Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Royalty Cheques Don’t Die

Suzy thought it would be fun to share two of her more recent royalty cheques here, which given there amounts are more worth keeping as memorabilia than bothering to cash. The lower amount of the two is for a repeat screening of The Love Boat, while the larger one is for a TV screening of Cheech and Chong's Things Are Tough All Over (1982). Peculiarly, while Suzy is quite visible in The Love Boat episode I've never been able to spot her in the Cheech and Chong movie, and I am usually quite good at spotting her in these things. It may be that she got cut from the film or that the scene she is in is unique to the TV version (I've only got the film on DVD) but needless to say if anyone does manage to spot her in this $1.78 repeat worthy appearance, please let us know.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Come Play With More4

Suzy was one of the people interviewed for the documentary that is on More4 this Saturday at 10pm http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-golden-rules-of-porn

The interview was conducted last year in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RIP: Stanley Margolis 1934-2013



It is with great sorrow that I have to announce the passing of former Tigon films boss Stanley Margolis, an ex-husband of my friend Suzy Mandel.

Margolis was a tremendous property wiz who along with his friend, mentor and business partner Laurie Peter Marsh was the driving force behind Star Holdings Inc.  Throughout the 1960s Star Holdings was involved in the business of buying up cinemas, finding a particular niche in then totally or partially renovating them into Casinos and Bingo Halls.  Celebrities like Leonard Sachs and Coronation Street’s Pat Phoenix were often employed in publicity stunts to mark the re-opening of the premises. 

One of Margolis’ earliest known involvement in film was working in an uncredited capacity on the 1965 film Repulsion, produced by Tony Tenser and Michael Klinger.  Margolis later recalled to Suzy the onset conflicts that arose over the perfectionist nature of the film’s director Roman Polanski, resulting in several members of the production –Margolis included- unsuccessfully attempting to oust Polanski from the project and have Repulsion finished by a ghost director.

A year later Star Holdings would cross paths with Tony Tenser again after Tenser sought out Laurie Marsh’s advice and financial assistance in acquiring the Windmill Theatre in Soho.  This in turn lead to Marsh and Margolis becoming financially involved in Tenser’s newly formed film production and distribution company Tigon.  Initially silent partners, the years that followed saw Marsh and Margolis’ interest and involvement in the company grow, and Tigon’s film production output shift from its exploitation film roots to more mainstream titles like Hannie Caulder, Black Beauty and The Magnificent 7 Deadly Sins.  A change in direction for the company also resulted in a change of name for its film production arm, which became known as L.M.G (The Laurie Marsh Group) for its final few productions- The Creeping Flesh, Not Now Darling, and For The Love of Ada.  In contrast to Marsh, whose business dealings, film industry involvement and private life rarely saw him out of the newspapers during this period, Margolis kept a much lower profile, making the full extent of his involvement in Tigon and L.M.G hard to document.  As such Margolis is something of the forgotten man in the Tigon story.

The Star Holdings company expanded further in the 1970s, after buying the Classic Cinema Chain and the Essoldo Chain in 1971.  Reportedly acquiring the former for seven million pounds, according to press reports of the time.  1974 saw the company also branch out into the theatre market and- in conjunction with 1950s pop impresario Larry Parnes- Marsh formed ‘Laurence Theatres’ an offshoot of Star Holdings that set about converting cinemas into theatres. 

1970 advert for a star holdings owned cinema

After Tony Tenser departed from Tigon in 1972, Marsh and Margolis became its two most influential figures and the company ceased to be active in film production, concentrating solely on distributing other people’s movies.  Tigon might have become a small fish in the larger pool that was Margolis and Marsh’s business empire but it remained a lucrative arm of the company, releasing many of the big hits of the British sex comedy era including Intimate Games, Come Play With Me and The Playbirds, all co-starring Suzy Mandel who’d become Margolis’ third wife in 1981.

