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Dorothy Malone

29.01.1924 - 19.01.2018

Dorothy Malone


Sunday 21st January 2018 - Daily Telegraph (unaccredited)

Dorothy Malone, who has died aged 93, was an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress before becoming famous on television in the 1960s as the star of Peyton Place (ITV, 1965-70), based on Grace Metalious’s bestselling novel, the first prime time American soap and the first to be screened in Britain.

Dorothy Malone in 1950

Dorothy Malone in 1950 - image courtesy of rarepixvintage via Pinterest

Having received an Academy Award for her portrayal of a sexy nymphomaniac in Written on the Wind (1956), a tempestuous melodrama starring Robert Stack, Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall, she earned top billing in the equally steamy Peyton Place as Constance Mackenzie, the mother of an illegitimate daughter (Mia Farrow) living in dread of the humiliation that would fall on her if anyone discovered her guilty secret. The sultry Dorothy Malone soon established herself as queen bee in the torrid saga of (inexplicit) sex and interwoven love affairs set in a fictional small New England town – the one television show (as the US talk show host Johnny Carson observed) that should have come sealed in a plain brown envelope.

The cast of Peyton Place

Dorothy Malone (foreground in blue coat) and other stars of Peyton Place - Photo Credit:  Cent Fox TV/REX/Shutterstock via Daily Telegraph

Inspired by Granada’s Coronation Street, which had been mesmerising British audiences since 1960, Peyton Place was quickly imported by ITV which paid the American makers ABC a trifling £30,000 for the first batch of 104 episodes. “I was the first movie star to plunge into night-time soap opera,” Dorothy Malone recalled. Even so she took the part against the advice of pessimists who warned it would be a mistake. Television was then considered Hollywood’s poor relation, the hours would be horrendous and she would suffer from overexposure. But Dorothy Malone was so impressed with the first three Peyton Place scripts that she struck a deal with the ABC network that made her the highest-paid actress in television, settling for a pay packet of $7,000 a week (they had offered her an even fatter $10,000) provided there was no filming at weekends and she could be home by 6pm every night for dinner with her two daughters. When she was written out of the show in 1968 after complaining that she was not given enough to do, Dorothy Malone filed a $1.6 million lawsuit for breach of contract, which was eventually settled out of court. She later reprised her Constance Mackenzie role in the made-for-television films Murder in Peyton Place (1977) and Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985). No sooner had her film career gathered momentum than Dorothy Malone became weekly fodder for Hollywood’s gossip columnists. When one scribe reported that she was going to marry a doctor who had been her childhood sweetheart, her mother sent out the wedding invitations.

In 1952 she was briefly engaged to the actor Scott Brady, and after their relationship broke up she was romantically linked at various times to Frank Sinatra, whom she met on the set of Young At Heart (1954), the closeted gay actors Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson, the even more flamboyant pianist Liberace (even more implausibly), and the unsuccessful US presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. When Barbara Bel Geddes dropped out of Dallas, the 1980s super-soap in which she played Miss Ellie Ewing, the producers approached Dorothy Malone to step into the role but she turned it down. The daughter of an auditor, she was born Dorothy Eloise Maloney on January 29 1924 in Chicago. Her family moved to Dallas, Texas, where she worked as a child model and began acting in plays at the Hockaday and Highland Park High Schools.

She was planning to become a nurse, but when a Hollywood scout saw her in a student production at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he signed her up, starting with non-speaking parts at RKO. Her first credited role, still as Dorothy Maloney, was in The Falcon and the Co-eds (1943). After appearing in a clutch of B-movies, many of them Westerns, she moved to Warner Bros, changed her screen name to Dorothy Malone and took a small but memorable speaking part as the demure, bespectacled bookshop assistant in Howard Hawks’s The Big Sleep (1946) who closes the shop early to canoodle with Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart). So impressed was the studio that she was dispatched to London aboard the liner Queen Elizabeth as Warners’ emissary at the Royal Command Film Performance at the Empire, Leicester Square, where she was presented to the then Princess Elizabeth.

