Move over Kendall and Kylie Jenner, there are a couple new girls on the Hollywood block, the gorgeous granddaughters of singer Bobby Darin and actress Sandra Dee: Alexa and Olivia Darin.
It’s no wonder these lovely ladies want to follow in their famous grandparent’s footsteps.
They are the daughters of Sandra and Bobby's only child, 52-year-old Dodd Darin, who oversees his father’s music catalog and penned a book about the couple, and his wife Audrey. Dodd is also in charge of marketing his late parents names and likenesses.
Ready to launch: Alexa (right) and Olivia Darin are the granddaughters of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. They're set to carve out modeling and acting careers
Sweethearts: It was hardly love at first sight when the couple met on the set of Come September in 1960. Although their marriage lasted only six years, they remained close until Bobby's untimely death at 37
Doting grandmother: Alexa (center) is named after her grandmother, who was born Alexandra Zuck
‘I love to write, it is my favorite form of personal expression,’ 17-year-old Alexa tells MailOnline in an exclusive interview. ‘However, the idea of acting and modeling is very exciting to me. I think my Grandpa’s singing gene skipped two generations, because I surely didn’t get it. I can’t carry a tune to save my life!’
And 12-year-old Olivia agrees. ‘I don’t sing either. But I have done plays. I enjoy dancing and I am on two different dance teams. I compete quite often and I’ve also modeled in fashion shows. And I have taken acting lessons.
'I see myself having a family some day, but would also like to take on a modeling or acting career.’
Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee were America’s sweethearts during the late 1950’s and early 60’s. And although the couple was only married for six years, they remained close after their 1967 divorce, until Bobby’s tragic death following heart surgery in 1973 at age 37.
Darin and Dee first met in 1960 while filming Come September in Italy. And although sources say it was love at first sight for 24-year-old Darin; the gorgeous 18 year old actress with the soulful brown eyes and silky blonde hair was not interested.
Upon meeting Sandra, Darin quipped, “Hi, I’m Bobby Darin. You’re going to be my wife!” To which Sandra replied, “Not today!” later telling pals, “I can’t stand that Bobby Darin.”
‘I think it’s fascinating that when my grandmother met my grandfather on a movie set, she didn’t even like him, giggles Olivia. 'In fact, she couldn’t stand him!’
Legacy: Dodd, here with his wife Audrey Darin and their two girls, is in charge of marketing his late parents' names and likenesses as well as his father's music catalog
Proud parents: Sandra and Bobby snuggle with little Dodd
So little time: Dodd was just 12 when Bobby died. Says Alexa, 'I was fortunate to have shared many good years with my Grandma before she passed. My dad shares stories about his father's life because we weren't fortunate enough to meet him'
But during the eight weeks they spent together playing lovers in the film, romantic cities like Portofino and Rome provided the perfect backdrop to fall in love.
Just a few months after they met, they tied the knot on December 1, 1960.
‘Everyday Bobby sent Sandra 18 yellow roses,’ says a source, ‘and soon she was taking a second look at this cocky fellow from the Bronx with his charm and smooth talking ways. Sandra always lived under the watchful, protective eye of her doting mother Mary, but when Mary and Sandra argued and her mom left Rome, Bobby nailed it, winning over Sandra’s heart.”
Sandra gave birth to their only child, Dodd Mitchell Darin, on December 16, 1961, and until the day she died in 2005, of kidney failure, her devoted son was there for her.
‘Dodd often felt helpless because his mother had practically become a recluse in her final years battling poor health, alcohol addiction and a long- time eating disorder,’ says a source. ‘But until the day she died, he talked with her every day, often being the only person she spoke to.’
Sandra, who starred in the top five Global box office films five years running, was famous for the kind of roles that portrayed her as the doe-eyed, innocent young girl next door.
And young girls from that era all strived to be just like her. Some of Dee’s most memorable films were A Summer Place, Imitation of Life, Gidget, and Tammy Tell me True.
Star power: 'My Grandma, bless her soul, was rarely spotted without her signature white sunglasses,' says Alexa. ' I consider myself lucky to own these huge, circular-lensed specs, which I only wear on special occasions'
Strutting her stuff: Olivia has done plays and enjoys dancing. 'I am on two different dance teams. I compete quite often and I've also modeled in fashion shows,' she says
‘I’ve watched almost all of my Grandma’s movies,’ says Alexa – named after her famous Gran whose real name was Alexandra Zuck.
