The Dark Side Of Fame! Three “True Tragic Tales” Of Hollywood!

Well, another Oscar season is past us: two months filled with red carpets, klieg lights, and stars stars stars!

Unfortunately, the reality is much less glamorous: it’s difficult to break through in the business, and just as difficult to stay in the limelight once you have…

Three “True Hollywood” Stories…

The history of Hollywood is littered with tragedy…living in the “fast lane” can take its toll on anyone, and here are three examples of women who achieved stardom and then struggled to stay on top:

Meet Sex Kitten Yvette Vickers!

Young starlet Yvette Vickers had it all in 1950’s Hollywood: beauty, sex appeal, and a bawdy view on life…she was poised to become one of Hollywood’s newest sex kittens!

sex kitten yvette vickers

Two things cemented Vicki’s stardom….The first being a classic cult film that rode the wave of 50’s sci-fi:

yvette-vickers attack of 50 ft woman

“Attack Of The 50-Ft. Woman!”

This is one of the most entertaining films of the 50’s, a huge hit that made Vickers a household name.

Here is the very entertaining trailer for “Attack Of The 50-Ft. Woman”:

Shocking death of Yvette Vickers


Cue The Sexual Revolution!

The following year, Vickers posed for a new and scandalous magazine – Playboy! You have to remember that, in the late 50’s, nude photographs in magazines like Playboy were shocking, but at the end of the 50’s, America was ready to be jolted out of complacency, and a sex kitten like Vickers was just what the country needed!

Her 1959 Playboy pictorial was photographed by legendary filmmaker Russ Meyer!

yvette vickers death in beverly hills

Vickers became a cult icon, and in the 60’s she acted in several more films, and then became a common face for decades at conventions and film festivals, where she signed autographs and lived life as a “former” sex symbol.

playboy-yvette-vickers

The Downside Of Fame…

As I’ve said, staying on top is hard in tinseltown. Life in Hollywood can be more than some can handle, and that was the case with Vickers, who fell out of the spotlight and into an increasingly isolated life. She was found dead in her Beverly Hills home – dead for almost a year before being discovered.

You can read the whole story of the life and death of Yvette Vickers by clicking here…

https://johnrieber.com/2016/01/27/death-in-beverly-hills-the-shocking-story-of-legendary-sex-kitten-yvette-vickers/

Next up, the story of a bright young star who couldn’t defeat her own demons…

“An Angel In A Snake Pit”

These words were spoken by one of Hollywood’s most promising stars, describing her own personal hell…

This is the story of Hollywood sex kitten June Fairchild. June was an aspiring Actress building a career along with other hot young stars in the 60’s like Jack Nicholson, but her story took a tragic turn…

sex kitten june fairchild

June Fairchild got her start as a go-go dancer, and quickly found herself part of Hollywood’s new generation of stars: she co-starred in The Monkees’ cult classic musical film called “Head”…

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, after this success her film career dissolved “in a haze of drugs and booze”, and the Actress tried going to rehab several times throughout her life…

Shocking photos of June were printed in 2001, revealing her plight. She was shown selling newspapers on the steps of a Los Angeles courthouse, living on LA’s Skid Row in a single-room occupancy hotel.

June Fairchild RIP Skid Row

You can read the entire, sad story here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/03/20/sex-kitten-june-fairchild-from-stardom-to-skid-row-a-starlets-shocking-death/

Finally, here is the story of an Actress who got her starting one of cult cinema’s most unique films:

Meet Actress Jill Banner!

If you don’t recognize this star, it’s because her movie roles were overshadowed by her personal life…but if you saw her screen debut, you’d never forget it!

“I caught a big fat bug right in my spider web and now the spider gets to give the bug a big sting. Sting! Sting! Sting! Sting! Sting!”

Here is a “True Hollywood Story” if there ever was one: an Actress who made her debut in one of the craziest cult films ever, and ended up on the arm of Marlon Brando!

This ultra-rare photo shows Banner with Brando, and here is the fascinating story that brought them together….it all began with this cult classic:

Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told!

This is one cult gem! Legendary Exploitation Director Jack Hill made his moviemaking debut with this tale of a strange trio of kids being raised by iconic Hollywood horror star Lon Chaney Jr!

Ultimately, she dropped out of Hollywood and ended up living with Marlon Brando when tragedy struck…you can read her entire story here:


https://johnrieber.com/2017/03/18/cult-actress-jill-banner-from-spider-baby-web-to-marlon-brandos-arm-a-true-hollywood-tragedy/

Three very sad stories of the downside of fame…and hopefully a chance to look back at their careers and appreciate them more…



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Horror films, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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13 replies

  1. Another fascinating post about Hollywood. Thank you.

  2. Who would guess that stardom could be that toxic? But, as much fun as it appears to be from the outside, I guess that it would be a stressful lifestyle.

    • Alice, I work in the entertainment industry,a nd it’s really hard to see people get caught up in it in all the wrong ways, or struggle to stay in the business, which is VERY harsh on people as they age…

  3. Fascinating and sad. Thanks for introducing me to three wonderful actresses.

    • Thank you for the comment. they all had great success, but personal demons as well…I have posted about others, and will do an update highlighting some great talent who have made it through the Hollywood “meat grinder” and survived!

  4. Such a shame. Yvette was gorgeous in her heyday. Fame can bring with it a heavy price indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. Fame is very hard to handle, John. Lots of Hollywood tragedies.

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