When Dorothy Malone’s contract with Warners ended, she continued to make B-movie Westerns such as The Man From Nevada (1950), Saddle Legion and The Bushwackers (both 1952); often, she and her stand-in would be the only women on the set. In the Western romance Law and Order (1953), she co-starred with Ronald Reagan, but regretted not auditioning for the director William Wyler when he was casting The Big Country (1958), blaming her innate shyness and inferiority complex. By then she had established herself as a Hollywood sex symbol as Tab Hunter’s frustrated wife in Raoul Walsh’s Battle Cry (1955). This led to her being cast as Dean Martin’s love interest in the musical comedy Artists and Models (also 1955). In the same year she was Liberace’s woman in Sincerely Yours (“He asked me out. I liked him a lot.”), and before 1955 was out had completed no fewer than seven feature films, as well as a couple of television dramas.

In 1956, transformed into a platinum blonde, Dorothy Malone’s role as a promiscuous, chain-smoking, hard-drinking oil baroness in Written on the Wind earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. As the Daily Telegraph’s critic noted, as bad girls go she was pretty good. While making The Tarnished Angels (1958), an adaptation of a William Faulkner novel that reunited her with Robert Stack and Rock Hudson, she bridled at the prospect of performing the stunts required in her role as a barnstorming stunt parachute jumper and spent hours suspended above the set on wires while the crew rehearsed and technicians fiddled with the lights. She blamed the ordeal for a near-fatal blood clot that landed her in hospital for three weeks in 1965. During the 1970s she languished in a string of forgettable films such as Abduction, about the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and The Man Who Could Not Die (both 1975). Although less visible in her later years, Dorothy Malone returned to the big screen in 1992 as a friend of Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct.

She often reflected on her time in Peyton Place, and confessed that she had identified closely with her character Constance Mackenzie. “People say the series was overdone,” Dorothy Malone mused, “but after all that has happened to me in my life it reflected a great deal of reality.”

Dorothy Malone was married and divorced three times, and her second marriage, lasting only a month in 1969, to a New York investment banker, Robert Tomarkin, was annulled. In 1971 she married a Dallas motel chain executive, Charles Bell. She had two daughters from her first marriage in 1959 to the French actor Jacques Bergerac, the former husband of Ginger Rogers. Dorothy Malone, born January 29 1924, died January 19 2018

Sunday, 21st January 2018 - The Guardian by Ronald Bergan

Hollywood star who won an Oscar for her role in Written on the Wind and appeared in the TV soap Peyton Place

Although the Hollywood star Dorothy Malone, who has died aged 92, appeared in only a handful of works of distinction in a fairly lengthy career, they were good enough to secure her place in film history. On those occasions when the role permitted, most notably in two flamboyant melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk, Written on the Wind (1956) and The Tarnished Angels (1957), Malone revealed what a talented performer she could be, one capable of projecting a potent blend of cynicism, sexuality and intelligence. However, she was probably most familiar to the general public as Constance MacKenzie in Peyton Place (1964-68), one of the first primetime TV soap operas.

In Written on the Wind, Malone played Marylee, an oil heiress, sister of an alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley (Robert Stack). She’s in love with Kyle’s best friend Mitch (Rock Hudson), but he’s in love with Kyle’s pregnant wife Lucy (Lauren Bacall). Jealous, Marylee convinces Kyle that Lucy’s baby really belongs to Mitch. Her wild erotic dance to a loud mambo beat, intercut with scenes of her father’s fatal heart attack, is one of the great sequences of 1950s Hollywood melodrama. “It was a miracle that I got her to do the scene,” Sirk recalled. “She was very prudish ... I even had to watch my language. If I said, ‘This scene needs more balls’, she’d walk off the set.” Malone, upstaging even Bacall, won the best supporting actress Oscar.

