Capitalizing on the worldwide popularity of Marilyn Monroe, the former Norma Sykes shot to stardom as “Sabrina.” She, along with Diana Dors and Shirley Eaton, became England’s answer to the “blonde bombshell.” Cast as the “dumb blonde” on comedian Arthur Askey’s popular TV series Before Your Very Eyes, Sabrina became a household name in the middle 1950s. Sabrina was the BBC’s “go-to” girl and England’s male population offered no argument. Sabrina’s name was often invoked as a punchline in numerous skits on the popular Goon Show, usually with the exclamation: “By the measurements of Sabrina!”
Soon, Sabrina appeared in movies, including an equal-billing role with Alastair Sim in 1957’s Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s. in the film, Sabrina’s character sat in bed wearing a nightgown while she read a book. She had no lines of dialogue and the film’s action went on around her. She later co-starred with Troy Donahue in the western The Phantom Gunslinger. Her last film appearance was in a horror movie called The Ice House, in a role originally written for the late Jayne Mansfield.
Sabrina married a Hollywood gynecologist in 1967. The marriage lasted a decade before ending in divorce. No longer wanted by Hollywood, Sabrina lived a reclusive life, moving to Burbank and shunning family and friends. Reports of the former star living in squalor ran through the tabloids.
Sabrina had several operations to relieve the back pain that she suffered through most of her life, due, in part, to her prominent chest. In 2016, Sabrina died from blood poisoning after one of those procedures went awry. She was 80 years old. News of her death made the papers almost one year after the fact.