Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
Dolores Fuller, erstwhile galpal (both on and offscreen) of legendary cross-dressing, grade-Z "director" Ed Wood, died Monday after suffering from a long illness. She was 88.
She first met her misguided guiding spirit while answering a casting call for a picture Wood was slated to, but never did, direct. (Fuller was working at the time as a stand-in on The Dinah Shore Show.) The two hit it off and Fuller went on to appear in a trio of the master's satirically-acclaimed cheapies. First came Glen's -- or was it Glenda's? -- sweetheart in the seminal transvestite tour de force, Glen or Glenda? This was soon followed by a smaller, but nonetheless plum part in Jail Bait, and a drastically reduced role in Bride of the Monster. Their romance ended when fickle Wood decided to award the lead in Bride to another actress. Soon after, the ever-beautiful flowers Fuller had planted with her own hands became nothing more than the lost roses of her cheeks.
Prior to meeting the posthumously-appointed "World's Worst Director," the Indiana native breezed through one dinky part after another in films for such arch auteurs as Frank Capra (It Happened One Night), Fritz Lang (The Blue Gardenia), and Don Siegel (Count the Hours). Once schooled by this golden triumverate, was there any other direction to go but down? Frankly, no, and Fuller proved it by -- in addition to working for Wood -- appearing as one of Jack Bailey's models on the sick-making, hyper-maudlin, daytime-TV sobfest, Queen for a Day.
As an actress, Fuller made a terrific songwriter. She had an in at Paramount through her friendship with producer Hal Wallis. Instead of the acting role Fuller hinted at, Wallis put her in touch with a music publisher. Fuller and her partner, composer Ben Weisman, went on to pen a dozen tunes (including Rock-a-Hula, Baby) for Elvis Presley.
Most recently, Fuller could be seen signing autographs and taking pictures at collectibles shows. She died peacefully at her Las Vegas home. The family asks that you send angora sweaters in lieu of flowers.
In the following interview, Dolores Fuller discusses her relationship with Ed as well as her thoughts on Tim Burton's biopic, Ed Wood, which she claims to adore...except for the manner in which that snotty Sara Jessica Parker portrayed her.
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