Diane Varsi
Diane Varsi
Diane Marie Antonia Varsi was an American film actress best known for her performances in Peyton Place – her film debut, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award – and the cult film Wild in the Streets. She left Hollywood in order to pursue personal and artistic aims, notably at Bennington College in Vermont, where she studied poetry with poet and translator Ben Belitt, among others.
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NYTimes - over 10 years
9 P.M. (A&E) DRIVING FORCE -- They're Daddy's little girls, in more ways than one. This new reality series follows the drag racer John Force as he tries to keep his lead-footed racing daughters -- Courtney, Ashley and Brittany (above, front row from left, with their father and their mother, Laurie) -- intact on and off the track. 8 P.M. (Turner
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NYTimes - about 17 years
Splendid performances and tales of love in many forms, often accompanied by outstanding music, furnish rewards aplenty in the week's best movies. As a prime example, take ''LIMELIGHT'' (1952), in which Charles Chaplin plays the fading old British music hall clown who nurses a suicidal young ballerina (Claire Bloom in her screen debut) toward
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NYTimes - over 17 years
A rare satire of Hollywood glamour and publicity is concocted in Victor Felming's BOMBSHELL (1933). This slapdash but sharp, hilarious fable of a Hollywood press agent (Lee Tracy) and his glamorous star (Jean Harlow) was reportedly based on the chaotic home life of Clara Bow, the director's girlfriend. One of the funniest scenes involves his
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Diane Varsi, 54, Dies; Former Film Actress
NYTimes - over 24 years
Diane Varsi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her first film, "Peyton Place," died on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 54 years old and lived in Los Angeles. She died of respiratory problems and also had Lyme disease, said her daughter, Willo Hausman. Miss Varsi played Allison MacKenzie in "Peyton Place," the 1957 melodrama based on the
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HOME VIDEO; New Video Releases
NYTimes - almost 26 years
The Bonfire of the Vanities 1990. Warner. $92.95. Laser disk, $29.98. 2 hours, 6 minutes. Closed captioned. R. Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) tries to beat hit-and-run charges while myriad New Yorkers scramble to adapt the situation to their own advantage. Melanie Griffith is Sherman's mistress, Bruce Willis is the reporter Peter Fallow and Morgan
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NYTimes - almost 31 years
''Citizen Kane'' and ''The Magnificent Ambersons,'' two masterpieces of American film, form a double bill that opens an important Orson Welles retrospective Sunday at the Regency Theater. The series, believed to be the most complete showing of Welles's work since his death at the age of 70 last October, includes 24 films and will run through June
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Diane Varsi
  • 1992
    Age 54
    On November 19, 1992, Varsi died from respiratory failure at the age of 54 in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details At the time of her death, she also had Lyme disease. She is buried in Mount Tamalpais Cemetery in San Rafael, California.
  • 1989
    Age 51
    The Lyme disease, combined with her neck injury, which had resulted from numerous surgeries, was not diagnosed until 1989.
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  • 1977
    Age 39
    In 1977, she contracted Lyme disease and lived for five years with undiagnosed and unremitting meningitis which brought her close to death several times.
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  • 1968
    Age 30
    In 1968, while working on the set of Wild in the Streets, Varsi suffered extreme trauma to her cervical spine, which led to years of misdiagnosed pain.
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  • 1965
    Age 27
    At some point thereafter, she made her way to New York long enough to successfully audition for the Actors Studio, which she would attend at least briefly in 1965.
    More Details Hide Details As a result of being released from her contract, Varsi returned to film acting in the late 1960s, but by this time she was no longer being offered major film roles. She called the films she made in this period "cheap films of little merit". She furthermore said that although producers were curious, they would not hire her. Her later films include Johnny Got His Gun in 1971, a film which Varsi described as her favorite, and a 1972 ABC-TV "Movie of the Week", titled The People. Of Johnny Got His Gun, the actress said: "This is the kind of thing I always wanted to do. It comes very late to me. It's been a long time to wait." She was nervous to play the role, saying: "I felt too inadequate to do Got His Gun. It's so intense, the responsibility."
    Nevertheless, her contract with Fox did not expire until 1965.
    More Details Hide Details Her sudden walkout was for a long time rumoured to be a publicity stunt to promote the sequel to Peyton Place, Return to Peyton Place (1961), to which Varsi was a long time attached. By walking out of her contract, Varsi's participation or consideration to several films were cancelled, including a starring role in The Best of Everything (1959). After leaving Hollywood, Varsi played in several small plays in San Francisco.
  • 1961
    Age 23
    She was married to Michael Hausman on May 21, 1961; they had a daughter, Willo.
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  • 1959
    Age 21
    On March 18, 1959, she suddenly left Hollywood, abandoning her contract.
    More Details Hide Details She commented on this by saying: "I'm running away from destruction." She refused to reveal her motives for leaving the industry, explaining it concerned other people as well. However, a week after leaving she stated: "Hollywood is too impressed with superficial cheapness."
    Varsi rejected the role of Meg in the comedy film Holiday for Lovers in January 1959.
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  • 1956
    Age 18
    From November 26, 1956, to August 29, 1958, Varsi was married to James Dickson, whom she made her manager while working as an actress.
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    She was even dropped by her agent in 1956, because he saw no future in her career.
    More Details Hide Details Even before Peyton Place was released, Adler cast Varsi opposite Don Murray in the western From Hell to Texas (1958). She appeared in the films Ten North Frederick (1958) and Compulsion (1959). While filming Ten North Frederick, Varsi suffered a nervous breakdown, collapsed and was hospitalized. She later said: "I'm still trying to find myself. It's still hard for me to separate illusion from reality... I don't know whether acting is the form of creativity best for me."
  • 1938
    Age 0
    Born on February 23, 1938.
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