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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)

@LAT Copy desk-

Thank you for the point of reference. The source I used is usually pretty reliable and I thank you and your staff for bringing this to my attention. I was going to "weasle-out" and say, "When it comes to a woman's age, I'd rather err on the side of youth, rather than the side closest to infirmity." I'll offer-up a "Mea Culpa," instead.

I remember crossing paths with Ms. Vickers some thirty-odd years ago, when I attended UCLA and would run into her at the Bel Air Market, on occasion. With me, she was always a very nice person.

So space heaters really are safe afterall? Noted. RIP.

That is to bad that she had been left alone. Made me a bit sad to see that a neighbor found her and her family (if she had any) did not, and if she did it is despairing to think they did not bother check in.

This women did not have friends or family.
Only in LA do people think friends do not see each other in person for over a year or talk on the phone, but are somehow still friends.
This does not surprise me one bit.
With the baby boomers aging out, more people with out children, and the rise of three jobs to stay afloat, we will see more and more of this. No one has the time for friends and recreation.

I agree with Whoasy - how does the carrier not notify authorities??? Seriously, the place sounded like it looked abandoned, dirty mailbox... no signs of life.. c'mon!
how awful, makes me so sad.

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

This is America in a nutshell. No one care enough about her to contact her for over a year, not family member, not relatives, not friends, not even neighbors or mailman.

It's strange her "space heater still on" without paying her utility bills for a year. Usually they cut off gas, electric, and water for non-payment.

Bless you Susan Savage for finding her so she could be laid to rest properly. And thank you for commenting here and letting everyone know exactly what happened.

I agree with NRDgirl, I was thinking the exact same thing. Could be a homicide from her caretaker or someone she knew and could have been done quietly to maybe get at money she may have had or something else. So sad, she was so beautiful.

@Jeff Lockhart, just a thought but if you were her first cousin and she had all of those other relatives, they or you couldn't stop by or call or have someone check in on her? Unless she didn't want to be fussed over, there is no reason she shouldn't have been checked upon. Sorry for your loss.

Read a few posts, then it got repetitive.
Has it ever occurred to you that some people don't WANT contact with neighbors and random people with whom you share an address?

For whatever reason she was not in regular contact with family or friends for a long time and her death went unnoticed. Maybe non-contact is what she wanted! Now everyone's boo-hooing that they didn't see her/talk with her/be a better friend. Maybe she didn't want to be everyone's friend. Ever think of that?

I know several people who are perfectly happy doing "their own thing" and don't enjoy anyone from their immediate family. Is this so rare?

There are a few people I'd like to vote off my extended-family island. ;-)


The comments about the electricity not being shut off are very funny. Based on the posters here, you'd think everyone still walked down main street to pay the utility bills in cash every month, like the 40's! I prefer having direct-deposit and automatic withdrawl on all my regular accounts.

The police should be asking how she could be dead in her house that long without utilities being cut off...who was paying utility bills, etc.??? More to this story...

To this day, one of the earliest images of movies that come to my mind (due to how terrified I was when I was a little girl) was Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.

I am surprised that the postal service didn't speak up when they saw the letters not being picked up. What a shame that no one seemed to notice something wrong.

Rest in Peace, Yvette. Hopefully people will be a bit more attentive in their neighborhoods after hearing stories like this. If so, perhaps Yvette's situation will have been of some help to others.

I'm posting this more to show others that there is at least ONE reader who reads the other postings.

I'm sorry this poor woman is gone. She was a beautiful woman and wonderful actress.

I also noted:

She often went on vacation so when no one had seen her, they assumed she was off on another of her little jaunts.

She took a trip last year and her mail was on hold, but the postman did ring twice trying to make contact.

Her relatives were also trying to locate her but, as was the situation with her neighbors, they probably assumed she was on another trip.

I also noted, in another posting, that once a person passes a certain age, Ms. Vickers was 82, the utility company is no longer permitted to shut off their electricity for non-payment.

And one final note is that the neighbors feel horribly about this because they DID love her, they DID take part in her life and they are feeling guilty - not because they should but because they wish they had done more, as is the case in any tragedy such as this. It's not that the neighbors didn't care it's just that Ms. Vickers led a life of solitude (relatively speaking) and her not being seen for any length of time wasn't a cause of concern. The lights being on is not uncommon when someone is out of town.

