6 March 1953 |
London, England, UK
Suzy Mandel (born 6 March 1953) is the stage name of an ex-actress and model best known for her roles in such 1970s British sex comedies as Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Come Play with Me (1977), and The Playbirds (1978), and for her appearances on the Benny Hill Show.
Born in London, Mandel grew up on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent and later in Essex at Epping, Woodford and Buckhurst Hill. She began her career as a coat model. Later, she worked modelling lingerie, winning such awards as ‘Miss Teenage London’, 'Miss Benson and Hedges’, and ‘Miss TV Times’ (broadcast on UK television on 14 June 1974 and presented by Hughie Green). Mandel's acting career in British sex comedies began in 1976, with her first film, Intimate Games.
Benny Hill saw Intimate Games, and this led him to cast Mandel on his eponymous show. She appears in multiple roles on two 1977 episodes of the series (broadcast in the UK 26/01/1977 and 23/03/1977) . Of Hill and Jackie Wright's famous ‘head slapping’ routine, she said "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.".
On the big screen she quickly became a favourite of both British sex film directors and audiences. Soon she was receiving equal billing with Mary Millington, the UK’s biggest sex symbol of the 1970s. Millington and Mandel's film, Come Play With Me still stands as one of the longest-running films in British film history, and ran continuously at the Moulin Cinema in London's West End from 1977 to 1981.
After the release of her final British sex film, You're Driving Me Crazy, Mandel moved to Los Angeles where, in 1979, she attended the Lee Strasberg Institute for one year, studying acting and voice. She also studied with noted voice and dialect coach Robert Easton.
On 16 August 1981, Mandel married wealthy British film financer Stanley Margolis. Margolis had owned Tigon British Film Productions, the company that released some of her best-known British films, and that would later co-produce the 1993 film True Romance.
Mandel continued acting, appearing in films like The Private Eyes (1981) and Mistress of the Apes (directed by B-film king Larry Buchanan), and on television shows like The Love Boat. She also appeared in the hardcore film Blonde Ambition (also known as Can I Come Again), which was shot in New York in 1977, but only released in 1980. Blonde Ambition saw Mandel cast as Sugar Cane, one half of a talentless duo of singers who become embroiled in the search for a missing brooch. Directed by the eccentric Amero Brothers, the role entailed Mandel to strip while ice-skating, impersonate a drag queen, play the tuba and perform in hardcore sex scenes. She used a body double for the last.
Mandel eventually moved behind the scenes, working on the horror comedy Dead Men Don't Die (1991) starring Elliott Gould as well as co-producing Love Bites, starring Adam Ant, in 1993. She and Margolis divorced the following year.
In 1996, Mandel revealed in the British newspaper The People, that she had quit showbiz to work as a nurse caring for people dying from AIDS after several of her friends had died from 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. In 2006, she returned to producing, working with adult video director Jennifer James on a series entitled ‘Inside Erotica’. She was subsequently spotted at several adult industry socials .
- The Lotus Eaters (TV show, BBC 1973)
- Miss TV Times (TV show, LWT 1974) ... Herself/Contestant
- Dial M for Murder (TV show, BBC 1974)
- 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
- Rutland Weekend Television (TV show, BBC 1975 episode “Rutland Weekend Whistle Test” in sketch “A Penny for your Warts”)
- 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
- Within These Walls (TV show, LWT 1970s)
- 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 (1980) ... 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)
- Whitehouse issue 27
- Whitehouse issue 25
- Park Lane issue 21
- Playbirds issue 14, 1977
- Playbirds issue 13, 1977
- National News issue 8
- Lovebirds issue 6
- Cine Revue 1 May 1980, Vol. 1, Iss. 18
- TV Times issue dated 06/08/1974
- BFI: Miss TV Times 1974 cast http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/768745?view=cast
- Gram Ponante (2006-09-25). "Open bar at the Rears place". gramponante.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- The People, 1996 “Ex-Hill’s Angel Suzy is a real Angel of Mercy”
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (December 2011)|
- Simon Sheridan Come Play with Me: The Life and Films of Mary Millington (1999) (FAB Press, Guildford)
- Simon Sheridan X-Rated - Adventures of an Exploitation Filmmaker (2008) (Reynolds & Hearn Books)
- Simon Sheridan Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema (2011) (fourth edition) (Titan Publishing, London)