February 21, 2005
Sandra Dee, the blonde all-American girl-next-door whose star turns as Gidget and Tammy made her a teen idol in the 1960s, a status reinforced by her Hollywood marriage to pop singer Bobby Darin, died at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005. She was 62. Though the actress' sparkling, perky image made America's teenage boys want to date her and teenage girls want to be her, Dee told interviewers over the years that her real life involved continuing struggles with anorexia, drug use and alcoholism. Dee, who had been off-camera for decades, received fresh attention last year with the release of Beyond the Sea, a biopic about her late husband, with Kevin Spacey playing Darin and Kate Bosworth portraying Dee. The real-life headline-and-limelight couple had a stormy but passionate marriage from 1960 until their divorce in 1967. Darin died of heart disease in 1973.