Goodbye to ‘the girl in yellow dress’: Iconic 1960s model's death a reminder of the risks of stroke in women

Television presenter Samantha Juste with the new Philips T-Vette, the first truly portable all-transistor battery or mains-operated model with an 11-inch screen.

Samantha Juste

By Jan Tuckwood
She was the ideal groovy ’60s chick: A doe-eyed British model with shaggy bangs and long, long legs that made miniskirts look mini-er.
Samantha Juste partied with the Beatles, gained fame for spinning records as the “disc girl” on the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” and modeled with Pattie Boyd, who became the ultimate rocker wife, wed to both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
Samantha became a rocker wife, too, when she married Micky Dolenz of the Monkees in 1968. She soon faded into the celebrity background — unless you happened to be a gooey pre-teen girl in 1968.
If you were that girl, like me, Samantha was the epitome of everything you wanted to be — lovely and lucky and in love with a Monkee. We devoured her column on beauty and dating in 16 magazine every month, hoping to become as fabulous as Sam.
She so mesmerized Micky when he met her that he wrote a song, “Randy Scouse Git,” about that heady time in England: “The Beatles, Samantha, the parties, the chemicals …” he wrote in his biography.
In that song, Samantha is “the girl in yellow dress,” the girl who blew his mind:
It’s too easy humming songs
To a girl in yellow dress
It’s been a long time since the party
And the room is in a mess.
The love between Sam and Micky lasted, though the marriage did not. They had a daughter, Ami, who became an actress, then split in 1975, when Samantha got tired of Dolenz’s carousing. She said she wanted to leave the marriage before she became bitter about it, although they stayed friends, and she continued to honor that chapter in her life.
She stayed close with Davy Jones’ first wife, Linda, and his two eldest daughters, Talia and Sarah. When Davy died in 2012, Samantha held a private memorial at her home in California, attended by all three surviving Monkees and the extended family of Monkee wives and children.
This week, that extended family mourned once more.
Samantha Juste Dolenz died Feb. 5 of a stroke. She was 69.
One day after her death, the American Heart Association released new guidelines for women on the risk of stroke, the third-leading cause of death for women and fifth-leading cause for men.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. Nearly 800,000 Americans have one each year, and one in five women will have a stroke at some point in her life.
Some stroke risks are more common in women, including migraine with aura, an irregular heartbeat and metabolic syndrome – problems including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
When Samantha died, the Monkees fans who still adored her heard the news via Facebook, where we connect on fan pages, just as we once connected on the pages of 16 magazine.
These same Monkees fans now donate money for the care of Davy Jones’ 15 horses, through his daughters’ Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation. Samantha Dolenz was the financial sponsor for Davy’s horse Indiantown Jones, named after the Florida town where he kept his horses, and where he died of a heart attack on Feb. 29, 2012.
Davy once said he loved his fans because he “felt safe” with them. Now, they are providing motherly guidance to his daughters on Facebook, and to Micky’s four daughters, too.
Hundreds of fans left sympathy messages for Ami. Some made tribute videos.
We are now in our 50s and 60s, sharply aware of the passage of time and how quickly beauty and fame flee.
Perhaps that’s why we hang on tightly to the giddy and innocent passions of our youth, and to the sweet memories of “the girl in yellow dress.”
Preventing strokes in women
Just as heart attack symptoms may differ between men and women, so do stroke risks.
Now, the American Heart Association has issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women. They focus on birth control, pregnancy, depression and other risk factors that women face uniquely or more frequently than men do.
Nearly 800,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke each year.
The key to surviving a stroke and limiting disability is getting help fast, and recognizing symptoms such as trouble speaking, weakness or numbness in one arm, or drooping on one side of the face.
Stroke risk rises with age, and women tend to live longer than men. Women are more likely to be living alone when they have a stroke, to have poorer recovery, and to need institutional care after one.
Certain stroke risks are more common in women – migraine with aura, obesity, an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, and metabolic syndrome – a combo of problems including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
Birth control pills: Women should be checked for high blood pressure before starting on oral contraceptives because the combination raises stroke risks. The risk is small but rises steeply in women ages 45 to 49.
Pregnancy: Strokes are uncommon during pregnancy but the risk is still higher, especially during the last three months and soon after delivery. The big worry is preeclampsia, dangerously high blood pressure that can cause a seizure and other problems. It doubles the risk of stroke later in life and it quadruples the risk of high blood pressure after pregnancy.
Aspirin: It’s usually recommended for anyone who has already had a stroke unless the stroke was caused by bleeding rather than a clot, or if bleeding risk is a concern. Aspirin also is often recommended for people with diabetes to lower the risk of stroke and other problems.
Migraines: Women are four times more likely to have migraines than men, and they often coincide with hormone swings. Migraines alone don’t raise the risk of stroke, but ones with aura do. Using oral contraceptives and smoking raise this risk even more, so the guidelines urge stopping smoking.
Irregular heartbeat: Women over age 75 should be checked for atrial fibrillation. Doctors do this by taking a pulse or listening to the heartbeat.
Menopause: Hormone therapy should not be used to try to prevent strokes.