Dyanne Thorne was born on October 14 1943 in Greenwich, Connecticut and grew up in New Jersey. She studied acting in New York with famed acting teachers Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. A struggling New York actress in the early 60s, Thorne alternated bit parts in such TV series as "Naked City" and "Car 54, Where Are You?" with occasional appearances in Broadway musical comedies.
Then in 1964 she landed the role of a kinky swinger, under the pseudo name Lahna Monroe, in Joe Sarno's sexploitation film, "Sin in the Suburbs." In 1965, Dyanne landed the lead part (but claims she was never paid) as a murderess, in the thriller "Encounter", directed by award winner, Norman Chaipin. A young Robert DeNiro played her step-son in the film.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1966, Thorne made the rounds of TV guest shots with small roles in "The Wackiest Ship in the Army", "Felony Squad", "T.H.E. Cat" and "Star Trek". She also worked as a nude model in pin-up magazines.
While in LA, Thorne landed small roles in movies such as a cocktail waitress in the groovy satire "The President's Analyst." Other memorable roles included a faithless wife in the tawdry "Point of Terror," the bumbling Fairy Godmother in the bawdy "The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio," and an alluring witch in the steamy "Blood Sabbath".
Dyanne Thorne moved to Las Vegas in the early 1970’s where she worked in various productions as a showgirl. She also became a comedy actress and sketch comedienne and she starred in her own popular Vegas comedy revue called
"Sex over 40".
Then in 1974, Dyanne Thorne, at the age of forty-two, was cast for a role that would turn her into a cult film legend. Cinepix of Canada wanted a prison camp film and they hired two men to write “Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS”. Next, soft porn and exploitation film king Dave Friedman was hired to produce it and Don Edmonds was hired to direct (Edmonds was part of the production team that helped Quentin Tarantino get his early professional filmmaking career off and running). Friedman and Edmonds searched for the lead female character, Ilsa, and hired Dyanne Thorne.
“The script was trash, but the character seduced me. A chance to portray a real person who was an animal, and yet a charmer, with a history of heinous crimes – shocking, but after a week of contemplation, I said ‘Yes’.”
They did the film in nine days as the movie was shot on the leftover set from the television show "Hogan's Heroes".
In the movie, Ilsa was the Commandante of a Nazi Stalag (prisoner-of-war camp). The maliciousness of her character was very loosely based on that of Ilse Koch (wife of Karl Koch, the commandant of the Nazi concentration camps Buchenwald and Majdanek). Ilse Koch was one of the first prominent Nazis to be tried by the United States military.
The movie begins with a scene of the mature Ilsa having sex with a good looking man. Ilsa is on top and she is encouraging her “lover” to withhold from orgasm so she can achieve one herself. He fails and climaxes. Disappointed and frustrated, Ilsa retires to her shower where she masturbates. Next, we see Ilsa dressing for work. She puts on her Nazi SS uniform.
Her lover/boy-toy is dragged from Ilsa’s bed by her two blonde female guards, known as her “black widows”. He is taken to some sort of medical room and bound to a table. There he will meet the same fate as all of Ilsa’s male sex slaves. He will be castrated. The two blonde guards begin the procedure, and we see blood running into a drain that surrounds the table, but Ilsa herself will do the honors of actually removing his genitals, mocking the screaming prisoner, telling him how his privates will be preserved in a jar and given as a gift to one of her superior officers as further proof of the inferiority of both the prisoner’s race and gender.
In the movie, Ilsa conducts sadistic and gruesome scientific experiments designed to demonstrate that women are more capable of enduring pain than men are, and therefore should be allowed to fight in the army. She subjects the unfortunate female prisoners to sadistic and painful tortures so she can prove her theory that women would make better soldiers than men. Although the women prisoners are naked and while Ilsa and her black widow guards are attractive females, there is nothing sexual or erotic about these scenes. The medical experiments are not for the squeamish. We witness tortures by an electrified dildo, boiling women in hot water, acid being poured on bodies, biological tests where women are injected with diseases, operations with no anaesthesia and no sterilization, both public and private hangings, and various other forms of debauchery.
The finished product of “Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS” turned out to be so disturbing that producer David F. Friedman, known for producing such soft porn fare as “The Big Snatch” (1968) and “The Erotic Adventures of Zorro” (1972), actually pulled his name off the film using the pseudonym Herman Traeger instead. Dyanne Thorne claimed she was ostracized by friends after the movie came out.
“I got a lot of flack from that. You have to realize I came out of a very serious acting group. Part of that philosophy is not only to be the best you can be, but help support & promote properties and projects that are going to make the world a better place. Respectable colleagues thought I had totally sold out by taking some of the projects that I’d taken. The truth is I hadn’t been offered the other kind.”
