xoRobyn

Stephanie said...

So terribly sad... I worry a bit about that sometimes. My husband is away a lot, I don't work, and I don't really know anyone all that well in my new town. I mean, we get together with friends every couple of weeks, but no one that I talk to every day. I talk to my parents on the phone a lot, but it wouldn't be that unusual for me to not call for a week if life gets really busy. I sometimes think that I could be kidnapped or attacked, and no one would even know that I was in trouble until my husband came home a week later. And then I worry about what would happen to my dog while I was busy being kidnapped and/or attacked. Neurotic? Yeah, a little bit.

Mabel said...

What a horrible story! That's going to be like me. Sigh....

Mabel
Mabel Time

Shannon said...

Just wow....such a sad end. It really shows the importance of friends and family.

Belly B said...

OMG. This story is going to haunt me FOREVER. You're a fantastic story teller.

Belly B :)

JUST ME said...

If you don't hear from me for a few months, make sure you check my credit card statement for a massive order of cupcakes...I may have gone insane and eaten myself to death via sugar.

Kim (SassyUptownChic) said...

I have that SAME fear being an only child. It is truly scary! I read about that and was truly scared just like you. Happy New Year to you and I wanted you to know I have a new blog address. :)
http://www.averysweetblog.com/

Arielle said...

Wow, that is shocking to think about. You can be at such a high in your life like that, and then be forgotten just as easily. It's chilling to think about.

-Arielle
www.humblepievintage.com

Kristin said...

That is the ultimate tragedy...To die alone.

Josie said...

That is the saddest story ever. So eerie.
xo Josie

azu said...

Oh my God. I hope that NEVER happens to me! I've heard of this happening before but for it to take a year for anyone to find out is heartbreaking :(

On a brighter note, I hope that this year brings you much luck, good health and happiness!

xo

Imogen said...

I'd never even heard of this before. Again, where was it? Absolutely shocking and so very sad. It is unbelievable how much her life changed. She was so gorgeous when she was young.

Nicole✗✗ said...

That is incredibly sad! It is so unfortunate to think that anyone dies alone but also to be forgotten, that's terrible. She was absolutely beautiful and obviously talented it's just too bad it had to end that way for her.

Believe me I will notice if you disappear from the blog world!!

John O'Dowd said...

http://www.highlighthollywood.com/2012/01/02/yvette-vickerss-dear-friend-author-john-odowd-an-exclusive-highlight-hollywood-interview/

Beautifully written. Jennifer, thank you for your kindness and compassion for my friend, Yvette.

Sincerely,
John O'Dowd

Tights Lover said...

That is almost unfathomable. I imagine the combination of alcohol and become a recluse drove whatever friends she may have had left away, but a year? I can't imagine ever getting to the point where I could disappear for a year with no one noticing...

ps. I hope your 2012 is off to an amazing start...

The Woven Moments said...

So sad.

But you know how I know I'll never be like her?


I was never a playboy playmate.


HA!

KorasVictory said...

Its very sad, I used to be as afraid as you of end up alone with my cats, but lately I am not that scared, I dont know why, really, maybe just a lot of things in mind to care about a dark and lonely futer for a wile. Your post almost make me cry, its terrible how somebody can be so high and then... :(

Movies on my Mind said...

Somebody once said that the reason people have more than one kid in life is so that they can look out for each other after the parents are gone. Like the old song goes, your siblings are the key to your past and the ones most likely to stick with you when things go wrong. There's sort of some truth in that I guess, though they can annoy you too at times.

BragonDorn said...

I am a hipster! Wait.. what are you doing with that bat? Get away from me!!! Ahhh! If only I had your guide before this happened.

Ocean Dreams said...

Very sad...makes me wonder why she just gave up on life. Maybe she put too much stock in a Hollywood life. We'll never know.