Celebrating The Short But Provocative Career Of Susan Denberg!
I’m always fascinated by Actresses who have a huge movie role then suddenly drop out of sight! That’s the story of Susan Denberg.
The odds are you won’t know her, even though she was a “Hammer Glamour Queen!”
My “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” has the story of an Actress who worked briefly in the 60’s before dropping out of sight amid news reports of her LSD-fueled breakdown!
She was born Dietlinde Ostrun Zechner in Germany, right in the middle of the Second World War. Once she was old enough, she got out of that war-torn country and headed to England.
Susan got work as a chorus girl in London before heading to Las Vegas.
She ended up in Los Angeles in the mid-60’s and immediately caught the eye of Playboy.
Susan was named Miss August 1966 Playmate Of The Month.
That same year, she had appearances in both TV and film. She made her big screen debut in this very provocative film:
What an ad!
Here is the trailer for the film:
Based on a Norman Mailer novel, it’s the story of a TV talk-show host who may have killed his wife, and finds himself being pursued by both the police and a gang of hoods.
As part of their publicity campaign for the film, Warner Brothers played up her Playmate status – but also offered a $500 award in a nationwide contest to find a new screen name for Susan prior to the release of the film!
Out of 5,000 entries, one of which was “Norma Mailer”, all were rejected!
That same year, she appeared in the original “Star Trek” series as “Magna Kovacs”…the episode was called “Mudd’s Women.”
Susan’s “Hammer Glamour Queen” Moment!
Denberg’s big break came when she was cast opposite Horror legend Peter Cushing in Hammer’s 1967 science fiction/horror film, “Frankenstein Created Woman!”
After being re-animated, Baron Frankenstein transfers the soul of an executed young man into the body of his lover, prompting her to kill the men who wronged them.
Here is the trailer:
What a huge break! Her second film and she was the lead in a Hammer horror film!
However, instead of this catapulting her to stardom, it did the opposite!
The first sign of trouble? Denberg’s voice in the film was dubbed, as her Austrian accent was considered too strong – so that’s not her voice in the film!
So, within two years she had been named a Playmate Of The Month, appeared in the “Star Trek” TV series, and starred in a Hammer horror film – and then she dropped out of sight!
Here’s what wikipedia said about that moment in her life:
“After becoming immersed in the 60s high life of drugs and sex, Denberg left show business and returned to Austria.”
Not only that, tabloids jumped on her story, saying that her wild time in Hollywood was the cause of it all!
Back in Austria, news interviews showed a depressed Actress living with her mother in Klagenfurt.
These news items, repeated in fan periodicals for years, gave the impression Denberg was suicidal or had already died. Actually, she lives now in Vienna, Austria!
Susan’s story isn’t unusual: Hollywood is a wild place, and for some, the temptations are too great:
Actress Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith was a terrific cult Actress, with dozens of film roles…but she got involved with drugs and died…here’s an appreciation of the great film work she left us with, including an X-rated “Cinderella”:
I’ve also highlighted a few Cult Movie Queens who had a hard time transitioning out of the spotlight:
Victoria Vetri starred in some great 70’s cult films, but her later years have been troubled – click here for the whole story:
Even worse, there are stories of some of the great Cult Movie Queens who are taken from us way too soon:
Claudia Jennings was “Gator Bait” and so much more before a tragic death..click here for an appreciation of her great career:
If you like these stories, and don’t want to miss any of my “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” as well, then go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!
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Leave me a comment about any of your favorite Actresses you’d like me to profile!