Pia Alfreda Schipani|
May 4, 1953
Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
Pia Zadora (born May 4, 1953) is an American actress and singer. After working as a child actress on Broadway, in regional theater, and in the film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), she came to national attention in 1981, when following her starring role in the highly criticized Butterfly, she won a Golden Globe Award as New Star of the Year, while simultaneously winning the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress, and "Worst New Star" for the same identical performance.
When her film career failed to take off, she became a singer of popular standards, and made several successful albums backed by a symphonic orchestra; as a singer, she earned a measure of respect from critics who had previously written her off as an actress.
Zadora was born Pia Alfreda Schipani in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her father, Alphonse Schipani, was an Italian-American violinist, while her mother, Saturnina (Zadorowski) Schipanni, was a Polish-American theatrical wardrobe supervisor for Broadway productions and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as the New York City Opera. Pia is of Polish maternal and Italian paternal descent. She adapted part of her mother's maiden name as her stage name. Zadora appeared as a child actress with Tallulah Bankhead in Midgie Purvis. She played the youngest sister (Bielke) in the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof (1964–1966).
Zadora's first film was in 1964's widely panned Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, as Girmar, a young Martian girl. She also sang "Hooray for Santy Claus" in that movie, which has become a fan favorite since its 1991 appearance on the movie-mocking TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Her career made little headway until she met Meshulam Riklis, 32 years her senior, in 1972, while touring with a musical production. The couple married on September 18, 1977. Not long after her marriage, she made her breakthrough as the Dubonnet Girl, appearing in print and television commercials for the apéritif wine, in whose American distributor Riklis was a shareholder.
Zadora starred alongside Stacy Keach and Orson Welles in the 1982 film version of James M. Cain's novel Butterfly, whose plot revolved around father-daughter incest. Her character, Kady Tyler, was described as being the daughter of Keach's character Jesse Tyler. The musical score featured Zadora singing "It’s Wrong For Me To Love You". She won that year's Golden Globe Award as Best New Star of the Year, amid charges that her husband had bought the award with a promotional campaign. Zadora's image filled billboards on Sunset Boulevard. Most critics panned her performance, however; she was also "awarded" "Razzies" as "Worst New Star" and "Worst Actress" in the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards.
Zadora next starred in the 1982 film Fake-Out, also called Nevada Heat, a women in prison B-movie comedy co-starring Telly Savalas and Desi Arnaz Jr., and in the 1983 film adaptation of a Harold Robbins novel, The Lonely Lady, playing an aspiring screenwriter who achieves success after surviving sexual assault. She was "awarded" another Razzie as Worst Actress of 1983. On the basis of her multiple "awards", the Golden Raspberry Awards later named her Worst New Star of the Decade (1980–1989).
In 1985, Zadora starred as the object of an extraterrestrial's affections in the musical-comedy Voyage of the Rock Aliens. In addition to showing off her comedic side, the film showcased her musical talents and featured half of the songs from her 1984 album Let's Dance Tonight.
Though Zadora had drawn critics' hostility as an actress, she attained success in Europe as a singer, and had several hit singles throughout the world. In 1985, she received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song "Rock It Out", but lost to Tina Turner's "Better Be Good To Me". Her cover of the Shirley Ellis hit "The Clapping Song", which was recorded for the film score of The Lonely Lady, reached the U.S. top 40 in 1983, and she had a hit duet with Jermaine Jackson titled "When the Rain Begins to Fall" in 1984 from the movie Voyage of the Rock Aliens. A minor hit in the United States, the song reached number one in some European countries.
Another prominent native of Hoboken, Frank Sinatra, taking Zadora under his wing in the middle 1980s, encouraged her to record albums consisting primarily of standards. She released Pia & Phil, an album of standards with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985, and recorded a follow-up album titled I Am What I Am shortly after.
In 1988, she worked with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on an album entitled When the Lights Go Out. The single "Dance Out of My Head" did not chart despite the top producers and club remixes by Shep Pettibone and Ben Liebrand. The album was released only in Europe. In 1989, she recorded the album Pia Z with producer Narada Michael Walden; this also did not chart. The single "Heartbeat of Love" included club remixes by Robert Civillés and David Cole of C + C Music Factory. A further album of standards entitled Pia Today! was recorded; this received a limited promotional release.
