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Actress Sandra Dee, teen-movie star; at 62

Sandra Dee, the pert and pretty star of popular low-budget teen movies of the late 1950s and early 1960s and the archetypal blond bobby-soxer of the era, died yesterday in Los Angeles. She was 62.

Ms. Dee's family requested that no other details be released, the Associated Press reported, but CNN said she had been undergoing treatment at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for complications of kidney disease and pneumonia.

She was best known for her roles in ''Gidget" (1959) as well as ''Tammy Tell Me True" (1961) and ''Tammy and the Doctor" (1963) -- sequels to Debbie Reynolds's 1957 hit ''Tammy and the Bachelor."

Ms. Dee also was notable for more serious roles -- ''A Stranger in My Arms" (1959), in which she supported June Allyson; Lana Turner's neglected daughter in ''Imitation of Life" (1959); and a young hellcat in ''The Wild and the Innocent" (1959), a Western with Audie Murphy. She also costarred with another young, blond heartthrob, Troy Donahue, in ''A Summer Place" (1959).

As the 1960s dawned, Hollywood fans across the country were gossiping about Ms. Dee's one-month courtship with singer Bobby Darin before they married.

She was voted one of Hollywood's top 10 moneymakers in 1960 and again in 1961, thanks to that year's ''Tammy Tell Me True" and ''Come September," with Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida.

Ms. Dee was born Alexandra Zuck in Bayonne, N.J. She decided on an acting career at age 5 and by 12 had become one of the country's top models and cover girls.

Her agency got her into TV commercials for Coca-Cola and Coppertone, and she was discovered by Universal producer Ross Hunter, who didn't want to pay Warner Bros. $200,000 to borrow Natalie Wood for a remake of ''Imitation of Life."

MGM borrowed her for her first movie role, in ''Until They Sail" (1957). ''Not since the days when Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin were teen-agers has there been more excitement over a young girl than there is over Sandra Dee, a peach-melba type honey with the golden-blond hair and the big brown eyes," gossip columnist Louella Parsons enthused over her movie debut.

MGM kept Ms. Dee for ''The Reluctant Debutante" (1958), in which she played an American being launched into London society opposite John Saxon. ''Imitation of Life" was her breakthrough.

She did several movies with her husband in the early 1960s, and with James Stewart and Robert Goulet, but after ''That Funny Feeling" (1965), a box-office flop that costarred Darin, and a supporting role in the less-than-successful ''A Man Could Get Killed" (1966), Universal dropped her.

''I thought they were my friends," she told the Associated Press that year. ''But I found on the last picture ['A Man Could Get Killed'] that I was simply a piece of property to them. I begged them not to make me do the picture, but they insisted."

She and Darin divorced in 1967. In a March 1991 interview with People magazine, she said that she was sexually abused as a child by her stepfather and that she was pushed into stardom by her mother.

She said she had battled depression, alcohol, and anorexia and had hit bottom after her mother died in 1988. She credited her son with helping her recover.

Ms. Dee's marriage to Darin, who died at age 37 in 1973, has been in the spotlight most recently thanks to ''Beyond the Sea," Kevin Spacey's movie paean to the singer and teen idol. In that movie, Kate Bosworth plays Sandra Dee.

Ms Dee leaves a son, Dodd Darin of Malibu, Calif., and two grandchildren.

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