My prayers go out to the soul of Ms. Vickers and her extended family. May she now rest in peace.

Well, this is why not pay your utilities by auto payment. Amazing.

As for family - I learned my brother died when his obit was published by his friends who were wondering if family was still in the area wanting contact. He had spun a merry tale of how he had been rejected. In fact, he rejected contact and help, and disappeared. Even when I knew where he was living and had a connected phone, my calls and letters went unanswered. Before he died, my last contact with him where he actually picked up the phone and spoke to me was 8 years.

He had issues. Sounds like this lady did too. And of course, I was left to answer the questions from folks who were total strangers as to WHERE WAS THE FAMILY. Its very unpleasant when you dont know where the family member was. Sounds like this lady stayed in one place, but refused contact.

Hoarders are very good at keeping people out. Does seem strange that no one thought it unusual they had not seen her in such a long time, and that the pile up was not noticed for a year.

Gosh, it is somewhat painful for me to realize that the beauties of the 50s b movies are in their 80s.

How Sad ! She is my aunt's age. my aunt has virtually all bills paid automatically by the bank. So someone could go a year w/o notice as long as money was no issue. But why didnt the postman wonder ??Even a week would leave a very full mailbox. Unless it was a slot that went directly in the house.
No relatives for her ?

This is very sad, I remember watching her at the movies as a child. What is also so perplexing is how Hollywood elite seem to forget their colleagues. For a lady of her age to be forgotten in run down home, when they are so many with the finances to help those actors who may have fallen on hard times; that is really sad.

Seems like the dry California air plus the space heater created adequate conditions for mummification. Being preserved and entombed within the silently decaying walls of her beloved home sounds rather peaceful me.

I couldn't believe this story when a friend of mine told me! It's so sad to hear that this is how she will be remembered as dieing - unnoticed, forgotten and mummified (actually, 'desicated' is a more appropriate word as the working space heater was mentioned being near her and would have dried her out). AND, as was mentioned in one of the comments before mine, WHERE WAS HER FAMILY? I bet they'll be there with their hands out and pawwing through her possessions now and fighting with her lawyers for her estate!

How can people not check on their neighbors? I have an 82 year old woman that lives next door. I noticed one day her trash can had not been taken back to the curb and none of her lights were on in a night or so. I walked around to the other neighbors houses and she had told one of them she was going out of town for a couple weeks. How hard is it to check on someone?

This is so sad. This is also a reason to have kids. I do not know if she did or not. It is just awful to think of dying and having no one miss you for almost a year. The article was being nice saying she had friends. I would hope that my friends would check on me if they haven't heard from me in that long of a period of time. Sounds like she was a bit of a shut in. For those that knew her and were her neighbors, shame on you for not checking on her. And before the flames start, I had an elderly widowed neighbor whom I did check on before I moved.
Mark my words...this will be a CSI episode.

Thats a shame. RIP

Nice editing. I hope you're not paying someone to read and edit for grammar mistakes.

If she was born in 1936 as other sites claim how could she be 82?

Hmmm, how is it that the heat stayed on for that long with nobody noticing? Sounds fishy to me. And what about the piled-up mail, huh? Some friends and family she had, where the hell were they!! What a great brand of space heater! We're all alone at the end unless we have Jeebus. Sad that our society has fallen apart -- it was never like that in the good old days. Hmmm, how is it that the heat stayed on for that long with nobody noticing..................

you know, all of you that are so amazed by this are really naive. We live in a society where the ultimate goal for most people is to build up as much of a fortress around themselves from the rest of society. Bigger and bigger houses, with bigger and bigger walls and yards for keeping people out.

You are actually surprised that this happens once in a while when people seek out such separation from society? Get real.

How freaking terrible. R.I.P. lady

That's very sad when people don't have family or do and they neglect to check on them once in a while basis...... be it even by letter at least from time to time from out of state if that's the case..... That's how this 'America' is today. Distant neighbors, the word 'neighbors' shouldn't even be used in that case.

I mean, would you go a year without seeing your neighbor without knocking on the freaking door? I sure as %^&* wouldn't and we live on acre lots where I'm at in the Chicago burbs.... I'd check on mine if I didn't see em for a couple months, and a couple of them I freaking hate and still would check (hoping they were dead)! lol

But then again that's me..hopefully you're the same.

 
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