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Dolores Fuller (1923-2011)

Dolores Fuller (1923-2011) (photo)

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The Los Angeles Times reports that actress Dolores Fuller, the angora-clad muse of legendarily bad director Edward D. Wood Jr., died in her home on Monday after a long illness, at the age of 88.

Fuller was a successful model and TV actress (she appeared regularly on “Queen For a Day”) when she met Wood at a casting call. From The Times‘ obituary:

“When I got to the casting call and first laid eyes on the young Edward, I just thought he was extremely handsome, and his personality was bubbly and fun,” Fuller recalled in a 1994 interview with Tom Weaver for Fangoria magazine. “Then when I found out he was also a director and writer as well as a producer and actor, I was very impressed. … I knew immediately that he liked me, too.”

Wood cast her as the lead in his infamous first film, “Glen or Glenda” (1953). The deeply personal (and, yes, deeply flawed) picture told the story of a transvestite named Glen (Wood) who’s struggling to come to grips with his love of cross-dressing. Fuller played Barbara’s Glen’s girlfriend, who is unaware of Glen’s taste for women’s clothing, particularly her own angora sweaters. The scenario was largely autobiographical; Fuller and Wood were dating and, for at least the first year of their relationship, she never discovered his taste in clothes. In the film’s finale, famously recreated in Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic “Ed Wood,” Glen tells Barbara the truth, she gives him the sweater off her back, and they live happily ever after. That was the artist escaping into art in order to live out his fantasy. In truth, Fuller wasn’t quite so understanding of Wood’s transvestitism, and the couple broke up for a variety of reasons in 1955.

After Burton’s film renewed interested in Wood and his work, Fuller got a second shot at B-movie celebrity. Here’s a good interview with Fuller where she compares the realities of her life with Wood to the less flattering depiction in the film “Ed Wood.” She’s also got some not-so-nice things to say about the actress who played her, Sarah Jessica Parker (Note: the lower-third on Fuller is incorrect; Wood and Fuller were never married):

Parker may have written her off as “the worst actress in the history of film,” but after Fuller broke up with Wood she reinvented himself, studying with Stella Adler at the Actors Studio and becoming a successful songwriter. Here’s one of her most famous compositions, co-written with Ben Weisman, “Rock-A-Hula Baby” from the Elvis Presley film “Blue Hawaii:”

Fuller is gone now, but not forgotten. Whenever a guy is curious about his girlfriend’s outfit, or imagines Bela Lugosi in a wing chair screaming “PULL THE STRING!” she and Ed live on.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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