‘So it would be difficult to just pick one favorite, but I think it would have to be Imitation of Life. Time and time again that movie blows me away. It was way ahead of its time and has stood the test of time.’
She also loves listening to her grandfather’s music. Bobby Darin, a three time Grammy Award winner, was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was famous for songs like Mac the Knife, Dream Lover, Splish Splash, and Beyond the Sea and there is currently a Broadway musical being produced on his life story.
‘I’m a sucker for Grandpa’s song Dream Lover,’ says Alexa. ‘And I think I look a lot like him. His strong, Italian features were definitely passed down to me and some say I was lucky enough to get my grandma’s eyes and lips.
‘My Grandma, bless her soul, was rarely spotted without her signature white sunglasses. And I consider myself lucky to own these huge, circular – lensed specs, which I only wear on special occasions.’
Alexa admits she’s only beginning to discover and properly explore the depth of her grandparent’s legacies.
Recital: Stopping for a pretzel after a recital, Olivia looks forward to an acting career - and a family
College bound: Alexa will be attending college in the fall and plans to study acting. 'I know whatever career I chose I will be inspired by my grandparents to go wholeheartedly in the direction of my aspirations and dreams'
'My grandma and grandpa continue to inspire me every day,’ she says. ‘It was probably around the age of 15 that I truly began to understand the magnitude of their fame and how many people they touched through doing what they loved.’
Sister Olivia agrees, ‘I really only started to understand how famous my grandparents were when I was about 9 or 10. I never got to meet my grandfather, but I did get to meet my grandmother. I remember spending time with her. But it wasn’t until she passed that I learned so much more because I was older.
'I learned about my grandpa from my dad. He would always tell me all kinds of stories and show me videos.
‘I have also seen some of my grandmother’s movies and one of my favorites is Gidget. And I listen to my grandfather’s music all the time. I think I look like my grandma, but a brunette version of her. And I have a pair of her high heels. My mom has her charm bracelet and some of her jewelry.’
Alexa also does her best to fill her little sister in on some of the things she remembers about their late Grandmother.
Kismet: Top box office actress Sandra and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby met on the set of Come Seprtember in Italy. 'I can't stand that Bobby Darin,' she told a friend. But they were married just months after the movie wrapped
‘I am always learning more about my grandmother and grandfather,’ says Alexa. ‘I was fortunate to have shared many good years with my Grandma before she passed. She shared many fascinating stories with me about what it was like to be a young girl growing up in the public eye.
'My dad also shares stories about his father’s life because we weren’t fortunate enough to meet him since he died when dad was only 12.
‘I think one of the most interesting facts about my grandparents is that when my grandfather died, he and Sandra were not married. After seeing them as a couple in countless photos, not to mention movies, it was hard for me to picture them apart.’
Both girls enjoy listening to their grandfather’s vast collection of songs, but they admit they appreciate all kinds of music.
‘I like to listen to pop music and older music,’ says Olivia. ‘And I like Britney Spears, and the Beatles.’
‘If I had to narrow it down to say two genres, it would be a tie between rap and the golden oldies.’
The girls share a special wish; they both dream of spending a full day with their late grandparents.
Imitation of Life: If Alexa had to pick a favorite of her grandmother's movies it would be Imitation of Life, also starringLana Turner. 'Time and again that movie blows me away,' says Alexa
Surfer girl: Sandra surfs her way into the heart of handsome James Darren (right) in the perrenial teen favorite Gidget. It tops granddaughter Olivia's list too.
‘If I could sit down with Grandpa and Grandma, I would ask them lots of question,’ sighs Olivia. ‘And I would spend the entire day getting to know them both.’
And Alexa says she’d like to find out as much about her grandfather as she could – since she never had an opportunity to meet him.
‘All my life I’ve longed to spend a day with both my grandparents together. I would be able to ask them the dozens of questions I have about the intriguing lifestyles they each led while getting to know my grandpa on a more personal level. Up until now I’ve only seen pictures of him and heard stories. It would be wonderful to sit down and talk to him face to face.’
Both girls plan on attending college – in fact Alexa starts University in the fall!
‘As far as the future, I am still trying to put together the pieces of my life in some way that I can find clarity in what I want for the future,’ says Alexa. ‘I know that my grandfather had a great work ethic and never say die attitude, and I hope I inherited that from him.