Later in 1994, Zadora played a small role in Naked Gun 33 1⁄3: The Final Insult, in the final act in a comedy sketch as she sang at the Oscars. In this segment, she performed the Steve Allen-penned "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" during a parody of an Academy Awards musical number.
A compilation, The Platinum Collection, was released around this time and sold via "infomercials" in the U.S. It included repackaged versions of Pia & Phil, I Am What I Am, and Pia Today! Another CD of standards, Only for Romantics, was also recorded, but as May 2012 came to a close, it was scarce and only promotional copies were available.
Cabaret show: 2011 and beyond
In 2011, Zadora began a small attempt at a comeback with a cabaret show titled Pia Zadora: Back Again, And Standing Tall. In February, she performed at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens and the Kaye Auditorium in Boca Raton. She took the show to The Rrazz Room in San Francisco on June 8 where it ran for five performances until June 12. Zadora appeared at San Francisco's Rrazz Room's 3rd annual Rrazziversary Gala Celebration and Benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on March 17, 2011 and at the Nevada Children's Center's Great Gatsby Gala on April 3, 2011.
Zadora married businessman Meshulam Riklis in 1977, when she was 23 and he 54. She was a marquee headliner at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas during the early 1970s due to her association with Riklis and Sinatra. Zadora and Riklis bought the Beverly Hills mansion Pickfair Manor in January 1988 from Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss for almost $7 million. They demolished most of the structure while keeping the guest houses, claiming that termites and time had made repairs difficult. The mansion, which drew its name of "Pickfair" from having once been the shared home of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, was torn down and a new 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) mansion was built on the property. Zadora later claimed on a September 2012 episode of BIO's Celebrity Ghost Stories that Pickfair was razed due to a troubling apparition which appeared to her and children when her husband was away on business. Riklis commissioned a nude oil portrait of Zadora, which greeted visitors.
Zadora's second husband was writer-director Jonathan Kaufer. They were married from August 1995 to November 2001, and had one child, Jordan Maxwell Kaufer. Zadora's three children are Kady Zadora, Kristofer Barzie, and Jordan Maxwell; Kady and Kristofer are her children with Meshulam Riklis. Kady was named after Zadora's film character in Butterfly, which later inspired the call letters for station KADY-TV in Oxnard, California after Riklis acquired it in 1988. After he divested himself of his ownership, it changed its call letters to KBEH.
Zadora has been married to Michael Jeffries, a detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, since 2005 and currently resides in Summerlin, Nevada. Zadora and Jeffries met after Zadora contacted the Las Vegas Police to report a stalking incident.
|1964||Santa Claus Conquers the Martians||Girmar|
|1982||Fake-Out||Bobbie Warren||also known as Nevada Heat|
|1983||The Lonely Lady||Jerilee Randall|
|1984||Voyage of the Rock Aliens||Dee Dee|
|1985||Feel the Motion||Herself|
|1989||Troop Beverly Hills||Herself|
|1994||Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult||Herself|
|1983||Pajama Tops||Babette Latouche||TV Movie|
|1990||Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme||Little Miss Muffet||TV Movie|
|1995||Favorite Deadly Sins||Herself||TV Movie|
|1999||Frasier||Jill||1 episode (voice only)|
- The Garden of Sweets (1961)
- Midgie Purvis (1961)
- A Gift of Time (1962)
- We Take the Town (1962)
- Fiddler on the Roof (1965)
- Henry, Sweet Henry (1967)
- Dames at Sea (1968)
- Little Mary Sunshine (1970)
- Applause (1972)
- Promises, Promises (1973)
- Damn Yankees (1976)
- Funny Girl (1991)
- Crazy for You (1995)
- 1982: Pia
- 1984: Let's Dance Tonight
- 1985: Pia & Phil
- 1986: I Am What I Am
- 1988: When the Lights Go Out
- 1989: Pia Z
- 1989: Pia Today! (promo only until it was issued as part of The Platinum Collection)
- 1993: Only for Romantics (promo only)
- 1993: The Platinum Collection (included Pia & Phil, I Am What I Am, and Pia Today!)
