Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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Sabrina isn't so 'dumb' when it comes to money

Evening Times

20 October 1955



by Richard Young

Sabrina 1955 - not so dumb with money

SOFT curves and hard heads go. together these days when young girls reach the top in show business. When to- day's stars reach the big money they don't squander it on high living.

A comfortable flat, a few luxuries, then the bulk of their astronomical salaries and fees go into business or investments. There have never been such a canny lot of girls behind the microphone or the footlights.

One undoubted fact is that today's young generation are a serious bunch of young people. Reared in wartime and years of austerity, most of them are apprehensive of the future. Like their elders, they do not expect the present boom to last for ever, and most tend to save for a rainy day. Wider education facilities, too, have helped develop this more serious outlook on life.

Not a word

Let's take a close look, and a very agreeable one, too, at the supposedly dumbest of them all: Sabrina - television's "girl with a treasure chest."

It may be hard to see Sabrina, the shapely ash-blonde displaying 39½ interesting and well-placed inches, as a tycoon of industry, but she is — and a shrewd and flourishing tycoon into the bargain.

Less than a year ago she was plain Norma Sykes, of Blackpool, an 18-year-old who had recovered from a severe attack of rheumatic fever and started a career in London as a photographic model.

Then her ample charms (vital statistics: 39½ inches, 24 inches, 36 inches) were displayed on the front cover of a national magazine. The cover photograph made an immediate impression on comedian Arthur Askey, who was looking for a beautiful girl to act the part of a non-speaking "stooge" in a new TV series.

Without professional experience, without singing a line, uttering a word of dialogue, or lifting her shapely feet in a dance, she became a sensation, launched on the path to quick and easy riches.

Mother and Dad sold up house in Blackpool and moved down to London to be with the girl who had left home at 16 against their advice. Sabrina went from strength to strength.

A film company wrote a special part for her into the film "Stock Car." Then she decided to persuade us she had a voice as well as her more obvious natural endowments. She went on a musical tour.

The critics were less than flattering about her vocal chords [sic], but the music-hall audiences gave her a rapturous reception everywhere.

So the story goes on. Sabrina, still just 19, looks ahead to a lush future. Theatrical, television, and personal appearance offers, roll in with the fan mail.

The blonde sensation is capitalising on it all but her main interest nowadays is in Wolverhampton, where she has a controlling interest in a firm making costume jewellery.

One hundred people are engaged in this factory, she claims proudly, producing "reproductions of American costume jewellery within the reach of the average working girl."

Second string

Sabrina is shrewdly sinking a large part of her earnings in this investment. Her factory interest will keep the proverbial wolf from the door in years to come even if she cannot keep more material wolves away.

And as a second string she is seriously studying singing. She is tired of being "Exhibit A." She said recently—"I hope to finish with this body display when my present theatre tour ends. I don't like it — never have. I'm working on an entirely new act."

Sabrina would like to go on being a popular entertainer — either as a singer or film star – but she is keeping both feet firmly on the financial ground.


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