My Friend, Yvette Vickers: In Her Own Words, as Told to John O’Dowd (audiobook)
When Yvette, a New York model for White Rain shampoo, first appeared in Sunset Boulevard (1950), she could not have imagined that her own death would be as bizarre as Norma Desmond's gigolo, Joe's.
After roles in Short Cut to Hell (1957) and Reform School Girl (1957), Yvette's fate cast her into dubious signature roles in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959).
Years passed, bit parts led to no parts, and Yvette gradually withdrew from the world. Forgotten by nearly everyone, she was last seen alive in 2010. In 2011, her mummified body was discovered in her home, and forensic scientists determined that she had been dead for as long as a year from heart disease.
John O'Dowd now reveals the secret recordings she made in her last years that reveal in her own voice the truth about her life and career. Hear her retell behind-the-scenes stories of the show business that brushed her aside, her dashed dreams, and her realized hopes. Her voice, warm-hearted and still resonating with humor, tells the inside story no one heard before her grisly death.
"MY FRIEND YVETTE VICKERS: IN HER OWN WORDS" As Told To John O'Dowd. Narrated by John O'Dowd. BearManor Media. Audio book.
Fondly remembered by cult-movie buffs for her roles in a handful of iconic '50s films, most strikingly her provocative portrayal of village vixen Honey Parker, target of titular menace Allison Hayes' outsized wrath in 1958's Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Yvette Vickers also attracted attention as a Playboy Playmate (photographed by no less a luminary than Russ Meyer), busy stage and episodic TV actress, and singer. It was in the last capacity, on the occasion of a new CD release in the '90s, that yours truly enjoyed a phone chat with Yvette, who came across as a warm and instantly likable presence.
Genre journalist John O'Dowd formed a far deeper bond with the performer starting in 1998 when Yvette began working the film convention circuit. Over time, the two formed a fast friendship, one vividly captured in O'Dowd's unique audio book, "My Friend Yvette Vickers In Her Own Words." Unburdened by the limitations of a formal interview framework, Yvette talks easily and openly about her musical family roots, many and varied show-biz experiences, romantic relationships, and life in all its aspects.
Assembled over a decade or so of private conversations, Yvette's observations paint a rich canvas crowded not only with movie industry figures like actors Jim Hutton, Steve Cochran and Rory Calhoun but musicians like legendary jazz giant Charlie Parker. Vickers just as candidly recalls her darker interludes, from personal disappointments to professional frustrations. Beyond the calls, several detailed phone messages left for the author are also included, with Yvette's consent.
Unfortunately, like the subject of O'Dowd's earlier biography Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story (BearManor Media), Yvette's life concluded on a decidedly downbeat note. Though she lives to age 81, her last days were marred by loneliness and isolation, as evidenced by the fact that her mummified remains were not found in her California home until a year or more after her death, a discovery that ironically received more mainstream coverage than did her earlier career. Still, Yvette Vickers left a vibrant legacy and, with O'Dowd's audio book, a life story compellingly told in her own words.”
-- PHANTOM BOOKSHELF