Suzy first met Margolis in 1977, not however as a result of the Tigon released films, but after being introduced by their mutual friend, the prolific sexploitation film producer and director David Hamilton Grant.  Margolis had an eye on expanding Star Holdings into the US property market and in 1976 had relocated to Los Angeles along with his two children from his second marriage, a son Alex and a daughter Rachel.  At one point in time Star Holdings owned the Airport Park Hotel in Los Angeles, several condo conversations in the La Jolla neighbourhood of San Diego and apartment complexes in Houston, Texas. 

the airport park hotel - early 1980s

During the 1980s Margolis maintained a diverse number of business interests, he bred and professionally raced greyhounds and in 1983 founded ‘FinMgt’ a firm that managed the business affairs of actors, writers, musicians and record producers.  Margolis himself occasionally returned to dabble in the entertainment industry; in the early 1980s he produced a TV pilot “We’re Making It” starring Peter Lawford and Suzy in a small role.  His final involvement with the film world and his only known onscreen credit was as executive producer of Tony Scott’s True Romance in 1993.  He and Suzy divorced a year later but he remained a fondly remembered figure in her life who she affectionately referred to as ‘my ex-old man’.  

“Although we were divorced for a long time” remembers Suzy “we did spend many years together and some very good times, he was a very big part of my life”.

Stanley Margolis passed away at UCLA Medical Center on Sunday the 14th 2013, he is survived by his fourth wife Angela, Suzy (his third wife), his second wife Lorraine, his daughter by Lorraine, Rachel McDermott, his son-in-law, David and his grandchildren Cynthia and Christopher.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas with Suzy Mandel 2011

Just back from a two week holiday in Arizona, staying with Suzy. We had a blast, visiting tombstone, tortilla flat, and covering lots of Arizona miles in Suzy’s Buick, fun times were in abundance, I also got to buy myself a big ol’ cowboy hat and meet some of Suzy’s colourful friends in AZ. Suzy really is very, very special to me and has bought so much happiness to my life, everyone should have a friend like her and hopefully I’ll be able to pop over to AZ again next year!!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Weekend Magazine 1977

‘Thigh’s the Limit’ from Weekend magazine March 9-15 1977

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Suzy’s 1977 Spotlight Entry.

Suzy’s 1977 entry in Spotlight. Obviously don’t bother ringing the number now though, its 32 years out of date!!!

About Suzy Mandel

Jacqueline Ann Elaine Jefcoate, better known as Suzy Mandel is an ex-actress and model best known for her roles in 1970’s British sex comedies like Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Come Play with Me (1977), The Playbirds (1978) and for her appearances on The Benny Hill Show.

Born March 6th 1953 in London, Suzy grew up on the Isle of Sheppey and latter in Epping Essex and then Woodford Essex and Buckhurst Hill Essex. After graduating from The London Modeling Academy in 1968, she began her career as a coat model then worked in modeling lingerie winning such prestigious awards as Miss Teenage London, Miss Benson and Hedges and Miss TV Times (broadcast on UK television on 14/06/1974 and presented by Hughie Green). Her modeling career also included appearances as a Page 3 girl in The Sun, as well as one of the earliest “Mirror Girls” in the Daily Mirror, at a time when The Mirror still carried glamour pictures on Page 3. Her acting career in British sex comedies began in 1976, with her first film Intimate Games, which was seen by Benny Hill who then cast her in his The Benny Hill Show. She appears in multiple roles in two episodes of the 1977 series (broadcast in the UK 26/01/1977 and 23/03/1977).

the many faces of suzy: from the benny hill show

Of Hill and Jackie Wright’s famous ‘head slapping’ routine, Suzy recently told Gram Pontante’s website "Jackie Wright was a chain smoker and he would often hide his cigarette in his mouth or behind his back during scenes. In fact, you could often see a little plume of smoke rising behind him if you looked close enough. Benny would slap his head to fan the smoke away." Aside from the Hill shows, Suzy also featured in numerous television productions of this period, as well as comedy sketches in shows by Dick Emery, Marty Feldman, Eric Idle and Basil Brush.