'From a very young age Grandpa was determined to make it, and his determination was crucial in helping him become the legendary performer whose music is still treasured today.
‘I do plan to take acting in college, and I know whatever career I chose I will be inspired by my grandparents to go wholeheartedly in the direction of my aspirations and dreams.’
On the tenth anniversary of Marlon Brando's death at age 80, a new book reveals that his first sexual relationship
With a lifelong obsessive sexual appetite that matched his enormous weight gain in later years, iconic actor Marlon Brando bedded the biggest stars in Hollywood – male and female – with no regrets.
In the fifties and sixties, Brando was the quintessential American sex symbol bedding Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy and hundreds more in the swinging sixties and at Hollywood key parties. But he was also selective and turned down Elizabeth Taylor because ‘her a** was too small’ and Sophia Loren because her breath was ‘worse than that of a dinosaur’.
By his own confession, he also slept with men. ‘I too, have had homosexual experiences’, he confessed in 1976. On that list of alleged lovers are Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Laurence Olivier – to name a few.
Some like it hot: Brando admitted to have a steamy affair with Marilyn Monoe and said they remained good friends until her intimely death
Leading men: 'I have had homosexual experiences,' Brando confessed. He just happened to pose with three of the men he had flings with on the set of The Ugly American in 1962, from left, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck
Brando’s overwhelming sexual appetite and obsession that motivated him to have four to five lovers at one time was awakened by his housekeeper, Ermi, when he was only four years old.
‘During the day, we played constantly. At night, we slept together. She was nude, and so was I...She was a deep sleeper and I can visualize her now lying in our bed…I sat there looking at her body and fondling her breasts, and arranged myself on her and crawled over her.
'She was all mine; she belonged to me and me alone. Had she known of my blinding worship of her, we would have married…’, Marlon Brando, writing in his own autobiography about his first lover, his housekeeper, Ermi, when he was four.
When she left the Brando household to marry, Brando never recovered from the loss and writes his lifelong sexual addiction was caused by feeling abandoned by Ermi. ‘From that day forward I became estranged from the world. I spent most of the rest of my life trying to find her’.
‘He was an epic womanizer and his need for sex with women was an addiction,’ author Susan Mizruchi writes in a new biography, Brando’s Smile, being published on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the actor’s death on July 1.
‘It took up endless amounts of his time. Yet there was a deliberation behind everything he did, including his romances. His love letters describe how he wanted to pleasure women, ignite a woman’s passion’.
‘He wanted to be loved and needed women, but then he broke their hearts because he couldn’t be loyal’.
His grandmother was a Christian Science healer by touch. ‘Several of Brando’s lovers spoke of his incredible sense of touch – how he would stroke their skin or hair’.
Mizruchi was granted total access to all of Brando’s personal archives, letters, tape recordings, script notes, and she writes that the actor has been widely misunderstood.
Obsessed: Brando had a way with women, among them Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly
Not his type: Liz Talor and Brando made Reflections in a Golden Eye together in 1967, but he never made love with La Liz
In his collection, there were reams of notes about all the women he slept with, none on the men.
‘His persona was a harsh, thuggish macho figure but in reality he was a gentle, soft-spoken, sensitive and compassionate man with an insatiable curiosity’.
‘I can report that Brando’s hunger for knowledge was as insatiable as his more legendary appetites for women and food’.
The gossip about his many affairs contributed to the actor being stereotyped as an intellectual lightweight.
Collecting books from the time he was a young actor in New York, he amassed a library of some 4000 books rivaling that of an academic, all of which he catalogued under a system he created.
He was given books by the many women he had affairs with, poetry, handmade books with details of their dates, pleas for more. His collection included books of politics, poetry, self-help, psychology, nature, grammar and vocabulary books. He was interested in everything.
Brando entered the world feet first, a breech delivery, in Omaha, Nebraska on 3 April 1924. His great grandfather, a renowned doctor as well as an alcoholic and con man, his mother, Dodie, an alcoholic who had a thriving career in the theatre as well as being a talented sculptor. Marlon, Sr,was a traveling salesman for a limestone products company. He shared his wife’s growing dependency on alcohol but he handled it better.
During the Prohibition era, from 1920 to 1933, they dosed the children with cod liver oil while brewing beer in laundry tubs in the basement and gin in the bathtub.
