- Betty Sturm died of Alzheimer’s disease at her home in New Jersey on Sunday
- Sturm’s son William Winckler announced her death on Monday
- Winckler said he was completely heartbroken at his mother’s death
Betty Sturm, an actress who starred in Frank Zappa’s film The World’s Greatest Sinner, has passed away. She was 89.
Her son William Winckler confirmed the news of her death to Fox News Digital and The Hollywood Reporter on Monday. He said Sturm died of Alzheimer’s disease Sunday at her home in Clinton, New Jersey.
“She died last night in the comfort of her home in New Jersey, surrounded by her family,” Winckler said.
Winckler also released a statement about his mother’s death via social media.
“Absolutely heartbroken that my wonderful mother, Elizabeth Winckler… aka… Betty Sturm, actress in Timothy Carey’s cult classic 1962 film, ‘The World’s Greatest Sinner,’ has passed away at the age of 89. God bless you Mom! I love you always!” he tweeted.
Sturm appeared in 1962’s The World’s Greatest Sinner, which starred, wrote, directed, and produced Timothy Carey.
She played a lover/follower of Clarence Hilliard (Carey), an insurance salesman who transforms into the dictatorial god Hilliard. The film was rarely screened in theaters and is perhaps best known for featuring a Zappa-led soundtrack.
In the 2012 making-of documentary Making Sinner, Sturm Carey’s son Romeo told Carey that due to a financial dispute with the producer and the years-long shooting schedule of The World’s Greatest Sinner, she didn’t return for one final scene, so an extra stepped in for her to play the saxophone for a musical number.
She still appeared in several dramatic scenes in the final cut of the film and was credited in the final titles. However, according to IMDb, her role should be more important.
She later took Carey to the labor commissioner and received financial compensation for her acting job.
Sturm was born in Spain and grew up in Germany. She came to Los Angeles in the late 1950s and lived in the dorm at the Hollywood Studio Club, founded by Mary Pickford years earlier, according to THR.
In addition to The World’s Greatest Sinner, she also appeared in another independent film. She married former child actor and entertainment attorney Robert Winckler before giving up acting for good.
In the 1970s, Sturm sold custom wigs and hairpieces for park characters at Disneyland and for actors appearing in Disney films. She worked with Joy Zapata at Disneyland and Bob Schiffer at Walt Disney Productions in Burbank, her son said.
Sturm also ran the Elizabeth Sturm Talent Agency in the 1990s.
Sturm previously said she went on a double date with Elvis Presley to see the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho at a drive-in theater. However, they reportedly left during the infamous shower murder scene because Presley “couldn’t take the sight of blood on screen.”
She remembered Presley as “a wonderful, perfect gentleman.”
Sturm is survived by her son William, the producer, director and writer, daughter Patricia, son-in-law Jim, and grandchildren Michelle and Robert.