Sandra Dee

"How I Dare to Love Today!"

This article, written by Tex Maddox, appeared in the
May 1964 issue of Movieland and TV Land Magazine.

Because she knows we've been holding good thoughts for the Darin's all along . . . Sandy reveals the whole new story just for you!

"It was the first morning I didn't have to get to the studio until eleven. Instead of setting the alarm for six a.m., at last I could sleep later. "At seven forty-five, Doddie was tugging me awake. 'Mommy, I want some oatmeal!' he cried, loud and clear.

"I answered, 'Go ask Ethel.' She was our housekeeper and now is our son's nurse."

"Next I heard his emphatic 'No!' And I want you to do it.' Since he was two last December, no matter what I ask him it's instant NO. I guess Dodd thinks he's proving he has grown up."

"By eight o'clock I'd given up my scheme for a good night's sleep. I was up fixing him oatmeal."

Sandra Dee looked smooth as satin when she told me how she dares to love today. I found her in her long, lavish trailer dressing room on a sound stage at Universal; where she was playing the wealthiest girl in the world in I'd Rather Be Rich. In a stunning gold colored cocktail dress that hugged her ever so subtly, with her soft blonde hair intrically coiffed, she was never prettier.

"After this week's opening breakfast bit, Dodd decided to kiss his father fondly. He knew Bobby was sleeping, but obviously he's inherited his firmness and my implusiveness. For him it was the ideal moment to be tender."

"When his 'Daddy' didn't wake Bobby, I was speechless myself. I could hear Dodd suddenly switch to my tone of voice. To my utter amazement, he was imitating me, saying, "Bobby" exactly as I do. Well, it worked. Yes, his parents ate their oatmeal with his second helping!"

"Everything has happened to me on this picture," she said with a happy sigh. "Really, my nerves are on edge!" she added as she sat down on a beautiful couch and I settled in one of the comfortable chairs to dive into details.

In her new film, Sandra as the granddaughter of a doting tycoon played by Maurice Chevalier, has the most gorgeuous clothes she has ever worn. 17 Jean Louis orginals were designed for her.

"I like dressing up for the part," she admitted promptly. As he always does producer Ross Hunter was presenting her with all the ensembles for her own personal wardrobe at the finish of the production. "I adore that custom of his! I certainly wear whatever a role requires but I'd rather not go around as quaint as Tammy in real life."

And in this movie she also has a change of genuine jewels for each outfit. Gems literally worth $1,650,000 were rented for her from Cartier's in Manhattan.

"It's fantastic to wear diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls in gold and platinum settings that are breathtaking," she acknowledged.

In the night club scene where Andy Williams woos her with an irresistable song, Sandra will be seen ablaze with such accessories as diamond rings, a gold evening bag studded with diamonds, and an engagement ring that is enchanting, not gaudy, although it's a 22-carat diamond ring costing $275,000.

This fortune in jewels, flown west to adorn her, was fully insured and kept in a safe vault when not on Sandra. Herman Vossmeyer, the studio security guard specially assigned to be with her whenever any of the jewels were, is a 38-year old, stocky built bachelor who wore his .32 automatic tucked in his waistband. He even followed her to the ladies room.

"Jean Louis picked out all the pieces to accent the clothes properly. Then I was almost stuck with a fake the day the emerald brooch was late!"

"Cartier's delivered the jewelry by insured mail. But somebody forgot to put a special delivery stamp on. For that lack of thirty cents, a package valued at nearly $500,000 gave us a chill. I was about to use costume jewlery held ready for any emergency. But at the last minute the stage door burst open, and in poured three men with that package triumphantly!"

"It's a dream part, definitely."

Consider that she had to be courted by fabulous Andy, who makes his film debut ardently angling for her, and Robert Goulet. Both go into romantic songs to win her.

"I stopped playing their records in here," Sandra said, rising to put another pile on her stereo, "I think they're both tremendous singers, but I felt it would embarass them to hear me keeping their albums on."

Since she married such a successful singer, and could develop her own voice to make more records, Sandra's awareness of singing talent naturally was acute. She also was plainly awed by the magnetic presence of Maurice Chevalier.

"Bobby's "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?' is the first standard he's ever done as a single. I'm crazy about the way he sings it!" she enthused.

"Actually, it was his discovery that he could run his music business from Hollywood that got us our new home on Toluca Lake. Bobby is as glad as I am that we're staying in California after all, because he wants to begin enjoying the year-round outdoor life that's possible."

When he played top night clubs, Sandra unhesitatingly took their baby along, traveling incessantly to be with her husband wherever he sang. Last fall when they reconciled she once more demonstrated her belief that his was the most important career.

