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Susan Denberg

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Susan Denberg
Magda Kovacs.jpg

...as Magda Kovacs

Birth name: Dietlinde Zechner
Gender: Female
Date of birth: 2 August 1944
Place of birth: Bad Polzin, Germany (now Polczyn Zdrój, Poland)
Character(s): Magda Kovacs

Susan Denberg is the stage name for Dietlinde Zechner (born 2 August 1944; age 72), a German-born Austrian chorus dancer and 1966 Playboy Playmate who made a brief brush with an acting career in the late 1960s. One of her few acting roles was that of Magda Kovacs in the Star Trek episode "Mudd's Women".

Denberg was born in Bad Polzin, Germany (now Polczyn Zdrój, Poland) and grew up in Klagenfurt, Austria. She worked as a chorus girl in London, England, and then in Las Vegas, Nevada, before moving to Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1960s.

In 1965, Denberg landed a co-starring role as a German girl on the ABC war drama series 12 O'Clock High. Her fellow TOS guest star Frank Overton was a regular on this series (Robert Lansing had been a regular, as well, but he left the series the previous year).

The following year, Denberg made her feature film debut with a supporting role in the drama An American Dream. Star Trek regular George Takei and TOS guest actors Richard Derr and Warren Stevens also had roles in this film, which was directed by Robert Gist. While working on this film, Warner Bros. held a contest to find Susan a new screen name, offering a $500 award to whoever came up with the best one, but all of the entries were ultimately rejected.

Denberg was featured Playmate of the Month for Playboy magazine's August 1966 issue. In her profile, Denberg stated that she had ambitions to become an actress. Denberg was later one of the finalists for the title of 1967's Playmate of the Year, though the title ultimately went to Lisa Baker.

Denberg's most famous acting role outside of Star Trek was in Hammer Film's cult 1967 science fiction/horror film Frankenstein Created Woman, opposite Peter Cushing. However, Denberg's voice in the film was dubbed as her Austrian accent was considered too strong.

After Frankenstein Created Woman, Denberg returned to Austria. Over the years, rumors surfaced that she had died of a drug overdose in 1967 or that she had become mentally unstable as a result of using the drug LSD. In actuality, Denberg is currently alive and well, and is living in Klagenfurt, Austria, under her real name, Dietlinde Zechner.

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