Sunday, April 12, 2009

she's a wonderful lady and she's all mine, and there doesn't seem a way that she won't come and lose my mind

Happy Easter ev'rybody! In honor of this glorious day, the Easter bunny left a little treat for me on my TiVo -- two back-to-back episodes of "Biography" on A&E channel. I love the biography programs, but today it was extra special because the programs were first about Davy Jones, and then about the Monkees! Because I am essentially a fourteen-year-old girl on the inside, I couldn't help but get extremely excited and feel inspired to post. I am posting about Samantha Juste, the first wife of Monkee Micky Dolenz from 1968 until 1975. Though only my second favorite Monkee (behind Davy...remember that I have the emotional capacity of a tween), I always really liked Micky and Samantha together.

Samantha was born Sandra Slater in 1944 in Manchester, England. As a teenager, she became a model and changed her name to Samantha -- a still uncommon name in England at the time, though gaining popularity due to Grace Kelly's role as Samantha Lord in "High Society" and Elizabeth Montgomery's role as Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched." It is said that during the 1960s, Samantha Juste was one of the most popular Samanthas in Britain. As a model, she was popular because of her thin frame, long long legs, and blonde hair. She also made some of her clothing on the side after studying textiles and dress design at college. She favored minidresses with somewhat simple neckline and at times with long sleeves.
In the mid-60s, she became known as the "disc girl" on the popular Top of the Pops program, and released her own album. She appeared in the now-rare photobook, John D. Green's "Birds of Britain," a 1967 coffee table book highlighting the bright young things in England at that time (including Marianne Faithfull, Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd, Julie Christie, Lulu, and more!) In early 1967 she met Dolenz when the Monkees performed on Top of the Pops. He recalled that Samantha "was tall, blonde, beautiful, and wearing an emerald green outfit that ends up in a short skirt (very short) which tops off her unbelievably gorgeous legs." Micky said that all during their performance on TotP, "she hold his glance briefly then looks quickly away with that haughty sophistication that only the British can do so well."
Dolenz and Juste soon began dating, which caused media frenzy and fan upset during the time known as 'Monkeemania.' Samantha received a lot of the flack for their relationship, and had to endure female fans cruelty and newspaper headlines like "Pops girl goes ape" and "Samantha traps Monkee." The couple split their time between Samantha's flat in London and Micky's place in Laurel Canyon, with Samantha eventually moving in with him and leaving Top of the Pops. They wed in the summer of 1968, and their daughter Ami Bluebell was born in January of the next year. Dolenz wrote at least one song inspired in part by Samantha, "Randy Scouse Git," referring to her as the "girl in the yellow dress." During their marriage, the Dolenzes socialize with some of the top names in the music industry, including Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr, who dubbed Samantha "Earth Mother." During the 70s, Micky's admittedly self-indulgent nature took a toll on the marriage, leading to Juste filing for divorce in 1975. She now runs an online boutique with her daughter Ami (an actress) called Bluebell Boutique.
(thanks to and wikipedia for info)