Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Officials try to ID body in Benedict Canyon home of ex-Playmate

LOS ANGELES - DNA tests might be needed to identify a badly decomposed body found in the home of a former Playboy playmate and B-movie actress who appeared in "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," a coroner's official said Tuesday.

The body was discovered last week in pack-rat conditions in the neglected Benedict Canyon home of Yvette Vickers.

It was unrecognizable as a man or woman and listed in records only as a "Doe."

Coroner's Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said it could take a week to determine the identity.

A neighbor found the body in what was initially reported as a mummified state. It appeared to have gone undiscovered for several months to a year, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said.

Neighbor Susan Savage told the Los Angeles Times she saw letters and cobwebs in Vickers' mailbox before going into the house and discovering the body upstairs in a room with a small space heater in the "on" position.

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

The 82-year-old Vickers had appeared in cult movies such as "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" in 1958 and "Attack of the Giant Leeches" in 1959. She was a Playboy magazine playmate in July 1959.

Savage described her neighbor as an elegant woman with flowing blond hair and 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 letters from all over the world requesting photos and still

wanting to be her friend."

Born Yvette Vedder on Aug. 26, 1928, in Kansas City, Mo., she attended the University of California, Los Angeles, before discovering acting and leaving school to pursue it.

Her first film role was as a giggling girl in "Sunset Boulevard" in 1950. In 1957, she appeared in the James Cagney-directed, "Short Cut to Hell," but it flopped and she turn to B-movies.

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