Sirk reunited Malone, Hudson and Stack for The Tarnished Angels, skilfully adapted from the William Faulkner novel Pylon. Stack played a daredevil pilot performing at air shows with Malone as his neglected parachutist wife. She is the film’s fulcrum – vulnerable, naïve and yet with a fierce sexuality – caught between her disillusioned husband and a run-down alcoholic journalist (Hudson). The latter reacts towards her with a mixture of lust and pity, bragging that he “sat up half the night discussing literature and life with a beautiful, half-naked blonde”.

She was born Dorothy Maloney in Chicago and brought up in Dallas, Texas, one of five children of Robert Maloney, an accountant, and his wife, Esther (nee Smith). She attended Ursuline Convent and Highland Park high school, both in Dallas. Following graduation, she studied at Southern Methodist University with the intention of becoming a nurse, but a role in a college play happened to catch the eye of an RKO talent scout and, aged 18, she was offered a Hollywood contract.

The studio gave her nothing more than bit parts in eight movies for a year, so she switched to Warner Bros. Among Malone’s first films at Warners was Howard Hawks’s classic film noir The Big Sleep (1946) in which, despite appearing in a single sequence lasting a little over three minutes, she made a huge impact. The scene, which Hawks considered cutting because it was not indispensable to the complicated plot, was saved, according to the director, “just because the girl was so damn pretty”.

It involved the private eye Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), on a case, popping into a bookshop run by Malone, to find out if she knows the suspicious owner of a rival bookshop across the road. She is bespectacled and wears her hair up – a Hollywood signifier of an intellectual – though she seems to be flirting with him. “You begin to interest me … vaguely,” she says. Marlowe starts to leave, but it is raining outside and when she says, “It’s coming down pretty hard out there,” something in her voice suggests she wants him to stay.

“You know, as it happens I have a bottle of pretty good rye in my pocket,” he says. “I’d a lot rather get wet in here.” She puts the closed sign on the door, lowers the shade, takes her glasses off and lets down her hair. “Looks like we’re closed for the rest of the afternoon,” she says. Audiences were left to make up their own minds about what happened next.

Unaccountably, what happened next in Malone’s career were parts that failed to exploit her subtle sensuality. She sang In the Still of the Night in the fanciful biopic of Cole Porter Night and Day (1946), and played “nice” girls in a string of film noirs and westerns, subverting her persona slightly in Raoul Walsh’s Colorado Territory (1949), the splendid western remake of his earlier gangster movie High Sierra. In it, Malone is the “good” girl who betrays her boyfriend, a wanted robber (Joel McCrea), in order to get the reward money.

Malone had a small but pivotal role as Kim Novak’s helpful neighbour in Richard Quine’s taut film noir Pushover (1954), before becoming a platinum blonde to play Doris Day’s sister in Young at Heart (1954), and the married woman with whom a soldier (Tab Hunter) has a fling while on leave in Walsh’s Battle Cry (1955). In contrast, Malone appeared to enjoy herself in one of her rare comedies, as a “lady cartoonist” in Frank Tashlin’s Artists and Models (1955), one of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’s better efforts.

Artists and Models 1955 film

Image sourced from and courtesy of

After Written on the Wind and The Tarnished Angels, Malone’s career was on a new track with offers of more meaty roles such as those in two biopics: Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), in which she was convincingly unsympathetic as the first wife of the silent screen star Lon Chaney (James Cagney); and Too Much Too Soon (1958), riveting as Diana Barrymore, ruined by drink, drugs and bad relationships, and by being the daughter of the actor John Barrymore (Errol Flynn).

She followed these pictures with two intriguing multilayered psychological westerns, Edward Dmytryk’s Warlock (1959), in which Malone was Lily Dollar, arriving in the eponymous town, accusing the marshal (Henry Fonda) of murder; and Robert Aldrich’s The Late Sunset (1961), as the old flame of an outlaw (Kirk Douglas), not telling him soon enough that he is the father of her pretty teenage daughter (Carol Lynley).

