Betty Sturm, actress of ‘The World’s Greatest Sinner,’ dies at 89

Betty Sturm, an actress who appeared in the Frank Zappa-scored film movie “The greatest sinner in the world”, is dead. She was 89 years old.

Her son, William Winckler, told Fox News Digital on Monday that the matriarch died of Alzheimer’s disease on Sunday.

“She passed away last night, in the comfort of her New Jersey home, surrounded by her family,” Winckler said.

Sturm played a lover/follower of Clarence Hilliard, an insurance salesman who turns into the dictatorial God Hilliard. Actor Timothy Carey, who starred as Hilliard, also wrote, directed and produced the 1962 cult classic. The film, which was rarely seen in theaters, is best known for its Zappa-directed soundtrack .

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Although she had little interest in acting, Betty Sturm found herself in show business.

Although she had little interest in acting, Betty Sturm found herself in show business.
(William Winckler)

In a 2012 making-of documentary entitled “Making Sinner”, Sturm was interviewed by Carey’s son, Romeo Carey. Sturm described that she loved the patriarch, but due to the extended year-long filming schedule, in addition to a financial dispute, she did not return to complete a final scene. A non-speaking extra stepped in to have her play saxophone for a musical number.

“The World’s Greatest Sinner” is recognized by many for its connection to Frank Zappa.
(Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

Sturm, who grew up in Spain and Germany, came to Hollywood in the late 1950s. She lived at the Hollywood Studio Club, a private dormitory for young actresses created by screen legend Mary Pickford. While there, Sturm befriended Jo Anne Worley of “Laugh-In”, as well as Pat Priest of “The Munsters” and Kim Novak.

According to Sturm, she continued a double date with Elvis Presley. The couples went to see Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film “Psycho” at a drive-in. She claimed they all left during the famous shower murder scene because the singer “couldn’t stand the sight of blood on screen”. She remembered the “king of rock ‘n’ roll” as “a wonderful, perfect gentleman”.

Betty Sturm described Elvis Presley as

Betty Sturm described Elvis Presley as “a wonderful, perfect gentleman”.
(Getty Pictures)

In 1962, Sturm said “yes” to former child star-turned-entertainment attorney Robert Winckler. He already acted in the comedies “Little Rascals/Our Gang” from 1936 to 1938.

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In the early 1970s, Sturm kept busy in show business selling custom wigs and hairpieces for park characters at Disneyland, as well as actors and actresses appearing in films at Disney Studios. She then supplied wigs to some of the animatronic pirates on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride and sold custom hairpieces to stars such as Dusty Springfield and Sally Field.

Then, in the 90s, Sturm embarked on a new career. She ran the Elizabeth Sturm Talent Agency, where she booked actors for various commercials, films and TV shows, including “Married with Children.” The agency operated for several years until Sturm’s retirement.

Betty Sturm has died of Alzheimer's disease, her son confirmed to Fox News Digital on Monday.

Betty Sturm has died of Alzheimer’s disease, her son confirmed to Fox News Digital on Monday.
(William Winckler)

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Sturm and Winckler were together until his death in 1989. She never remarried. Besides her son, producer, director and novelist, she is survived by her daughter Patricia Tousignant, her son-in-law Jim Tousignant and her grandchildren Michelle and Robert Tousignant.

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