In films Suzy quickly became a firm favorite of both British sex film directors and audiences alike and was soon receiving equal billing to Mary Millington, the UK’s biggest sex symbol of the 1970s. As well as appearing with Mary Millington in two films, Suzy was also present when the infamous topless picture of Mary was taken at 10 Downing Street. In which Mary while posing for a picture with a policeman outside Number Ten, unzipped her top, exposing her breasts, much to the surprise of Suzy, the photographer George Richardson (who took the picture anyway) and the policeman in question (who tried to confiscate the reel of film). According to Simon Sheridan’s biography of Millington “For this stunt Mary was conditionally discharged and bound over to keep the peace” . Mary and Suzy’s film Come Play With Me still stands as the longest-running film in British movie history, and ran continuously at the Moulin Cinema in London's West End from 1977 to 1981. In a publicity stunt for the second year anniversary of the film’s opening, both Suzy and Mary posed in lingerie on the Moulin cinema’s marquee. Sadly only a few months later Millington committed suicide aged just 33, Suzy remarked to me that Mary’s death was “extraordinarily sad”.

During her career in British sex comedies Suzy also had her own cartoon strip “The Adventures of Suzy Mandel” that appeared in the pages of Whitehouse magazine, modeled for the UK poster of the film Pussy Talk (despite the fact that she doesn’t actually appear in the film itself), and had a racehorse named after her.

In Los Angeles in 1981 she married wealthy British film financer Stanley Margolis, who had ties with Tigon British Film Productions the company that released some of Suzy’s best known films, and would later co-produce the 1993 film True Romance. Suzy had already been living in Los Angeles for some time, in 1979 she attended the world famous Lee Strasberg Institute in LA for one year studying acting and voice, as well as studying with the well known voice and dialect coach Robert Easton. Suzy also continued working appearing in films like The Private Eyes (1981), Mistress of the Apes, as well as a walk-on in TV’s The Love Boat. She also appeared in the hardcore film Blonde Ambition (a.k.a. Can I Come Again) which was shot in NY in 1977, but only released in 1980. Scripted under the title “White Tie and Tails” Blonde Ambition saw Suzy cast as Sugar Cane, who makes up one half of a talent-less British vaudevillian duo who have somehow found their way to performing at a rundown saloon in Coyote Fang, Wyoming. Candy Kane (Dory Devon) has the brain cells, while Sugar Kane has the squeaky voice and one-liners, together they are…. spectacularly bad. Their awful stage act consisting of bumping into each other level choreography, and tuneless wailing of a song that ends with them proclaiming "up yours" to a clap free response. Seeking the big time the Kanes hop foot it to NYC, where among other things they become implicated in the disappearance of a priceless brooch, and embark on a film career culminating in them appearing in a porn remake of Gone With the Wind.

Directed by the eccentric Amero Brothers, the role entailed Suzy to strip while ice-skating, impersonate a drag queen, play the tuba and perform in hardcore scenes- however it should be noted that she used a body double for the latter. While Blonde Ambition took several years to emerge, the film has gone on to be something of a cult classic, Time Out praised Suzy’s performance as a “pyrogenic half-pint”, claiming “Mandel has all the dumb-puckering ingenuousness of early Monroe”. Blonde Ambition was not Suzy’s first encounter with hardcore, previously in 1975 she had made a fleeting non-sex appearance in Health Farm, a hardcore short directed by John Lindsay.

Suzy’s stateside career continued into the 1980s with national TV commercials for Kawasaki, Toyota and Nissan. Suzy performed her own stunts for the Toyota commercial as well as in a commercial for Red Mountain Coffee which was filmed in Sedona, Arizona by a British crew, most of whom had previously worked on the film Chariots of Fire. Suzy also appeared in several American TV pilots, including “All Nonsense Network News” starring Garry Owens, “We're Making It” starring Peter Lawford and Larry Storch and "Sunset Strip" starring The Unknown Comic. However Suzy eventually moved behind the scenes, working on the horror comedy Dead Men Don't Die (1991) starring Elliot Gould and co-producing Love Bites, starring Adam Ant, in 1993. She and Margolis divorced the following year.

In 1996 Suzy revealed in the British Newspaper The People (in an article entitled “Ex-Hill’s Angel Suzy is a real Angel of Mercy”), that she had quit showbiz to work as a Nurse caring for people dying from AIDS after several of her friends had died due to the disease. “The stunning blonde, who often dressed as a saucy nurse, is now wearing a real nurse's uniform to care for dying patients” claimed the article. Suzy was awarded a full scholarship to become a LVN and to study at the world famous Cedars-Sinai Hospital in LA. In 2006 she returned to producing, working with Adult Video director Jennifer James on a series entitled ‘Inside Erotica’ and was subsequently spotted at several adult industry socials. However the pilot was never picked up and the two no longer have any association.