Meanwhile, she had married Jacques Bergerac, Ginger Rogers’s ex-husband, in 1959. The stormy marriage lasted less than five years, with Malone winning custody of their two daughters, Mimi and Diane, after a bitter battle. After the divorce, her dynamic presence was felt mostly on the small screen, especially displaying her Sirkian credentials as a domineering mother in Peyton Place. However, after four years of much bickering with producers, she was written out of the show. She sued for breach of contract and eventually settled out of court.

After that she worked steadily in television, guest-starring in dozens of series, with occasional forays into films. Her last film role was as Hazel Dobkins, the family-murdering friend of Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in Basic Instinct (1992).

Malone married and divorced twice more. She is survived by her daughters, Mimi and Diane, six grandchildren, and her brother, Robert.

Dorothy Malone (Dorothy Eloise Maloney), actor, born 30 January 1925; died 19 January 2018

Saturday, 20th January 2018 - The Sun by James Cox

MOVIE SIREN DEAD - Dorothy Malone – Oscar-winning actress who starred in Basic Instinct dead, aged 92

The screen legend was also famous for her Academy Award winning turn in Written on the Wind and TV's Peyton Place.

OSCAR winning actress Dorothy Malone has died, aged 92. The screen legend was famous for role in steamy thriller Basic Instinct, Written on the Wind and Peyton Place. She died of natural causes on Friday morning in an assisted living home in Dallas.

The actress was married and divorced three times - to actor Jacques Bergerac, Robert Tomarkin and Charles Huston Bell. Dorothy had two daughters, Mimi and Diane, with Jacques.

Born Dorothy Maloney, she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for Written on the Wind, starring alongside Lauren Bacall and Rock Hudson. She then moved to TV between 1964 and 1968, starring in Peyton Place - an American soap-opera inspired by the UK's success with Coronation Street.

Co-star Mia Farrow paid tribute by tweeting: "RIP Dorothy Malone, my beautiful TV mom for two amazing years."

Mia Farrow Dm tweet

Her final appearance was in 1992's erotic pot-boiler Basic Instinct alongside Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. Dorothy played Hazel Dobkins - a friend of Stone's character who had murdered her family. She also appeared in Raymond Chandler adaptation The Big Sleep.

On her screen success, Dorothy once said: "I came up with a conviction that most of the winners in this business became stars overnight by playing shady dames with sex appeal. "And I've been unfaithful or drunk or oversexed almost ever since— on the screen, of course."

Saturday, 20th January 2018 - Daily Mail on-line (unaccredited)

Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone passes away at age 93

Actress Dorothy Malone, who won the hearts of television viewers in the 1960s, has passed away at age 93. Dorothy is famously known for her role as Constance Carson on prime-time soap opera Peyton Place. Her daughter Mimi Vanderstraaten confirmed Malone's death on Friday, stating that the actress died from natural causes. Dorothy spent her last hours in her hometown of Dallas, just two weeks shy of her 94th birthday.

Her career started slowly but surely in movies. Her first notable role was as a seductive bookstore clerk in the classic noir The Big Sleep. She won the 1956 supporting actress Oscar portraying an alcoholic nymphomaniac who tries to steal a married Rock Hudson from Lauren Bacall in Written on the Wind.

Dorothy Malone receiving Oscar in 1956

Image sourced from Pinterest

Dorothy's beloved show Peyton Place aired from 1964 to 1969 on ABC. During the 60s, nighttime soaps were rare but the popular series won Malone new prominence and made stars of Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal. Dorothy was married to famous French actor Jacques Bergerac from 1959 to 1964. She divorced Bergerac after sharing two children, and went on to marry and divorce two more times with other men.  The Basic Instinct actress leaves behind two daughters. 

IMDB Biography here

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