It was a scene as outrageous and macabre as the films that made her famous.
Over the course of nearly a year, letters began piling up outside the sun-and-ivy-drenched Beverly Hills home of Yvette Vickers— the 1950s pin-up and star of such films as Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman and Attack of the Giant Leeches. When a neighbor finally broke into the house to check on Vickers, 82, she found a badly decomposed body (The Hollywood Reporter describes it as “mummified”) and a space heater nearby set to “on.”
“I just screamed,” Susan Savage told the Associated Press. “I got out of there right away.”
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Authorities do not suspect foul play, but say it could take a week to determine definitively that it was Vickers’ body. The remains could have been there from a few months to a year, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told AP.
If the body turns out to be Vickers’, it will be a cruel end to an actress who made her name indulging in some of Hollywood’s more extreme and dark nightmares. Her first film role was as a giggling girl in the film noir classic Sunset Boulevard in 1950.
By the late 1950s, she had turned to B-movies. In Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) she played the town flirt who has an affair with a married man, whose scorned wife becomes a giant after an encounter with an alien and kills the lovers. The Los Angeles Times called the film “one of the best bad movies ever made,” and a “Grade-A turkey.” In Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), Vickers played promiscuous wife who is done in by the creatures of the film’s title, according to the LA Times.
Vickers was also known for posing in Playboy in 1959 and for her 15-year relationship with actor Jim Hutton and her affair with Cary Grant, the LA Times reported.
Savage, her neighbor, told the LA Times, “She kept to herself, had friends and seemed like a very independent spirit,” Savage said. “To the end, she still got cards and letters from all over the world requesting photos.”
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