Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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A Call from Sabrina

28 January 2007 - 4:30 pm - 7:02 pm

28 January 2007, 4:30 pm - Sabrina called out of the blue. Didn't record it since it was unexpected, so please forgive the transcribed notes.

  • She went to two schools in Stockport, one of which was St George's School.
  • She moved to Blackpool before she became a teenager, and she was hospitalised for polio in Blackpool.
  • She was a swimming champion and planned to swim the English Channel. She was in training in Stockport at the age of nine - at which age she could beat girls aged 15.
  • She swam a mile a day at the YWCA at nine years old.
  • Her secret to swimming was a "special way of turning" and a lengthy underwater swim after the starting dive. She was interested to hear that this strategy was only banned by the Olympic committee in recent years - but she had discovered it decades earlier!
  • She dove so deep that at one stage she hit her head on the bottom of the pool and was knocked unconscious. She had to be dragged from the pool before she drowned.
  • She and Steve Page were recently driving down Sunset Boulevard when a tree fell on the car, crushing the front of it. She put another disk out in her back.
  • She was in hospital with an infection and a nurse put some ointment on Sabby. Nurse was about to discharge Sabby when Sabby had a violent pain in her stomach and head and crashed with a blood pressure of 45 over 20. It turned out she was allergic to the ointment and would probably have died if she'd been at home when she used it.
  • She was in the cardiac ward for 2 days afterwards to monitor her. A woman doctor gave her pain meds to which Sabby also had a bad reaction, so the meds were supposed to have been changed. But when the meds were given again at 11pm they couldn't wake Sabby up in the morning: the meds hadn't been changed and Sabby had a near-fatal reaction to them.
  • More news on the broken leg. The leg is now OK and out of plaster. Sabby said Joe was getting her into the car and he didn't put her leg onto the footrest and it rolled under the wheel.
  • She went to the hospital at UCLA but they would not set it because she didn't have the proper insurance for them. She later went to a local doctor and her leg had to be re-broken, pinned etc. Her leg is still bad and she doesn't walk any more.
  • Sabby has a great memory for trivia and would do well in a trivia game show.
  • Sabby is worried about the safety of her scrapbooks. I assured her she could send them to me for safekeeping and copying for her fans.
  • She has many photos of herself and husband Harold Ludwig Melsheimer in Hawaii on the beach. Melsheimer's parents were missionaries. A high-ranking church official held a luau for Sabby and Melsheimer and she met the king (?) of Hawaii.
  • Sabby still owns her mother's house in Blackpool that her dad bought because it was near his favourite pub and snooker room.
  • She has been considering living in Turkey (!) or the Caribbean. I suggested she move to Australia. Sabby was interested, and she has a friend in Sydney.
  • She found the photo of Ron in her scrapbook and suddenly remembered him.
  • Sabby lived in Dallas, Texas at one stage.
  • She lost many cards and letters from people who wrote to her [year unknown] so if you wrote to Sabby and never got a reply, please let us know .
  • Sabby is STILL really pissed off about June Wilkinson claiming to be bosom buddies. According to Sabby, June wasn't anywhere near the same league.
  • In 1957 Sabby appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Steve Allen show (click to see the sketch).
  • Prince Christian of Hanover , whom Sabby dated, was sadistic. His family would not allow him to be photographed with her, so Sabby organised for him to get drunk and man-handle her at the Coney Restaurant in London with the press present to take a surprise picture that appeared in the papers the next day.
  • Prince Philip , who confided that he and Charles had a crush on Sabby, had sired children with Helen Cordet , a Greek singer - a fact known to the 'celebrity inner circle'.
  • Ray Bolwell , her 'manager' in Australia was a bastard and a thief. He promoted himself as her manager but was not officially so. When she left Oz for the US, she had a Corvette car that was arranged to be sold by Ray. She never saw the money from the sale.
  • She met Ray at a swimming party at his house. He was "not all over me" and was "kind of different" which intrigued her. "Not all over me" was not meant to be taken in a physical sense.

Sabrina and Ray Bolwell

  • "I was not a slut," Sabby says.
  • Sabby's mother did not like Ray Bolwell from the start.
  • Sabby would get many calls requesting her to do appearances. She would tell Ray that she'd get so many pounds in England to do such events and he said he would act as her spokesman, which sort of became him acting as her manager.
  • Ray accompanied Sabby from Melbourne to Sydney because by that stage he was "in on the act."
  • Then they went to New Zealand. It was at this stage that Sabby discovered that Ray was including his girlfriend's rent in his deducted costs - and since he was meant to be Sabby's boyfriend it was a personal as well as a financial slap in the face.

See a memory from a reader about that NZ episode which suggests a compromising position was engineered by Harry M Miller. Or is this something else?

  • She and Ray went to Miami for her to work in a nightclub. Ray was charging everything to Sabby's room - including gifts for his new Miami girlfriend.
  • She told Ray to get out of Miami and leave her alone, but he told Sabby he was writing a book ominously entitled 'Inside Sabrina.'
  • Sabby consulted a lawyer and figured the supposed dirt he had on her could turn to mud if it were thrown. She agreed to pay his passage back to Australia as a settlement.
  • She found the slowest boat back to Australia: "it took six months for him to get back stopping at every port."
  • Michael Walker of Cumbria is her great and dearest childhood friend. She talks to him often.
  • She has no contact with any of the other remaining blonde bombshells like Mamie van Doren.
  • She has a good friend, once called Ruth Woldman (her first husband's name) and Sabby wishes Ruth would get in touch .
  • Sabby worked with Intercontinental Hotel in the 1960s and could "point to a place on the map and ask to go there".
  • She worked in Beirut in the 1960s.
  • She worked in Cairo , at the Hilton.
  • She worked a lot in South America .
  • She worked in every big South African city.
  • She arrived in Kenya without a hotel reservation. She trudged until 8pm to find a room when she stumbled upon a hotel (St Miramids ??). There were no vacancies, but as she loitered in a jewellery shop in the foyer, she saw a photo of herself being crowned Queen of the World Trades Fair in New York, 1964. She recognised the man in the photo as the owner of the shop and after she explained her accommodation difficulties he had a word with the management and she had a suite within 15 minutes - and kept it for four months.
  • She dated the Ali Khan (sp?), prince of India (title?)
  • She probably did appear in "Double Your Money" with Hughie Green.
  • The Pleasures of Paris show did not tour to South Africa.


- Sabrina hopes to get many more of her scrapbook contents to me so they can be distributed to her fans.

- Sabrina is hoping not to have any more car accidents, leg-breakings, allergic reactions, drownings etc for at least a week!

Page Created: 28 Jan 07

Last Changed: Tuesday 2022-04-12 10:57

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