Former Playboy playmate and pin-up model Yvette Vickers was found mummified in her home almost a year after her death. The B-movie actress, who appeared in cryptofiction films like Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), was found dead last Wednesday (April 27, 2011), but police claimed that she had been dead for perhaps as long as a year.
Vickers was found among trash in her home, near a space heater that was still on. She was 82.
Yvette Vickers (allegedly born August 26, 1936, see following, with her death discovered April 27, 2011, in Los Angeles, California) was a blond-haired, blue-eyed American actress, pin-up model and singer. However, the Wikipedia birthdate of 1936 appears to be a Hollywood myth. The published LA Times age of 82 confirms the age given in the 1930 census and her birthdate of August 26, 1928.
Vickers was born Kansas City, Missouri, the daughter of the jazz musicians Charles and Iola Vedder. During her youth she traveled with her parents on the road. She decided to become a writer and took classes at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in journalism. As a filler she took a class in acting and discovered she enjoyed it, so she changed her major to drama. While at UCLA she was discovered by the advertising industry and began making commercials. She moved to New York City to become the White Rain Girl but decided to return to California in order to enter the film industry.
Her first movie appearance was as Yvette Vedder in Sunset Boulevard (1950). The role was minor, and she was uncredited. In 1953, she was married to Don Prell, but they were divorced by 1957. She made her first movie appearance under her own name in Short Cut to Hell (1957), directed by James Cagney. In 1958, she appeared in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman as Honey Parker. The following year she played the role of Liz Walker in Attack of the Giant Leeches. During the same period she also made a number of appearances in TV shows.
In 1959, she appeared as the Playboy Playmate of the Month for the July issue. Her centerfold was photographed by Russ Meyer. She also appeared in several other men’s magazines.
Her second marriage was in 1959 to Leonard Burns, but they were divorced the same year. Her film career began to wind down at about that point. She did play some small parts in films from 1962 onward, including a small role in the Paul Newman film, Hud (1963). Her last role was in Evil Spirits, a 1991 horror film.
Although she never remarried, Vickers had a long-term relationship with actor Jim Hutton.
More contemporary audiences were introduced to Vickers when Attack of the Giant Leeches appeared on the satirical TV series, Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Being a singer on the side, during the 1990s Yvette released a jazz tribute CD for her parents that was called “Tribute to Charlie and Maria.” In 2005, she visited Canada for the first time to appear at the Toronto Classic Movie Festival. With interviewer Tom Weaver, she is on the audio commentary track of the 2007 Warner Brothers DVD release of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. She had been writing her autobiography prior to her death.
Her neighbor became concerned after noticing a large pile of yellowing mail in her mailbox as well as spider webs across her front door. Her mummified body was found inside her home on April 27, 2011. It is currently unclear when she died, but may have been months (up to almost a year).
For more contemporary details on the discovery of her body, see here.