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The Real Diana Dors (Hardback)

Social History Biographies White Owl

By Anna Cale
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 32 black and white images
ISBN: 9781526782151
Published: 30th July 2021

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RRP £19.99

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The story of Swindon-born film star Diana Dors is one of fame, glamour and intrigue. From the moment she came into the world, her life was full of drama. Her acting career began in the shadow of the Second World War, entering the film world as a vulnerable young teenager and negotiating the difficult British studio system of the 1940s and 50s. Yet she battled against the odds to become one of the most iconic British actors of the 20th century.

This book follows her remarkable story, from childhood in suburban Swindon, to acting success as a teenager and finding fame as the ‘the English Marilyn Monroe’. Many remember her as an outspoken and sometimes controversial figure, grabbing headlines for her personal life as often as her film roles. For Diana, image seemed to be everything, but there was more to her than the ‘blonde bombshell’ reputation suggested. A talented actor, she worked on numerous film and television projects, building a fascinating career that spanned decades.

Set against the backdrop of the changing social landscape of twentieth century Britain, this book charts the ups and downs of her diverse acting career and her tumultuous private life, to build a fascinating picture of a truly unique British screen icon.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’m not really an autobiography reader but Diana is a little different. She was a curvy platinum saucy icon. If you say Diana Dors everyone seems to have a view of her being that person. She is so much more. A really interesting read and has been read by all the family. I think she does resonate with lots of age groups too. Excellent interesting read.

NetGalley, Andrea Baker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Anna Cale does a great job of relating the incident-filled life of Diana Dors, the determined young woman who excelled at acting school only to be frustrated that she was usually cast in roles because of her stunning looks rather than her acting abilities. Her choice of men always caused complications and she appeared to be a magnet for flawed characters. My memories of her are from "Queenie's Castle", "Just William",various game and chat shows and despite the years since I saw it her memorable performance in "The Sweeney". . I was keen to learn more about the earlier life and career of someone who was a mainstream comedic character back when she was touted as "The British Marilyn Monroe".

As the book tells of Diana's life it also shows how British Cinema changed and evolved as her career did ,from the boom years that stoked a girl from Swindon's dreams to gradual decline,a flirtation with slightly grubby and best forgotten "Confessions" type movies then virtual extinction.
My main impression on finishing the book was of a massive talent frustrated in her early career and almost blighted by her looks , which seemed to be all that most movie makers were interested in.
Diana Dors was far from perfect but she deserved better than she got both in her acting career and her private life.
A great book about a true icon.

NetGalley, Dave Blendell

About Anna Cale

Anna Cale is an arts and culture writer who specialises in classic film and television. She has written for a number of publications and websites, including Little White Lies, Film Stories and the British Film Institute, and has also appeared on Radio 4. Her writing subjects are wide ranging, but she has an interest in British cinema of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and in particular showcasing the role of strong female voices in film culture.

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