Representational image (funeral)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / carolynabooth)


  • Betty Sturm died Sunday of Alzheimer's disease at her home in New Jersey
  • Sturm's son William Winckler announced her death Monday
  • Winckler said he was completely heartbroken by his mom's passing

Betty Sturm, an actress who appeared in the Frank Zappa-scored film "The World's Greatest Sinner," has passed away. She was 89.

Her son, William Winckler, confirmed the news of her passing to Fox News Digital and The Hollywood Reporter Monday. He said Sturm died of Alzheimer's disease at her home in Clinton, New Jersey, Sunday.

"She passed on last night, in the comfort of her New Jersey home, surrounded by family," Winckler said.

Winckler also released a statement about his mother's death via social media.

"Completely heartbroken that my wonderful mother, Elizabeth Winckler . . . a.k.a. . . . Betty Sturm, actress from Timothy Carey's 1962 cult film classic, 'The World's Greatest Sinner,' has passed away at 89. God bless you, Mom! Love you always!" he tweeted.

Sturm appeared in 1962's "The World's Greatest Sinner," which Timothy Carey starred in, wrote, directed and produced.

She played a lover/follower of Clarence Hilliard (Carey), an insurance salesman who transforms himself into dictatorial God Hilliard. The film has rarely been seen in theaters and is perhaps best known for featuring a Zappa-led soundtrack.

In the 2012 making-of documentary "Making Sinner," Sturm told Carey's son Romeo Carey, that due to a financial dispute with the producer and the year-long shooting schedule of "The World's Greatest Sinner," she did not return for one last 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 movie and was credited in the end titles. However, her role was supposed to be more significant, according to IMDb.

She later took Carey to the labor commissioner and received financial compensation for her acting job.

Sturm was born in Spain and raised in Germany. She came to Los Angeles in the late 1950s and lived at the Hollywood Studio Club dormitory started years earlier by Mary Pickford, 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 she quit 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 that she went on a double date with Elvis Presley to watch the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film "Psycho" at a drive-in movie theater. However, they reportedly left during the infamous shower killing scene because Presley "couldn't stand the sight of onscreen blood."

She remembered Presley as "a wonderful, perfect gentleman."

Sturm is survived by her producer, director and novelist son William, daughter Patricia, son-in-law Jim and grandchildren Michelle and Robert.

As COVID surged in China, so did spending by funeral providers