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Former Playboy playmate's family shocked her mummified body went undiscovered for nearly a year

May 6, 2011 |  6:58 am

VickersRelatives of Yvette Vickers, an early Playboy playmate and B-movie actress who was found dead last week at her Benedict Canyon home, told The Times they were saddened by her passing and the manner in which she died.

But they also said Vickers, born Yvette Vedder, had for the most part withdrawn from her extended family, a situation exacerbated by the fact that most of her relatives lived in other parts of the country, many of them in Kansas City, Mo.

A neighbor discovered the body of Vickers, 82, 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.

Robert Vedder, the 72-year-old first cousin of Vickers, said in a phone interview that one of his lasting memories was visiting her at her Westwanda home in 1958.

He recalled Vickers, who starred in such cult films as “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” as "outgoing and bubbly." At the same time, she kept the family at a distance, which became more pronounced in later years.

"Her lifestyle was such that she was not active in family affairs," Robert Vedder said. "She chose her lifestyle and nobody interfered with that."

At the same time, he said, "It's hard to believe she met death in this fashion."

Even so, he and other family members expressed pride in her legacy. Chris Vedder, a first cousin who corresponded once with Vickers via MySpace, said he had admiration for her.

"I always wanted to meet her and would brag about her when I was a kid," said Chris Vedder, an actor who works in radio in Kansas City. "I'm a huge fan and proud to say I was related to her. She was the only other family in media I know of."

Chris Vedder said he believed Vickers would be touched and amazed by the outpouring of attention following her death, despite the manner in which she died.

"She definitely had one last hurrah," he said.

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Phil Spector murder conviction upheld

Michael Jackson trial delayed to September

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Undated handout photo of Yvette Vickers.

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