Typecast: Brando visited tormented actor James Dean on the set of East of Eden in 1955
Marlon Sr. insisted that Marlon Brando, Jr, nicknamed ‘Bud’, learn proper table manners, and beat him for bad behavior while he, himself, was a drunk and slept with prostitutes while on the road.
Bud was often sent out to local bars to fetch his drunken mother, who also had her own extramarital affairs. Her unpredictable behavior while on a drinking jag required housekeepers to keep some order in the house with three children, two older sisters Jocelyn and Franny and the youngest child, Marlon.
When Marlon was four, Ermi, an eighteen year old governess of Danish and Indonesian extraction, lived with the children for three years until Marlon was seven.
‘She bathed and slept with the young boy, both of them nude’. She stayed with the family when they moved from Omaha to Evanston, Illinois when Brando was six years old.
This relationship inspired the actor’s lifelong preference for brunettes and women of Asian, East Indian, Hispanic, black or Jewish descent.
Brando was a dismal student and the only child in his class to fail kindergarten. He was mildly dyslexic but grew out of it.
The Brando children began going to the movies weekly in Evanston and his early fondness for the opposite sex showed up in love notes. On the back of one girl’s sixth-grade class photograph, he wrote: ‘Yours till the ocaen [sic] wears rubber pants to keep its bottom dry. Lot’s of luck Buddy Brando’.
It was also at the Lincoln School in Evanston where he met classmate Wally Cox who later became a comedian and actor in Los Angeles, famous for his character, Mr. Peepers in the television show of the same name. They remained close friends for life, both from unstable families with alcoholic mothers.
Mommy dearest: Marlon's mother was an alcoholic who frequently cheated on his father Marlon, Sr.
‘One of their favorite activities was taking long hikes in the woods, where they examined plants, trees, and insects and often carried their treasures home’.
Years later in Los Angeles, they wandered together through the woods around Brando’s home on Mulholland Drive. Brando saved all the walking sticks the pair collected on their walks.
Brando kept Cox’s ashes after his death in 1973. ‘I’m not sure I will ever forgive Wally for dying’, he stated. ‘More than a friend; he was my brother, closer to me than any human being in my life except my sisters. He taught me how to speak and to see in words the melodies of life’.
When Brando died in 2004, some of their ashes were mixed together and scattered in Death Valley.
Marlon Sr. focused on his son’s inadequacies, his lousy grades in school, expressed contempt for acting and never exhibited any pride in his son’s accomplishments. Brando had disdain for his father’s salesman profession.
It was a standoff except for a passion for chess that they shared.
Brando Sr. believed acting was ‘self-indulgent, a Bohemian activity that was reserved for women, homosexuals, and outcasts’. He was jealous of his son’s unexpected success in comparison to his own mediocre life and loss of patriarchal authority.
Feeling so much anger towards his father, Brando realized he had to work through it if he was ever going to feel whole.
Harsh: Marlon Sr. focused on his son¿s inadequacies, his lousy grades in school, expressed contempt for acting and never exhibited any pride in his son's accomplishments. Brando had disdain for his father's salesman profession
‘I realized I can’t live off of hatred, you can’t do it, you have to live off of love. It was so hard for me to give that up’.
He confronted his old man before he died voicing his anger over his cruelty towards his sisters and to his mother by his cruelty, causing her heavy alcoholism and early death in 1954.
Visiting a clairvoyant old medicine woman on a Navajo Reservation in Arizona, he learned of his father’s death in 1965 when she pronounced him an orphan. Moments later, the phone rang confirming her vision.
As an adolescent, Brando developed skills at mimicry, imitating within minutes voices, accents, a person walking. He learned to do imitations of sounds to get his mother’s attention when she was in an alcoholic stupor
Mr. Peepers: Wally Cox, who played the nerdy character on the '50's TV comedy, was Brando's unlikely soul mate
Dodie’s condition didn’t change when Brando moved to New York in 1943, first living with his sister Franny, and then on his own. His mother was in New York as well spending hours in bars, requiring Brando and his sisters to go in search of her. She reconciled with her husband and joined him in the Midwest sending Marlon into a severe depression.
He walked it off on city sidewalks, reading for hours in the Christian Science Reading Room and with the acting teacher, Stella Adler and her family. He studied with Stella at her famous School of Acting --- formidable years in his learning excellent technique.
Brando was only twenty-three when rehearsals began in New York for A Streetcar Named Desire, but he recognized the importance of the playwright Tennessee Williams.
