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Closer Weekly: Sandra Dee ‘Begged’ Bobby Darin to Marry Her after Mom Cut Her off at 18

Gracious Egedegbe
Nov 08, 2021
05:40 P.M.
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Sandra Dee's relationship with Bobby Darin dominated headlines back in the day. Find out how they ended up together, including the details of how she begged him to marry her.

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Sandra Dee was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1950s thanks to her starring roles in movies like "Gidget" and "A Summer Place."

Meanwhile, Bobby Darin was an American singer and actor known for his incredible talent. He sang jazz, pop, rock and roll, folk, swing, and country music and excelled in them.

Dee and Darin's paths crossed, and they fell madly in love with each other, leading to a relationship that interested tabloids a great deal. Although their marriage did not last, their love for each other did. Find out more about Dee and Darin.

DEE'S CAREER

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Dee was born Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey, on April 23, 1942. She came into the limelight at an early age and was already a successful model at 12.

At 14, she was signed for her first film, "Until They Sail." In 1959, she became a box-office hit following her starring performance in the films "Gidget" and "A Summer Place."

US actress Sandra Dee wearing a sleeveless blue dress and sitting in a tapestry chair, circa 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

US actress Sandra Dee wearing a sleeveless blue dress and sitting in a tapestry chair, circa 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

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Other films Dee appeared in during her career in the 1960s include "Come September," "If A Man Answers," "That Funny Feeling," "Tammy and the Bachelor," and six others.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Hollywood's landscape had changed, and audiences no longer turned up to see the sugary-sweet fare that turned her into a star in the early 1960s.

Dee's only big-screen movie in the 1970s was "The Dunwich Horror." She also starred in four made-for-television films and appeared in several TV series like "Night Gallery," "Love," "American Style," and "Fantasy Island."

Portrait photo of American actress Sandra Dee circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait photo of American actress Sandra Dee circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

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DARIN'S CAREER

Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto on May 14, 1936. He began his career as a songwriter for Connie Francis and recorded his first million-selling single "Splish Splash" in 1958.

Afterward, Darin sang the songs "Dream Lover," "Mack the Knife," and "Beyond the Sea" and became a worldwide sensation. In 1962, he starred in his first film, "Come September," and won a Golden Globe for his performance.

Darin worked on the late Robert F. Kennedy's Democratic presidential campaign and was present when the latter was assassinated. In the latter years of his career, he secluded himself due to personal issues and struggled with his health until death.

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Portrait of American singer and actor Bobby Darin circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait of American singer and actor Bobby Darin circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

DARIN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH DEE

Darin met Dee on the set of the box-office hit "Come September," wherein they co-starred. Dee's first impression of Darin was not pleasant as his swagger and confidence turned her off. However, he loved her and told her he planned to marry her.

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Dee was just 18 at the time and had no dating experience. Hence, she started ignoring Darin on set. Yet, he continued teasing her, reasoning that her reaction to his love was better than nothing at all.

Dee once revealed that they lived together after their divorce.

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

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When Dee's overbearing mom, Mary Zuck, observed that she was avoiding Darin, she ordered her to be cordial with her co-star. The teenage actress accepted her fate and went on a date with Darin.

After that, she fell madly in love with him. Soon after, the couple got engaged, which enraged Dee's mom so much that she cut her off. Dee was struck by her mom's action as she had never lived alone.

She felt lost and begged Darin to marry her. They hastily married in 1960, but Dee revealed that she was scared to death. The couple welcomed their son named Dodd in 1961.

American singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee, circa 1962. | Photo: Getty Images

American singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee, circa 1962. | Photo: Getty Images

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Dee felt that way because of the childhood trauma she suffered at the hands of her stepfather, Eugene Douvan, who started caressing her while he was dating her mother.

Douvan continued with the act after marrying Mary, who did not acknowledge what was happening. Therefore, Dee had no support and could not confide in her mother. It caused her to develop an eating disorder when she was nine years old.

Dodd detailed his parents' lives and relationships in his book titled "Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee."

Actress Sandra Dee poses for a photo on November 3, 1959 in Los Angeles. | Photo: Getty Images

Actress Sandra Dee poses for a photo on November 3, 1959 in Los Angeles. | Photo: Getty Images

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In the book, he revealed that thirty years after Douvan's death, Dee finally told her mom that he sexually abused her. However, Mary did not believe her daughter and told her she was drunk and should go to bed.

The following day after Dee woke up, she repeated the exact words to her mother. Mary could not say anything as she had no comeback words.

Meanwhile, Darin did not know about Dee's secret pain even though she acted strangely. He also struggled with his personal problems.

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

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The singer had mood swings and seemed to always be in haste. As a child, Darin had rheumatic fever and had a premonition that he would die young. That feeling affected everything Darin did.

Following the birth of Darin and Dee's son, she often felt tired. Hence, her doctors gave her amphetamines to help her cope with the fatigue. However, she became addicted to the drug. Her addiction led to her and Darin's divorce in 1967.

Actress Sandra Dee attends a dinner party in Los Angeles, California circa 1966. | Photo: Getty Images

Actress Sandra Dee attends a dinner party in Los Angeles, California circa 1966. | Photo: Getty Images

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A NEVER-ENDING LOVE

Dee never remarried after her and Darin's split. However, he remarried but divorced his second wife in 1973. Despite their separation, the former lovebirds remained soulmates.

Dee once revealed that they lived together after their divorce. The actress was at her ex-husband's death bed while he battled with heart ailments.

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

American actor and singer Bobby Darin with his wife, actress Sandra Dee at the 33rd Academy Awards, Santa Monica, California on April 17, 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

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In 1973, he died at 37 following open-heart surgery. In a chat with Closer Weekly, Sue Cameron, who authored "Hollywood Secrets and Scandals" and was a friend of both Dee and Darin, said:

"The last time I saw Bobby, he said they were going to try a relationship again. Sandra was very much still in love with him and he was still in love with her."

Studio portrait of American actress Sandra Dee, circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Studio portrait of American actress Sandra Dee, circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Dee's later life was a struggle-relapse, recovery, and isolation. Her son, Dodd, was always there for her but wished she could live an everyday life or develop a sense of self. Unfortunately, she died of kidney disease at the age of 62 on February 20, 2005.

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