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Wednesday, Jul 15 1998
Fifties-era teen film star Sandra Dee may have been, as the Grease lyric famously asserts, a "model of virginity," but her perky on-screen persona in movies like Gidget masked a celebrity who apparently had some serious personal problems. "Sandra Dee: Anorexia and Alcohol Drove Me to the Brink of Death" trumpeted the headline in a recent edition of National Enquirer, in which Dee spilled the details, including her allegations of sexual abuse as a child and the scoop on her marriage to pop idol Bobby Darin (which began when she eloped at 18 and ended abruptly a few years before his untimely death), her boozing and pill-popping, and her decadeslong bout with anorexia. Dee had actually gone public about her eating and drinking disorders years ago -- back in '91 she told People magazine about subsisting on crackers and scotch -- but the Enquirer article was nonetheless nicely timed for Marc Huestis, organizer of this week's "Summer Beach Party With Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee." Dee's story has everything that tabloids and Huestis events thrive on: sex, drugs, celebrity degradation, and a healthy dollop of camp. Huestis and Outsider Enterprises did, after all, bring us Christmas parties with former abused child Christina Crawford and director John "I hate Christmas and I hate my parents too" Waters. This time Huestis pairs Dee with the once-hunky Donahue, her co-star in A Summer Place, for an onstage interview with extravagantly behatted film critic Jan Wahl, then throws in Wigstock hostess the Lady Bunny to MC the "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" beauty contest. The show, which also features a screening of A Summer Place and a live rendition of the film's theme song by cabaret singer Paula West, benefits Maitri AIDS hospice and begins at 7:30 p.m. (with a celebrity reception at 6 p.m.) Friday at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $20-50; call 863-0611. (

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Heather Wisner


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