Bobby had decided to accept no more night club dates. He completed another tour of high paying one night stands, sleeping irregular hours in the special bus he hired to transport himself and his musicians, in a state of exhaustion.

Wisely he chose to concentrate on making records and developing new singers—also he wanted to continue appearing in dramatic roles in films so he could progress as an actor. They'd live in Manhattan where he employs a staff of nine at his T-M Music Company headquarters.

"We put our house here and the home in Palm Springs up for sale and I unpacked some things in a suite at a New York hotel. Whenever we looked at apartments, Bobby worried immediately about a yard for Doddie. Though we searched for the right house in the suburbs, we had no luck. Still, I intended to return here only when I made a picture."

Her total commitment gave Bobby the freedom of choice he needed. He'd always longed to plant permanent roots for his family in the west. Finally he realized there was no valid reason why he couldn't function just fine from his offices in the Capitol Tower on Vine Street.

"I was as thrilled as he was," Sandra recalled. "The next day I was planning on packing like mad again. I like to meet people, see old friends and make new ones. But I've been going on so many trips and always have so much stuff to pack and undo that I don't like a traveling life any more."

"Neither does Bobby."

"Besides, I'm still afraid to fly. On that plane when we were moving back west, I pretended I wasn't up in the air by talking sensibly to him about how we'd not buy a house impulsively. That was the trouble with our first one. We plunged into it and then saw we had to make a lot of changes. I was working steadily. The custom-made furniture Bobby ordered before leaving for a night club date in Las Vegas was all too large and had to be cut down. We supposed we wanted everything ultra-modern, but by the time the additions were made we didn't."

"Live and learn! We flew in on a Friday to California again. Sunday Bobby saw an advertisement we couldn't ignore. To be cautious, he went to inspect the heavenly Spanish house by himself that Monday. I went to it alone on Tuesday, Wednesday we hurried over together. On the doorstep, I tugged Bobby, pleaded with him to calm down and dicker."

This was a married move new to her. The more money conscious Bobby, however, assured her the price was so fair they shouldn't irk the owner by dickering. They didn't and paid for their new dream house eagerly.

"It's only ten minutes from the studio. We know this house will be perfect eventually."

"Of course," Sandra conceded, "getting into it wasn't simply a breeze. Before it was available, we turned down a cash bid for our original town house because we had no place to go. We'd sold our desert place since we only stayed there a few times, but we'd kept its furniture and decided to use it temporarily in our new, older house we're fixing up. As soon as I can, I'm going to get a decorator who'll take me around to inspect what Bobby and I might select."

"We know we want heavy pieces, brown velvet upholstering to carry out the Spanish air rather than the reds and whites we had."

"Our house sits back on its lawn that runs down to a private lake surrounded by beautiful homes. There are trees and flowers—the space and privacy, we didn't have before on that street above the Sunset Strip."

"Getting certain things painted wasn't painless. The cheerful blue for the walls in the baby's L-shaped room was no problem. But our beams in the living-room were! Bobby had to go to a paint store himself to figure out how to solve the stripped beam bit."

"When we were due to move, the painting wasn't done. My mother had been baby-sitting and helping us pack since I had begun this movie, but she'd planned a trip east. The day before she left, was her birthday and I surprised her with a darling Pomeranian. It was so tiny she had to leave it with us. The following day it jumped off a ledge and had to be rushed to a vet and into a cast for a broken leg. I brought him to work with me every day after that. Everybody autographed his cast!"

She had to taper that devotion, though.

The night Johnny Mathis opened at the Cocoanut Grove she and Bobby gave a gala party there in his honor. With three dogs and a mynah bird already at home, Bobby looked at the pomeranian she had cuddled in her safe arms as they sat in their chauffeur-driven limousine and announced, "It' either that dog or me!" Sandra recognized she had been too concerned about the puppy. It would grow up and she really must let it out of her sight.

"I've become a regular Pearl Mesta," she revealed next. "We have a couple keeping house for us and Bobby likes to invite friends to dinner. I plan what's to be served by phone between scenes."

"Two weeks after we expected to move we told the housekeepers to go on over. I had all our mail switched. Then the painters didn't get done, so we weren't finally there ourselves for another two weeks."

"I had to have all our mail redirected back. The studio didn't know where to call me because I never knew at which place I'd be. I was afraid to walk into either. I knew both were a mess! "The confusion disturbed Bobby, too, because he's so well-organized and neat."