And yet, the movie was quite successful. In 1975, “Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS” actually made it into the top 50 grossing movies of the year, thanks to 42nd street and a plethora of drive-in movie theaters that specialized in low-budget films. “Sexploitation” and “Gore” films found a niche in the drive-in theater market of the 1970’s. Ilsa even spawned two sequels, “Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks” (1976) and “Ilsa: the Tigress of Siberia” (1977) as well as leading Jess Franco to re-title his movie “Greta, the Mad Butcher” (1977) to “Ilsa: the Wicked Warden” in order to cash in on Ilsa’s popularity. Ilsa radically changed Dyanne Thorne’s life, first negatively but then positively, as Dyanne Thorne became a favorite at many cult-film conventions.
“Take a look at the 1970’s when I did it. What we all created together was a shocker. Good, bad or whatever, decent actresses weren’t doing roles like that. Joan Crawford had been as mean as they came, yet fans thought I was first of the kind to be even meaner than that. God Bless my fans. Without my supporters, my forfeited film career would have been in vain.”
Why did the character Ilsa become so popular? Dyanne was correct in that the movie was pure trash (Ms Kathleen gave it a meager one out of five stars in her review of the film for “Predominant”). Yet we suspect the submissive nature of man could not resist watching a dominant, powerful and sadistic woman in action. In the film, Ilsa is portrayed as a buxom woman with a voracious sexual appetite for men. Every night she chooses another one of her male prisoners and rapes him. There is a scene where two male prisoners discuss why Ilsa castrates her male lovers. Mario (Tony Mumolo), who has been castrated by Ilsa, replies "Perhaps it is her way of punishing a man who makes her feel like a woman, yet fails to satisfy
her cravings for more."
Later in the movie, we see another scene that could be classified as FemDom. Ilsa’s commanding officer, a Nazi General who is also a sadist, a butcher and a murder, pays Ilsa a visit to evaluate her controversial medical experiments. After witnessing her gruesome and atrocious methods, the two find themselves alone. The General is obviously attracted to the blonde female Commandant, and she has already accepted the fact that she will have to sleep with the General in order to secure his favor. As she begins to undress, the General requests that she only undresses from the waist down, leaving on her white shirt, black tie and her Nazi SS uniform jacket. Once Ilsa is naked from the waist down, the General begs her to put her boots back on. The General obviously has a boot fetish and/or an SS uniform fetish.
The General lies on his back in a submissive position and proclaims to Ilsa that she is superior to him. The General calls Ilsa “a blonde Goddess”. The General grovels before Ilsa and begs her to urinate on him. Ilsa reluctantly obliges (we hear the sound of her urinating on the General as the camera shows a close-up of Ilsa’s face).
Despite the fact that Ilsa was killed at the end of the film, she was resurrected for the sequel, “Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks”, in 1976. She played the vicious harem keeper for a depraved sheik. Ilsa and her lethal lesbian guards run the most sadistic slavery ring in the Middle East.
This was followed in 1977 by “Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia” with Ilsa as the sadistic and over-sexed leader of a Russian gulag. “Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia” was actually the more FemDom of all her Ilsa films in that she dominated and tortured men, whereas in her other Ilsa films she primarily dominated and tortured women.
In “Tigress of Siberia” Ilsa is the commandant of Gulag 14 in the waning days of Stalin's USSR in 1953. Her mission is to "retrain the minds" of those who don't agree with the communists. But prisoner, Yakurin, is more difficult than the others. Ilsa is not one to give up, though. "We will break you", she promises. However, when Stalin dies, the camp closes down, Ilsa and the guards kill the prisoners and leave. But Yakurin survives. In 1977, Yakurin is the coach of the Soviet boxing team, and on a visit in Montreal, he lets the boxers visit a brothel. The owner of the brothel is Ilsa and her colleagues from the Gulag camp. Ilsa sees Yakurin and wants a second chance to finish "breaking" him, and Yakurin wants to get revenge.
Dyanne was being considered for a possible role as a villain in a James Bond movie when Jess Franco re-titled and released the film “Ilsa, the Wicked Warden”. The film takes place in a corrupt Latin American ‘banana republic’. Here, Ilsa is the bisexual warden of a women's prison. After the film was released, Dyanne Thorne acted very sparingly as she was branded a Hollywood outlaw when it came to mainstream films. Nevertheless, in Vegas she continued as a comedienne in popular shows at several major hotels, including working as a foil for Tim Conway’s show at Caesar's Palace.
In 1985 Dyanne Thorne returned to film by landing a small role in the 1985 horror film, “Hell Hole”. Then in 1987, she played James Belushi's aggressively flirtatious transsexual father in the amusing deadpan movie "Real Men”.
As her show business career began to fade, Dyanne Thorne went back to college. She originally wanted to combine Anthropology with Journalism, but her strong spirituality drove her in a different direction. It took her ten years but she earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Religions. Dianne now performs elaborate weddings in Las Vegas as an ordained minister and a celebrant/officiate.