|Pia track listing|
|1.||"I'm In Love Again"||3:55|
|2.||"Never Gonna Do You Wrong"||3:23|
|4.||"You Can't Keep A Good Love Down"||3:29|
|5.||"Baby It's You"||3:59|
|6.||"Love Who You Love"||2:49|
|9.||"It's Wrong For Me To Love You (Theme From The Motion Picture "Butterfly")"||3:40|
|10.||"How'd You Get Me This Way"||3:30|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions|
|1978||"Come Share My Love"||—||—||—||—|
|"I Know a Good Thing When I Feel It"||—||65||—||—|
|1980||"Baby It's You"||—||55||—||—|
|1982||"I'm in Love Again"||45||—||—||—|
|1983||"The Clapping Song"||36||—||—||—|
|1984||"When the Rain Begins to Fall" (with Jermaine Jackson)||54||—||68||1|
|"Follow My Heartbeat"B||—||—||—||—|
|"Let's Dance Tonight"||—||—||—||11|
|"Little Bit of Heaven"||—||—||—||10|
|"Rock It Out"||110||—||—||—|
|1985||"Come Rain, Come Shine"||—||—||—||—|
|1986||"I Am What I Am"||—||—||—||—|
|1988||"Dance Out of My Head"||—||—||65||—|
|1989||"Heartbeat of Love"||—||—||—||—|
|"If You Were Mine"||—||—||—||—|
Awards and nominations
Golden Globe Awards
- Won: New Star of the Year, Butterfly (1981)
Golden Raspberry Awards
- Won: Worst New Star, Butterfly (1983)
- Won: Worst Actress, The Lonely Lady (1984)
- Won: Worst New Star of the Decade, Butterfly and The Lonely Lady (1990)
- Nominated: Worst Actress of the Decade, Butterfly and The Lonely Lady (1990)
- Nominated: Worst Actress of the Century, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, Butterfly, and The Lonely Lady (2000)
Golden Apple Award
- Won: Sour Apple (1982)
- Won: Young Star of the Year (1982)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Golden Globes". TheGoldenGlobes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Braunagel, Don (1992-08-04). "Variety Reviews - Too Short to Be a Rockette - Legit Reviews - - Review by Don Braunagel". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Pia Zadora Biography (1956-)". Filmreference.com. 1956-05-04. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Obituary notice for Saturnina Schipani, died April 2, 2005". The New York Times. 2005-04-05. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Pia Zadora in Coconut Ballroom". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Churnin, Nancy (1992-07-03). "Zadora Brings Her Musical Bio to S.D.". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!". NPR. 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "1982 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners" - The Official RAZZIE® Forum". Razzies.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Home of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation". Razzies.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Pia Zadora makes musical comeback". www.pbpulse.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "BWW Interviews: Diminutive Diva Zadora Returns to the Stage". Sanfrancisco.broadwayworld.com. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko". Therrazzroom.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Melloy, Kilian (2011-06-07). "Pia Zadora: Back Again, and Standing Tall". EDGE San Francisco. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Archived May 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "McCallum Theatre & Performing Arts in Palm Desert & Palm Springs, CA". Mccallumtheatre.com. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Celebrity Ghost Stories - Season 4, Episode 12: Erin Moran; Pia Zadora; Michael Beach". TV.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "Pia Zadora - The Biography". Stomptokyo.com. 2002-01-21. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "The Real Estalker: PickFair Hits the Market at a High Price". Realestalker.blogspot.com. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Parade | Celebrate Israel". Salutetoisrael.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Action News at 11pm". KTNV. June 1, 2013.
- "PopCultureClassics.com". PopCultureClassics.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 616. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "German Charts". Charts.de. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Grammy Award Nominees 1985 - Grammy Award Winners 1985". Awardsandshows.com. 1985-02-26. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Pia Zadora|
- Official net-site
- Pia Zadora at the Internet Movie Database
- Pia Zadora at the Internet Broadway Database
- Pia Zadora at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Pia Zadora at AllMovie