Pia Zadora

Active - 1964 - 1994  |   Born - May 4, 1954   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

About as widely ridiculed as Barry Manilow, Pia Zadora is known for her turbulent celebrity status and questionable talents, mostly brought on by Hollywood scandal. Born in Hoboken, NJ, she appeared on Broadway as a child actor before making her film debut in the universally mocked Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in 1964. She continued her stage career as a singer, dancer, and actor after she married the Israeli corporate millionaire Meshulam Riklis in 1977. When she won a Golden Globe for her role in the 1982 film Butterfly, rumors started to spread that he was funding her success. It didn't help that she continued to star in terrible movies such as Fake-Out, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, and The Lonely Lady (which bears many similarities to the infamous flop Showgirls). Her acting career took a major downturn during the mid-'80s, so Zadora focused on recording pop vocal standards for Epic; she released several records and went on tour with Frank Sinatra. Her acting was limited to the stage and cameo appearances as herself, with the only exceptions being her performances as the beatnik chick in John Waters' Hairspray and Miss Muffett in the TV movie Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme. Amid much controversy in 1988, Zadora and Riklis bought and renovated Pickfair, the mansion originally owned by Hollywood moguls Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Zadora and Riklis divorced in 1993.

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