Minus the cook, Sandra had to prepare dinner after she got home from work for those two weeks. "I've always been able to cook pretty well, but I don't care to go at it so fast." Her fullest week end came when she had to supervise the final moving from the distant residence to the closer one. "I never thought I'd be directing traffic in and out of a huge van, but that's how I ended up."

All during this hectic spell she continued driving her Lincoln Continental to the studio where, in her new role, she presumably was a giddy miss living in a half-million dollar mansion where all was automatically elegant. A make believe butler was on tap.

The Number One feminine star on the Universal lot, Sandra plays someone her own age for the first time in this screen ball. She's jubilantly 22 this April—old enough to be coping victoriously with her personal problems as a famous wife off the screen, yet not too old to frolic as a happy heroine on the screen.

She still finds plenty of kissing scenes in her scripts. Eight years ago when she was 14, a kissing scene with John Saxon comprised her screen test. Leon Charles, who coached her for it, warned her not to bump the handsome John's nose. As the dialogue director on her newest movie, he didn't have to fear she'd collapse from fright when she had to kiss Robert Goulet and Andy Williams nineteen times.

"This script said I had to register sheer ecstasy by instinctively slipping off both shoes when I responded to the one I truly loved. Don't those writers dream up the weirdest things? Imagine not realizing you're in love until your feet hurt! My feet have never told me that, so I was acting, believe me."

She laughed at another memory. "When Andy and I went for a stroll in the woods for a scene, I had to wear capeskin slacks and an overblouse. They sprayed me from the waist down to make my slacks fit tighter."

"We had to be scared by a bear weighing six hundred pounds. That bear, waiting to begin, went to sleep because it was his hibernating period. The director had a stand-by bit player ready to get into a bear suit from Western Costuming, but the trainer woke his bear and got him going toward us by tying a lady bear, Minnie, to a tree behind us as his incentive. Carroll—the one who was frightening us—ambled toward Minnie all right, but after we'd registered alarm he simply went to sleep again. And Minnie climbed into her cage on a truck and looked at him like a woman scorned!"

"I don't think Andy will ever forget his first picture. When he and I had to barbecue a rocket-stuffed prop chicken that was to take off into the air to our dismay, it blew up in our faces instead with a roaring flash. Fortunately, we weren't hurt." He was, though, when he did his first film fight with Robert Goulet for Sandra's smiles. Bob miscalculated on a rehearsed punch and Andy had to be taken to the studio hospital for the deep cut over his right eyebrow.

Bobby goes to his office for the full day. But on week ends he relaxes, Sandra vowed. "I bought him a motor scooter and something safer—a twelve foot sailboat we sail Dodd around the lake in. I was going to order a cabin cruiser, but they wouldn't permit a boat that big. "I expect our son will become the healthiest of athletes because Bobby is so anxious to guide him into sports.

"Me, I'm still a hypochondriac—always imagining I'm about to get everything! Bobby's just the opposite, will never admit he's feeling bad."

He's one hundred per cent okay physically now, his doctor reports. Yet, at 7, he suffered his first severe attack of rheumatic fever. Bobby had three more severe sieges by the time he was 11. He's alive only because of advances in medical treatment. That's why he's proving his gratefulness by devoting so much energy to the American Heart Association's campaign for funds for the research that will end heart disease. "It's OUR country's Number One Killer," Bobby reminds people. Last year eighty-nine research programs sponsored by the finest doctors had to be canceled by the association's lack of funds!

Because his efforts are so constant, and he is a living symbol of hope for all children stricken by heart trouble, Bobby has been officially appointed the association's permanent National Heart Ambassador.

Sandra is so proud of him. She will star in two more movies for Universal this year, teaming with Jimmy Darren first (NOTE: Bobby Darin eventually got the role), in "That Funny Feeling." a comedy which starts rolling shortly. Bobby has two more films set at the same studio, thanks to his newly demonstrated dramatic ability.

"Next year I want to have our second child," she confided. "By then we'll be caught up where we're bogged down." Behind her shimmering glamor, there is a deep sensitivy and a passionate love of life in Sandra's nature that makes you root for her.

"Bobby beams because he taught me to fish. It was fun camping out with him up in the High Sierras for those trout. Now I'll bet he's wondering if we can go down to Baja, California, to tackle marlin. The place I'd rather go for complete relaxation is Hawaii. I was there for the first time last summer for a week and got a wonderful tan surfing. It's lazy magic haunts me. "But we'll enjoy our home first. We intend to add a projection room, along with the proper furnishings. If I can't manage to make the house run serenely, I'll decide happiness is a three-ring circus of our own!"


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