A delightful woman, who is happy to reminisce about her career. Suzy was recently interviewed by the Benny Hill fansite "Benny’s Place" http://runstop.de/mandel.html and by writer and film historian Simon Sheridan for the liner notes of the UK DVD release of Intimate Games. She currently resides in Arizona, USA.

“Big Hugs”, to the lovely Miss Mandel herself, for her help with this article.
More Suzy pictures can be found here http://s346.photobucket.com/albums/p401/suzymandelfans/

Acting Roles

* The Lotus Eaters (TV show, BBC 1973)
* Miss TV Times (TV show, LWT 1974) ... Herself/Contestant
* Dial M for Murder (TV show, BBC 1974)
* Monty Python (1974) uncredited as German girl in episode “Michael Ellis”
*Churchill’s People (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* The Girls of Slender Means (TV show, BBC 1975)
* Play of the Month: King Lear (TV show, BBC 1975)
* The Fight Against Slavery (TV show, BBC 1975)
* Health Farm (hardcore short 1975) ... 2nd Girl
* Within These Walls (TV show, LWT, extra in three episodes “Getting Out”, “Prison Cat” and “The Good Life”, 1975)
* Rutland Weekend Television (TV show, BBC 1975 episode “Rutland Weekend Whistle Test” in sketch “A Penny for your Warts”)

with Neil Innes and Henry Woolf in Rutland Weeked Television

* The Best of Marty (TV show 1970s)
* The Generation Game (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* The Basil Brush Show (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* Intimate Games (1976) ... Erica
* Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976) ... Mrs Hargreaves

* Rentaghost (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* What’s on Next (TV show, Thames, 1976)
* Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* The Benny Hill Show (TV show, Thames 1977) ... Various Roles

* The Dick Emery Show (TV show, BBC 1977) ... Dawn, the biker chick
* Z-Cars (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* Van der Valk (TV show, 1970s)
* Target (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* Jackanory Playhouse (TV show, 1970s)
* George Sands (TV show, 1970s)
* Nice Day Tomorrow (TV show, 1970s)
* The Liver Birds (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* The Sweeney (TV show, Thames 1970s)
* Rock Follies (TV show, Thames 1970s)
* The Barry Humphries Show (TV show, BBC 1977)
* The World of Pam Ayres (TV show, LWT 1977)
* The XYY Man (TV show, Granada 1970s)
* The Other One (TV show, BBC 1970s)
* Play of the Month: The Country Wife (TV show, BBC 1977)
* Mr. Big (TV show, BBC 1977)
* Play of the Month: The Ambassadors (TV show, BBC 1977)
* Get Some In! (TV show, BBC 1977) ... Non-responsive W.A.A.F
* Come Play with Me (1977) ... Rena
* Over Exposed (1977) (unreleased)
* The Playbirds (1978) ... Lena
* Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate (1978) ... First Tennis Girl

* Pennies from Heaven (TV show, BBC, 1978)
* You’re Driving Me Crazy (1979) ... Anthea
* Mistress of the Apes (1979) ... Secretary
* The Love Boat (TV show, ABC 1980) ... Trina
* Blonde Ambition (hardcore 1980, filmed 1977) ... Sugar Cane
* The Private Eyes (1981) ... Hilda
* The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)
* Things Are Tough All Over (1982)
* Kawasaki (TV Commercial, 1980s)
* Toyota (TV Commercial, 1980s)
* Nissan (TV Commercial, 1980s)
* Red Mountain Coffee (TV Commercial, 1980s)
* We're Making It (TV show, series regular, 1980s)
* Sunset Strip (TV show, series regular, 1980s)
* All Nonsense Network News (TV show, series regular/opera reporter, 1980s)
* Love Bites (1993)
*Lovebirds No.6
*Lovebirds No.8
*The New Colour Climax No.29
* Cine Revue 1 May 1980, Vol. 1, Iss. 18
* Paris Manhattan No.14 1982