Don Edmonds dies at 73

Actor, cult film director most known for 'Ilsa'

Actor and cult film director Don Edmonds, who helmed “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS,” died May 30 in North Hollywood, Calif. of liver cancer. He was 73.

Born in Kansas, Edmonds moved with his family to Southern Calif. at a young age, and served in the U.S. Army. He started his career acting onstage before finding roles on TV series such as “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction,” “The Munsters.” and “Gidget.”

He also co-starred as the goofy sidekick in “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” and “Beach Ball.”

Edmunds turned to directing in the early 1970s with soft-core pics “Wild Honey” and “Tender Loving Care.”

His most well-known films, “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” and sequel “Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks” were the most prominent of the kitschy “Naziploitation” genre of B-movies.

He went on to direct “Bare Knuckles,” “Terror on Tour,” “Tomcat Angels” and the pilot episode of the TV series “Silk Stalkings.”

As VP of Production at indie producer/distrib Producers Sales Organization, he oversaw production on “Short Circuit,” “8 Million Ways To Die” and “Clan of The Cave Bear” and served as producer on “True Romance.”

After his retirement, he made numerous appearances at cult film conventions and occasionally returned to acting in films such as his last credit, “Killer Drag Queens on Dope.”

A memorial service will be held June 20 at 1:30 p.m. at the North Hollywood Group Clubhouse, 13323 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks.

— Pat Saperstein

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