He did extensive research into the characters he played, the language, the locales. He read scripts carefully, sometimes changing his lines if they didn’t sound right.
Ride 'em: Brando and one of his sisters in 1932
While East of Eden was lensing in Los Angeles in 1954, Brando was invited to the set to meet James Dean who idolized him and ‘was so adoring that he seemed shrunken and twisted in misery’. At one point, Brando did recommend that Dean see a psychiatrist to deal with his sensitivity and his own ‘father troubles’.
In preparation for his role in the film Viva Zapata, Brando traveled to southern Mexico in 1951 to meet people who had known Zapata. He met Movita Castaneda, a Hispanic actress when they shared the same taxi and she became his wife in 1960, raising two of his children, Miko and Rebecca. They were involved with each other for decades although they never actually lived together as husband and wife.
Traveling to locales where his films were being shot introduced him to Polynesia, made up of more than 1000 islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. He had been drawn to it as a teenager when reading National Geographic. His library contained more than a hundred books on Polynesia.
It was during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty in 1961 that Brando discovered the island of Tetiaroa, the coral-reef atoll near Papeete, in the French Polynesian islands. He bought the island in 1967 and had thirty years of contentment living on the island
‘To me it’s an extremely attractive place because of all the places I’ve been it’s the most democratic. They don’t care who you are, they don’t care what you do or what you represent, as long as you’re decent and generally kind and interested in dancing… They have a lot of trouble with their teeth, but they don’t care. If when they smile, they’ve got five teeth, that’s enough’.
Brando ate freely between film projects and then went on crash diets to lose thirty or forty pounds before starting a new movie.
Kis stuff: Brando's sisters doted on the two-year-old
‘When I have to lose weight, I can do it. It wasn’t unusual to drop thirty-five or forty pounds before a picture. I ate less, exercised more and it came off…Most of my life, I weighed about 170 pounds. After forty, my metabolism shifted gears, but I kept eating as much as ever while spending more and more time in a sedentary relationship with a good book. There probably isn’t a diet I haven’t tried’.
Brando tried different therapies to lose weight including self-hypnotism. Eating was an addiction akin to the alcoholism of his family, according to the author.
Medical records show his heaviest weight to be 260 pounds. His weight also fluctuated when he realized it was having an impact on his sex life.
The actor was beginning to find peace in the 1970s through therapy and meditation. He discovered Dr. G. L. Harrington, a clinician and respected Los Angeles psychiatrist who encouraged him to trust his instincts.
Brando’s career came out of a slump and was revived in 1972 by the film, The Godfather.
Brando had three wives - Anna Kashfi, Movita Castaneda and Tarita Teriipaia, Movita Castaneda and twelve children, only half his biological offspring. He supported children he was fond of, even if they weren’t his but children of assistants, ex-wives or mothers seeking financial support and deceiving him into believing he was the father.
Christian was the only child to live with him and that was only on occasion.
‘Brando was a part-time father at best. His children lived on different continents, and he was always distracted by his work, his causes, and his endless love affairs,’ writes Mizruchi.
He loved presiding over a big family dinner, prized loyalty and would not tolerate friends or lovers who breached confidences.
Weighty matters: Brando tried different therapies to lose weight including self-hypnotism. Eating was an addiction akin to the alcoholism of his family, according to the author
After a decade: Marlon Brando diied on July 1, 2004. Susan Mizruchi's book is a tribute to his life and work
The biggest regret for the actor was in 1990 when his son Christian killed the lover of his half sister, Cheyenne. Cheyenne committed suicide five years later.
‘Brando was guilt-ridden by his own failings. He feared that his own indulgent lifestyle had made life difficult for his children. He was a compassionate and caring father but never gave his children a stable family or the time they needed. He was engrossed in his films and womanizing and civil rights causes and his children felt neglected.
'He was destroyed by his son’s arrest and daughter’s suicide. Towards the end of his life he was very depressed and felt he’d failed Cheyenne and Christian.’
'Brando’s feelings of being abandoned by his mother caught up in her alcoholism made it impossible for him to commit to a relationship. He felt only rage towards his father. ‘He had a tremendous need for women to want him but then he’d feel suffocated and abandon them’.
'His final acting role came weeks before his death in 2004 at the age of 80. He was the voice-over for the portly dowager, Mrs. Sour, in a children’s animated movie, Big Bug Man. He arrived for the recording session wearing a blonde wig, a dress, white gloves and makeup.