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Marguerite Empey
Diane Webber
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Actress, Playmate, Teacher, A few of Diane's students
   
 

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Russ Meyer, film director and photographer, also submitted Diane's photo to Playboy, not realizing she had already been in the magazine.  She was chosen again, although Hefner decided he wanted the layout to be vertical and not horizontal.   Meyer was asked to re-shoot the layout even though Diane was six months pregnant at this time.  Her second appearance was in February, 1956.  It is an urban myth that Diane was the first to show pubic hair in this issue of Playboy.  That honor went to Paula Kelly in an August 1969 pictorial.

Coinciding with Diane's second centerfold was the birth of her son John.  Wishing to keep the birth natural, Diane found a midwife and a chiropractor to help in the delivery.  The birth took place in the doctor's office and Diane, Joe and baby John returned home to Malibu the same day.

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Diane continued to pursue her career taking lessons from noted acting teacher Jeff Corey with other aspiring actors of the time including Richard Chamberlain.  Needing a substitute teacher at one one point, Corey had one of his prior students take over, namely Leonard Nimoy (before his days as Spock on Star Trek).

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Joe Webber taught Diane to swim and she became a certified SCUBA diver.  This got her work as an underwater stunt person and eventually led to her starring role in "The Mermaids of Tiburon" written, produced and directed by John Lamb.  The film was released in 1962.  [8] 

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{8} MERMAIDS OF TIBURON POSTER (ORIGINAL ONE SHEET)

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PRESS KIT  PROMO AIMED AT THEATER OWNERS, NOT FOR PUBLIC ADS  (See press kit under actress, etc)

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Diane had had to give up ballet due to a previous knee injury.  She went to a Middle Eastern night club with friends, saw a belly dancer, and realized this was a danceform she could do.  At the time, unlike ballet, there were no formal classes to learn belly dancing.  Instead she approached Nadia Simone and asked her to be her teacher.  Nadia agreed and once Diane had learned the finer points of belly dancing, she began appearing at clubs under the stage name of Hedia (a name of Greek origin meaning pleasant).

In 1966, noted Middle Eastern musician and comedian Guy Chookoorian needed a third dancer for a show in Sante Fe, New Mexico.  Diane was recommended to him and she was hired.  Since many people in the audience recognized her as Marguerite Empey or Diane Webber, Guy urged her to simply use her own name.  From then on she was Diane Webber, belly dancer.

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[9] THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

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[9] THE FRESNO BEE  NOVEMBER 2, 1966

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Musicians Guy Chookoorian, Gil Serabian, Joe Dabney

Dancers Helena Vlahos and Diane Webber

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Diane continued to tour with Guy's  Middle Eastern show the rest of 1966 in places like The Cascades in Anaheim Ca., Pisano Club in Lawndale Ca., Keyboard Lounge in Gardena, Ca., The Arabian Nights in Fresno, Ca.,[9] and in early 1967 at the HiLife in Bakersfield, Ca.     Diane left the show after this engagement but continued dancing at The Fez in Hollywood, Ca. She also began dancing at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, Ca., appearing on the smaller of the two stages.

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In 1967, Diane and Joe were featured in a magazine titled  "Naked and Together, The Wonderful Webbers" .  It was written by June Lange and published by Elysium Press, a company run by June's husband Ed Lange.  It was around this time that the Webbers left the Naturist clubs because the original purpose of a healthy life style had been supplanted by more sexual overtones. [10]

[10]  NAKED AND TOGETHER  THE WONDERFUL WEBBERS  1967




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While appearing at the Renaissance Faire in 1967, Diane was approached by a representative of Everywoman's Village in Van Nuys Ca., a women-for-women teaching center founded in 1963.  She was asked to teach belly dancing and once again accepted the job offer.  The classes became very popular, topping 40 classes a week. In 1968, using her students, Diane formed "The Perfumes of Araby" dance troupe to perform at the Renaissance Faire.  Diane and her troupe of 40 dancers took over the main stage with Diane performing a solo as a finale, Diane choreographed numerous group dances such as the beledi and 9/8 .  The show consisted of these group dances intermingled with specialty solos like balancing a candelabra and dancing with a live snake.  The troupe danced there until 1972 when the Faire decided that only "Olde English" entertainment was to be allowed. [11]

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[11] LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Diane and the troupe then moved to "Jack Farley's Pumpkin Festival" held every October in Calabasa Ca. and later in Chatsworth Ca. and finally in Sylmar Ca. [12]

[12] LOS ANGELES TIMES  OCTOBER 11,1973

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Click photo to view short video Pumpkin Festival 1976

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"The Perfumes of Araby" also performed annually at Caltech in Pasadena Ca. the week before finals in order to relieve student tension. [13]

[13]  LOS ANGELES TIMES JUNE 2, 1973



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In 1975 Diane and Joe bought a Fuji ketch and docked it in Marina del Rey Ca.  The boat was built in Japan and in accordance with Japanese tradition, they had a boat blessing ceremony conducted by a Buddhist priest.  They moved from Malibu to the boat and lived on board, occasionally taking the boat to Catalina.

(photo of 1974 Fuji ketch similar to the Webber's)





Diane continued to teach at Everywoman's Village and dance with the troupe at the Pumpkin Festival and Caltech.  By 1977 Diane was fazing out her performances.  1977 was her last solo at Caltech, 1979 was her last solo at the Pumpkin Festival.  The Pumpkin Festival could not find a permanent home and thus 1979 was also its last year. Diane decided to disband "The Perfumes of Araby". Diane continued to teach at Everywoman's Village, illustrate the Star Trek stories she wrote with writing partner Carol Padgett and make belly dance costumes.

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CLICK PICTURE TO WATCH VIDEO

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In 1986 Joe Webber filed for divorce, the boat was sold and Diane moved to the Sunland-Tujunga area of Los Angeles.  She took a job at a Santa Monica law firm maintaining the law library to support herself.  She attended Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley taking animal husbandry after which she fulfilled her childhood dream of owning a horse.  She purchased the rights to a foal from a student of hers that also owned horses.  Thus she came to own Silver Shaman, an Arabian stallion.  Eventually she was offered the opportunity to purchase a Lipizzaner mare and purchased Sedonna, a prize winning show horse.

                                        SEDONNA


Diane taught belly dancing at Everywoman's Village until the 1990's, gave classes at The Parzart Center until the early 2000's, and gave private lessons.

Diane continued teaching, taking care of her horses and working at a law firm in Santa Monica until her untimely death at the age of 76 in 2008 from complications following surgery for colon cancer.



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Caper 1957



































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MARILYN MANZI TROUPE MEMBER IN THE 1970'S       R.I.P.        2009



MARYANN KRAKOW  TROUPE MEMBER IN THE 70'S   2011 R.I.P.