Who is Diana Christmas?
Who is she and why does she have a whole book named after her?
Back in the 1950s, Diana Christmas was a really big star in British films. A gorgeous, vivacious, red-headed star; Britain’s answer to Rita Hayworth.
Undeniably she was glamourous, undeniably she was sexy, but she was funny as well. Few actresses working anywhere had as expert comic timing as Diana Christmas. She could deliver a line – even one not particularly funny – and do it so perfectly she’d make an audience guffaw. There was just a way she could raise her eyebrow when confronted by some piece of idiocy or nonsense, that just had them rolling in the aisles.
As her career progressed, she moved more and more into comedies and light fayre, but at the beginning of her career she was the young and beautiful damsel in a number of dramas. However, she was never quite an ingenue. There was always something too knowing in her on-screen demeanour for her to be cast as the pure snow white innocent. She was too obviously sexy for that.
Her screen debut was in THE LAST ROGUE, when she was seventeen years old, when her whole part was to make Dirk Bogarde feel uncomfortable. She’s one of a trio of girls who tempts him, but it’s the kiss she blows to him – from her full and plump lips – which seems to make the sweat burst onto his brow. It’s a great first performance, and one that announces a vivacious presence whose sensuality seems to dominate the screen.
The parts got bigger, she proved herself in drama and comedy and found herself on the cusp of Hollywood stardom.
Bob Hope came to London to make a Technicolor comedy called THE LONG LOST LORD BUTTONS, where she’s his love interest-cum-foil. Absolutely she looks fabulous, rarely had she ever looked sexier than in the low-cut green dress she wore in the race course scene. It was her first colour film and no one’s red hair had ever been as captured as beautifully as hers was.
What’s more she’s brilliant in it.
Obviously, Bob Hope’s many scriptwriters make sure he had virtually all the funny lines, but she more than holds her own. Giving alternatively askance and knowing looks which are just hilarious, while wringing all the laughs she can get from every good line she’s given.
The film isn’t great, but she is magnificent in it. It should have led to great things, it should have led to her being a star in Hollywood.
Billy Wilder wanted her for his next film, Hitchcock was allegedly talking to her for a serious role.
But instead she just disappeared.
From being a big star ready to take the mantle of international fame, she suddenly stopped appearing in films, just seemed to disappear out of the industry.
No one knew what had happened to Diana Christmas, that is until a young film journalist knocked her door one December morning in 1979 for an interview…
Anxious to know more? The first three chapters are available on Instafreebie now.