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I did well because I was the first and only British blonde bombshell

Born with a somewhat unprepossessing family name – Fluck – blonde bombshell Diana Dors was heralded as the British answer to Marilyn Monroe, when she first sashayed onto the screen, aged just 15, in the 1950s.

Feisty, funny and always unafraid to speak her mind, Diana dismissed any rivalry, saying these rumours had been cooked up by the tabloid press, who’d actually compared Marilyn to her.

Diana later alluded to her own sex-symbolry as “rather like Britain`s naughty seaside postcards,” but also famously described herself as “the only sex symbol Britain has produced since lady Godiva.”

Films including prison drama, The Weak and the Wicked showed Diana not only had pinup looks, but the acting talent for gritty roles. Later on in her career, she relished the opportunity of playing grotesque character roles and was wonderful – and virtually unrecognisable – as wicked housekeeper Mrs Wickens in ghostly 1970s children’s film, The Amazing Mr Blunden.

Off-screen, details of Diana’s colourful private life also kept the British public entertained.

There were stories of wild parties, love affairs and stormy marriages and debt. There were headlines when Diana first arrived in Hollywood after she and some other party guests were knocked fully dressed into a swimming pool and a fracas ensued. If the newspaper stories were good, that was was nothing compared to the tales Diana later told in several best-selling books about her own life and many celebrities she knew.

By the time she’d found a new career as a TV agony aunt in the 1980s, Diana was an icon and put in a dazzling guest appearance in Adam and the Ants video, Prince Charming, one of the biggest hits of the decade.

Thrice-wed Diana had twice beaten cancer when she was rushed to hospital in May 1984 with stomach pains. She underwent an operation, but died a few days later. Memories of the flamboyant star still make waves in newspaper stories, TV programmes and books.

Looking back at the early days of her film career in the British film industry she said: “There was a lot of work for everybody, wonderful pictures were made, and glamorous premieres...and then it all came to an end. It was very sad really. But I'd like to see something like that happen again.”