As one of the most prominent faces of the Swinging Sixties, Samantha Juste gained her fame through the unlikeliest of tasks. On BBC Television’s Top of the Pops, she sat alongside DJs including David Jacobs, Alan Freeman and Pete Murray, and played 45 rpm singles to which leading pop stars of the day mimed. Earning £10 a show, she became known as the ‘disc girl’.
Tall, with long, blonde hair and the shortest of mini-skirts, she was also in demand as a model, appearing in the coffee-table book Birds of Britain with a number of other 1960s beauties, including Marianne Faithfull, Julie Christie and Jane Asher. In fact, she took modelling jobs to supplement her student grant.
At first on Top of the Pops, she handed out tickets to dancing members of the audience. But once she became the ‘disc girl’, she stayed with the job for three-and-a-half years. In 1966, she tried to change direction and become a singer herself. Her first single was No One Needs My Love Today, followed by That’s Nice and If Trees Could Talk. All three recordings flopped, and her new career rapidly evaporated.
In 1967, her ravishing good looks attracted the attention of Micky Dolenz, the drummer with the Monkees, the US group manufactured as a challenge to the Beatles. He appeared on Top of the Pops to promote the Monkees’ chart-topper, I’m a Believer.
Dolenz took Juste on shopping sprees in Carnaby Street, the hub of swinging London, and she quickly showed him other parts of England in a hired sports car. By the summer of 1967, she moved into his home, an old shooting lodge in the hills above Hollywood. They were married the following year, but divorced in 1975.
Juste then moved to Mexico, but returned to California to run an online jewellery business with her daughter, Ami Dolenz.
Samantha Juste, born Sandra Slater on May 31, 1944, died on February 5, aged 69.
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