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Mummified body of former Playboy playmate Yvette Vickers found in her Benedict Canyon home

Vickers Yvette Vickers, an early Playboy playmate whose credits as a B-movie actress included such cult films as “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” was found dead last week at her Benedict Canyon home. Her body appears to have gone undiscovered for months, police said.

Vickers, 82, had not been seen for a long time. A neighbor discovered her body in an upstairs room of her Westwanda Drive home on April 27. Its mummified state suggests she could have been dead for close to a year, police said.

The official cause of death will by determined by the Los Angeles county coroner's office, but police said they saw no sign of foul play.

Vickers had lived in the 1920s-era stone and wood home for decades, and it served as the background for some of her famous modeling pictures. But over time it had become dilapidated, exposed in some places to the elements.

Susan Savage, an actress, went to check on Vickers after noticing old letters and cobwebs in her elderly neighbor's mailbox.

"The letters seemed untouched and were starting to yellow," Savage said. "I just had a bad feeling."

After pushing open a barricaded front gate and scaling a hillside, Savage peered through a broken window with another piece of glass taped over the hole. She decided to enter the house after seeing a shock of blond hair, which turned out to be a wig.

The inside of the home was in disrepair and it was hard to move through the rooms because boxes containing what appeared to be clothes, junk mail and letters formed barriers, Savage said. Eventually, she made her way upstairs and found a room with a small space heater still on.

She was looking at a cordless phone that appeared to have been knocked off its cradle when she first saw the body on the floor, she said. Savage had known Vickers but the remains were unrecognizable, she said.

She remembered her neighbor as an elegant women in a broad straw hat, dressed in white, with flowing blond hair and "a warm smile."

"She kept to herself, had friends and seemed like a very independent spirit," Savage said. "To the end she still got cards and letter from all over the world requesting photos and still wanting to be her friend."

Savage said the neighbors felt terrible.

"We've all been crying about this," she said. "Nobody should be left alone like that."


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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Undated handout photo of Yvette Vickers.

Comments () | Archives (145)

She had been dead close to a year? How did the smell go unnoticed? Wow, amazing story. What is more amazing is how the small space heater was still on!

This doesn't sound right. The lady who supposedly discovered the body says this woman had friends, yet she may have been dead for a year with no one, not even the concerned neighbors, noticing? The mailbox didn't overflow, no one tried to call, no one thought it was odd that they hadn't seen or heard from their friend in so long? Did she have no family? There has to be more to this story.

Rest In Peace, Yvette...What a shame.

Such a sad story. No one should die alone.

How incredibly sad that no one even knew or cared enough about this woman to notice that there might be something wrong and go check on her.
This should be a lesson for us all - but in the society we live in today I'm not at all surprised.
Sorry humanity isn't really very human anymore Yvette - R.I.P.

What a guy.

What a Shame. I remember watching her films whe I was a Kid during the 50's at !The Lynwood Theater & The ~Vansant Drive in Theater ~at Grundy Virginia and being scared..........................but this is so very Sad to have ~~NO-ONE~~ to look in on a person or call..........................How very sad. I hope I still have a few people in my life when I'm that age..........just 20 short years away.........How Sad for her.

I feel bad.Her '50s movies were awesome!

The USPS Letter carrier didn't notice anything sooner? por que?

what a horrible story! she was a gen-u-ine bombshell in the '50s.

Rest in peace.

Some corrections-

1. Ms. Vickers (Yvette Vedder) was born on 26 August 26 1936, in Kansas City, Missouri. this would make her 74, today, not 82.

2. Ms. Vickers has a number of credits, spanning from early television serials, through 1976 ("Switch", with Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert Sr.) and her last movie was "Evil Spirits" (1990), with Karen Black, Arte Johnson and Virginia Mayo.

3. I am very surprised that the City of Los Angeles didn't have or doesn't have a system for senior citizens, when their utility bills become overdue and they send someone out to the house, just to check on senior citizens.

Therein lies a lesson.

It is such a shame that such a beautiful person, passed away, alone and almost forgotten.

Yeah... small space heater still on. Who paid the utilities?

I'm guessing the space heater accelerated her decomposition. I can't imagine a year going by without her electricity being stopped for non-payment (unless it was somehow automatically done) and mail accumulating without causing alarm by the postal carrier. It's quite sad and tragic that a person could go so long without even being missed.

@Steven Moshlak: Thanks for the feedback. Various sources list different years of birth for Yvette Vedder, but historical references her first husband confirmed to The Times that she was born in 1928.

"Mummified Playmate."

Nice choice of keywords there, guys! The Times website staff could do with some lessons in sensitivity when it phrases these things.

...As could I, for finding it unintentionally amusing.

It's a very sad story and this woman's memory deserves to be treated with respect, not a sensationalistic two-word link that exploits the terrible fact that her body went undiscovered for so long. No one should die alone.

There has to be more to the story. The little space heater was still on? How far in advance did she pay her electric bill? Don't the utility companies usually shut your service off for nonpayment after a certain amount of time has passed without payment? Sounds fishy. Maybe someone needed it to seem like she was still alive? Just saying..something is really wrong with this picture.

I am not surprised! Neighbors today, do not care about you. One of mine refused to pick up my mail while I was gone for a few days.

I would like to make a correction to Steve Moshlak's post below. Yvette is my cousin and she is 7 years younger than my Mother. My Mother was born in 1921 and she would have been 90 years old this year. That would make Yvette 83 this August. Furthermore, Yvette has a brother who lives in California and several cousins in California, Arizona, Kansas and Missouri.

The space heater could still be on - i.e. utilities in operation even months after her death - if she had automatic bill pay as well as automatic deposit of social security. Any income she was receiving that was based on survivorship - social security, annuity, and so on - will have to be returned based on the date of death, which may have to be estimated.

I knew there's a reason I don't like automatic bill payments...very sad indeed.

@ LAT Copy Desk - you are correct she was born in 1928

@Jeff Lockhart I am sorry to read of the loss of your cousin. But dude, where were you and your family at her time of Yvette's need?

I would imagine someone with a bank account may have had their bills "AUTOMATICALLY" deducted from their account. I can't imagine her or someone with some decent wealth sitting down and writing checks each month. Even if you had an accountant, that accountant would probably set up some automatic payment system, so, really... Why so many questions about how her bills would have been paid. It's not that difficult to imagine is it?


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