Who was Dorothy Malone?
Dorothy Malone, born as Dorothy Eloise Maloney, was an American actress best known for her role in the film ‘Written on the Wind.’ Starting her career in 1943, she played minor roles in her early years, particularly in B-movies. She initially got signed by RKO and made appearances in the movies ‘Higher and Higher’, ‘Seven Days Ashore’, ‘Show Business’, ‘Step Lively’ and ‘Youth Runs Wild’. She changed her surname from Maloney to Malone after getting signed by Warner Bros. She then went on to act in the films ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘Janie Gets Married’, ‘Night and Day’ and ‘To the Victor’. After a decade in films, Malone acquired a more glamorous image, especially after her performance in the drama ‘Written on the Wind’ for which she won an Academy Award. The actress’ film career reached greater heights by the early 1960s, and she even managed to achieve fame as a TV actress with her role as Constance MacKenzie in the series ‘Peyton Place’. The American beauty was also known for making guest appearances in several TV programs. She guest-starred in a number of television shows, such as ‘The Bold Ones: The New Doctors’, ‘Ironside’, ‘Ellery Queen’, 'Four Star Playhouse', 'Fireside Theater', 'The Loretta Young Show', 'The Untouchables', 'Cimarron City', 'Dr. Kildare' and 'The Dick Powell Show', to name a few. Malone did numerous television movies in her acting career as well, the popular ones being 'Katie: Portrait of a Centrefold', 'Murder in Peyton Place', 'Peyton Place: The Next Generation' and 'The Pigeon'.
Childhood & Early Life
Dorothy Malone was born as Dorothy Eloise Maloney on January 30, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as one of the five kids of Esther Emma "Eloise" Smith and her husband Robert Ignatius Maloney Sr., an auditor who worked in the telephone company AT&T Corporation.
Her siblings were Patsy Jane, Joan Esther, Robert Bruce, and George William Maloney. Both her sisters died from polio related complications and one of her brothers was later killed by lightning while on a golf course.
In July 1925, she moved with her family to Dallas, Texas where she attended Hockaday School for Girls, Ursuline Convent, and Highland Park High School. Later, she studied at the Southern Methodist University with the ambition of becoming a nurse.
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At the age of 18, Dorothy Malone was signed by RKO under her actual name, Dorothy Maloney. In 1943, she made her film debut by appearing as a model in ‘Gildersleeve on Broadway’.
She then acted in the movies ‘The Falcon and the Co-eds’, ‘Higher and Higher’, ‘Step Lively’, ‘Show Business’, ‘Youth Runs Wild’, and ‘One Mysterious Night’.
She signed a deal with Warner Bros in 1944 and went on to act in the movies ‘Hollywood Canteen’, ‘Too Young to Know’ and ‘Frontier Days’. The actress first came into the limelight when she was cast in the 1946 film ‘The Big Sleep’. She then went on to get bigger roles in the movies ‘Janie Gets Married’, ‘Night and Day’ and ‘To the Victor’.
She played her first lead role in the 1948 movie ‘Two Guys from Texas’. After this, she appeared in the films ‘One Sunday Afternoon’, ‘Flaxy Martin’, ‘South of St. Louis’ and ‘Colorado Territory’ before leaving the studio in 1949.
In the year 1950, Malone was cast as Karen Galt in the flick ‘The Nevadan’. She then had roles in the films ‘Convicted’ and ‘The Killer That Stalked New York’. Soon after this, she played Lola Gillway and Dr. Ann F. Rollins in the movies ‘Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone’ and ‘Saddle Legion’ respectively.
The American beauty then began acting on television simultaneously and appeared in shows like ‘Omnibus’, 'Four Star Playhouse’, ‘The Doctor’, ‘The Revlon Mirror Theatre’, ‘Fireside Theatre’, ‘Lux Video Theatre’, ‘The Christophers’, ‘General Electric Theatre’ and ‘Appointment with Adventure’.
On the big screen, Malone starred in the 1955 films ‘The Fast and the Furious’, ‘Tall Man Riding’,’ Sincerely Yours’, ‘Artists and Models’ and ‘Westerns: At Gunpoint’.
She was then cast as Marylee Hadley in the drama film ‘Written on the Wind’ in 1956. After its success, she got more substantial roles in movies including ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’, ‘Tip on a Dead Jockey’, ‘Too Much, Too Soon’, ‘The Last Voyage’ and ‘The Last Sunset’.
The actress also worked on television during this period, appearing in the programs ‘Route 66 ‘, ‘Checkmate’, ‘Death Valley Days’, ‘The Dick Powell Theatre’, ‘The Untouchables’, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ and ‘Arrest and Trial’. In 1967, she appeared in an episode of ‘Insight’. Two years later, she did the TV movie ‘The Pigeon’.
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From 1972 to 1976, Malone made guest appearances on a number of TV dramas including ‘The Bold Ones: The New Doctors’, ‘Ironside’, ‘Ellery Queen’, ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ and ‘The Streets of San Francisco’.
She played the role of Mrs. Skinner in the action thriller flick ‘Golden Rendezvous’ in 1977. The same year, she appeared in the TV movies ‘Little Ladies of the Night’, ‘The November Plan’ and ‘Murder in Peyton Place’.
During 1978 and 1979, the American beauty had guest roles in the TV programs 'The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries', 'Vega$' and 'The Greatest Heroes of the Bible' as well as in the movies 'The Day Time Ended', 'Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff' and 'Winter Kills'.
She was cast as Molly Denniver in the TV miniseries ‘Condominium’ in 1980. That year, Malone also appeared in an episode of ‘The Littlest Hobo’. Despite her advancing age, she remained active on both the small screen and the big screen and appeared in many projects, including 'Peyton Place: The Next Generation', 'The Being' and 'Basic Instinct' in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In 1955, Dorothy Malone had a major role the movie ‘Battle Cry’ in which she played the role of a married lady who has a love affair with a young soldier during the Second World War. The movie was a big hit.
From 1964 to 1968, she played the role of Constance MacKenzie Carson in the drama series ‘Peyton Place’. With this role, she established herself as a successful TV actress as well. This performance won her numerous awards and accolades.
Awards & Achievements
Dorothy Malone won the ‘Academy Award’ for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in ‘Written on the Wind’ in 1956. For the same performance, she also earned the Golden Globe Award nomination under the category ‘Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture’.
In 1965, she received the ‘Golden Apple Award’ for the Most Cooperative Actress for ‘Peyton Place.’ Her performance in the same also fetched her ‘Photoplay Award’ for the Most Popular Female Star along with a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Dorothy Malone got married to actor Jacques Bergerac in 1959. The couple had two daughters, Mimi and Diane, before separating in 1964. The duo was engaged in a long legal custody battle which ended with Dorothy eventually winning the primary custody of the children.
The actress then went on to marry stockbroker Robert Tomarkin in 1969. Unfortunately, her marriage with Tomarkin lasted just a few months.
Her third marriage was with businessman Charles Huston Bell in 1971 which ended after two years.
She lived a long life and died on January 19, 2018, just a few days before her 94th birthday.
Malone was a former beauty contest winner before she entered Hollywood.
She accused her first husband Jacques Bergerac of marrying famous ladies only to promote his career.
She was also an active member of Hollywood Republican Committee.
She was mother-in-law of John Thompson and William Vanderstraaten.