Susan Cabot .com


Actress Susan Cabot was born Harriet Shapiro on July 9, 1927 in Boston, Massachusetts. After growing up shuffled between eight foster homes, and attending school in Manhattan, New York, she married at age 17, perhaps to escape her transient situation.

Cabot soon developed an interest in acting and singing, performing evenings at Manhattan’s Village Barn. A film career seemed further destined for her when quite by chance the lovely nightclub singer appeared in the 1947 20th Century Fox film ‘Kiss of Death’ with Colleen Gray and Victor Mature.

After the film she remained in New York for a while and did some television work. Soon the gorgeous stardom-seeking brunette moved to Hollywood. She was cast in Columbia’s ‘On The Isle of Samoa’ before coming under exclusive contract with Universal Pictures.

At the studio she was cast primarily in westerns along with periodic “harem adventures” – some of her titles from this period include ‘The Duel at Silver Creek’ (with Audie Murphy and Faith Domergue), ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Son of Ali Baba’, ‘Flame of Araby’, ‘Tomahawk’, and ‘Ride Clear of Diablo’.

Dissatisfied with the direction her career was going (or rather not going) she headed back to New York for theater work. Her stage career proved less than illustrious and in 1957 she made a decision that would insure her screen immortality - she signed an exclusive contract with producer Roger Corman (whom she briefly dated as well).

First up she was the villainous Enger in ‘The Viking Women and The Sea Serpent’ with Abby Dalton and Gary Conway. She filmed beautifully. In that 1957 feature she is mauled to death by dogs. The same year she played Natalie Cook in ‘Carnival Rock’ and also starred in one of her most deliciously twisted roles – ‘Sorority Girl’ – both costarred Dick Miller. In the latter Cabot played a rejected sorority pledge that seeks revenge on her “sisters”.

As the lovely psychotic she was determined to ruin their reputations and lives! The film costarred June Kenny, Barbara Crane, Barboura Morris and Fay Baker. It was a deliciously wicked showcase for her talents. Another notable film from this period in her career is ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ (1958) with a young Charles Bronson.

However, Susan Cabot’s most famous role was also her final film. In 1960 she played cosmetics company president Janice Starlin in ‘The Wasp Woman’. The $50,000 film has since become a cult classic.

In order to save her company and reverse the aging process and 40-year-old Starlin injects an experimental drug made of wasp enzymes to turn her into a 22-year-old, but this experimental drug has some wicked side effects.

Eventually the vain and powerful businesswoman becomes a ruthless buzzness-woman - periodically taking the form of a giant wasp and attacking, “stinging”, and devouring her enemies with aplomb. In the end, the giant insect/woman gets hers and is doused in carbolic acid and falls out a window to her death.

The film costarred Barboura Morris, Anthony Eisley, and Bruno VeSota. (It was popular enough to be remade in 1995 with Jennifer Rubin in the title role.) After that waspy adventure, Cabot decided to return to her singing and stage career, which proved rather lackadaisical.

She was twice married and twice divorced and even had a well publicized relationship with King Hussein of Jordan. In 1964 the 5’ 2” Cabot gave birth to a child with dwarfism, whom she named Timothy. Looks like the Cabot family just kept getting shorter and shorter!

On December 10, 1986 Cabot, 59, was found dead. Police detectives determined that her head had been struck repeatedly with a dumbbell weight bar while she was asleep. When police had first entered the Encino residence, they found it to be in a state of squalor. Cabot was discovered in her bedroom, lying on her stomach in bed and wearing a violet v-neck nightgown. Examiners declared her skull to have been completely crushed. (The detectives also noted the unusual fact that the room had mirrored walls, as well as a mirrored ceiling.)

Initially Cabot's son claimed that an intruder had broken in, dressed much like a martial arts warrior, such as a ninja. This account appeared even more dubious when he added that this attacker of his mother looked to be not Asian but Latino. Police were of course skeptical about that tale for several reasons, other than just the "Latino ninja" angle. This was because at the time of Cabot's demise there were also four of the family's Akita attack dogs in the house, which would certainly deter any type of intruder, no matter how skilled in the martial arts.

A short time later, Cabot's son changed his story and confessed to police the he had himself committed the murder, citing years of "mental and physical abuse." He revealed his weight bar as being the murder weapon, which he’d hidden in a box of laundry detergent. According to neighbors, Cabot and her son seemed to be inseparable and always on very good terms.

However, Cabot's son said he resented his mother for being overprotective, in addition to other reasons. one of those would have been that he claimed she had been taking the experimental growth hormone prescribed for him due to his dwarfism. He said that the drug had greatly affected her mental state in a negative way, and that her unfair treatment of him had been going on for the last 15 years. Following a controversial trial, Cabot's son received a three year suspended sentence and was placed on probation.

That's right, although no one else in town backed up his story, he did a lot of mudslinging against a woman who was dead and therefore unable to defend her reputation, and the authorities went right along with him and issued him only a legal slap on the wrist. That's far less than Cabot got - which was a metal bar smacked several times against her head!

The crazy dwarf demon seed of Cabot thankfully died in 2003. Cabot was interred at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, in the Sunland Gardens section, Wall Crypt C, space #242. Now the question is... will the Wasp Woman rise again for her unholy revenge?

No doubt Cabot would appreciate her fans still remembering her, so drop on by for a visit with her... if you dare!

Cabot's Coolest:

Bracken's World (TV series) (1970)
The Wasp Woman (1959)
Surrender - Hell! (1959)
Have Gun - Will Travel (TV series) (1958)
Houseboat (1958)
Machine-Gun Kelly (1958)
War of the Satellites (1958)
The Saga of the Viking Women (1957)
Sorority Girl (1957)
Carnival Rock (1957)
Gunsmoke (1953)
Tomahawk (1951)
The Enforcer (1951)
Kiss of Death (1947)

Some video buzz on the Wasp Woman!
Susan Cabot On The Internet Movie Data Base

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