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Who Is Dorothy Malone?

Her real name is Dorothy E. Maloney. She was born January 30, 1925, in Chicago, but she’s a true Texan in spirit, her family having moved to Dallas when she was three months old. She attended Ursuline Convent and Highland Park High School, where she won five scholar- ship offers. She modeled at Neiman-Marcus from kiddie right through campus clothes. When in a play aptly named “Starbound,” at Southern Methodist University, she was spotted by a movie talent scout, but it took her four months to make up her mind to accept. When she did, her parents laid down a list of rules: no cheesecake pictures, no lone dates with men, no visits to plush night spots. She kept the rules until they agreed that she was old enough to be released from them. She made her movie debut in “The Big Sleep” in 1946, and has made over thirty films. Most of them were the “girl next door” or “understanding wife” variety, until she bleached her natural brunette tresses to chestnut blonde to play the married woman who had an affair with soldier Tab Hunter in “Battle Cry.” It opened producers’ eyes to the fact that she is one of the sexiest actresses on the screen. She doesn’t think that she is sexy. But she has many male admirers who do. The list of men she has dated reads like a male Hollywood Who’s Who. Among them: Richard Egan, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Tab Hunter, Scott Brady. She has also dated lawyer Bentley Ryan, producer Roger Corman, oil man Rulon Nielsen. She admits that she was engaged for some time to a Texas doctor. She has recently acquired her second home, and is furnishing it herself. In it are two phones, for which nobody in Hollywood has the numbers. They are for exclusive use of her family and friends in Dallas. ‘She manages to spend as much time in Dallas as in Hollywood. Although she keeps turning down proposals, she says she wants to get married. She has a shrewd mind for money, has interests in a mink ranch in Montana and a millinery shop in Texas, has put her own funds into pictures that made profits. She dresses simply, seldom wears a hat and doesn’t care for fur coats. She has been described variously as witty, shy, explosive, calm. The fact that she wears dark glasses even at lunch in the commissary has led some people to call her affected. The lowest point of her life was the death of her brother Will, struck down by lightning on a golf course at the age of sixteen. The highest point of her life was the winning of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress this year for “Written on the Wind.” Months have passed since fifty million people saw her on TV that night—and they are still asking: “Who is Dorothy Malone?” For all her fame, she remains puzzling and contradictory. To solve this enigma, Photoplay questioned Dorothy. Here are her answers:

When did you begin to click in Hollywood?

When I changed hair color and did “Battle Cry.” Up to then I was only the sweet, girl next door type. I thought I’d get some strange fan mail reaction. But strangely enough I re- ceived only perfectly lovely letters.

But I certainly disappointed a date I had one night after I’d made that picture. I turned up in a little suit and looked just like a regular human being. He apparently thought I’d turn up in a black velvet slinky dress. He couldn’t figure it out. Apparently I wasn’t the type he hoped I’d be.

Did your family help you in your career?

I’ve always had the feeling that they’d rather I’d stayed at home. They were noncommital, which they have been on almost all important decisions in my life. Of course, it’s been the effect of them on my life which influences my decisions, whether they give an opinion or not. Many of my decisions are based on what I think they would think, maybe wrong or right, and on the things I learned when I was little. My brother, Will, who was killed by lightning a few years ago when he was only sixteen was the only member of the family who really was enthusiastic about my being in the movies. He’s the only one who really gave a positive reaction to what I was doing. Mother might say “I don’t know why you want to be in the movies.” He would say “Dorothy is okay.” That’s all he’d ever say, but I’m sure he was the only one who thought it was okay for me to be in the movies and away from home. My family wasn’t too happy about my playing the role I did in “Written on the Wind.” But after they saw it, they felt all right about the job I did.

Were you ever discouraged?

During the years since I first came to Hollywood, many times I was discouraged. Many times I didn’t get the part I wanted and sometimes it was hard to get any work at all.

When I was home, after my brother’s death, I started doing public relations work for the Girardian Life Insurance Company. They gave me the two Afghan dogs I have now—I call them my Girardian Angels.

I was home for a couple of years. Then a producer who remembered a part I had been in, called me back to Hollywood. This was Lindsay Parsons and the picture was “Jack Slade” with Mark Stevens. I’m very grateful to Mr. Parsons.

Eddie Rubbin, who first saw me in Dallas, is another person I’m grateful to. I would say that the other people I’m most grateful to and who I remember most are Sophie Rosenstein (now dead) who coached me when I was at U-I. Also Lewis Greene who was an agent at MCA— and mine—when I first came out. (He’s now employed in another business.) And Edna Benoit and Charley Windham of the Girardian Life Insurance Company. Mr. Windham gave me something to do while I wasn’t doing much out here in Hollywood. It kept up my morale. To Peggy Harrison at Highland Park High School in Dallas, I’m grateful. I did all my plays under her direction. Raoul Walsh and Douglas Sirk, who directed “Written on the Wind” and “Pylon,” were helpful beyond thanks. I attribute a lot of my ease to Douglas Sirk’s direction. I really enjoyed the part. He kind of let everyone in the picture have his own freedom of expression, at the same time keeping his directorial eye on them.

How did it feel getting the Academy Award?

It tickled me because it’s the people in the business that did the voting, the actors and extras. It’s thrilling and gratifying. I see it so much from their angle and they from mine, it makes it more special than if it’d been anything else. I’m not exactly new in this business and I like not being new. I know the people at the studios and I know the crews. It’s more like friends voting and not strangers. It’s not a cold thing. It’s warm. The people know what I’ve gone through and I know what they’ve gone through. I’ve seen them up and down. Seen them start out little then become big stars and big producers. I’ve made at least thirty pictures, and all of them in Hollywood. Maybe next year, it’ll be a friend of mine who wins.

I never thought of winning the award while I was making the picture. I take each picture as it comes, picture by picture. If someone says “What is your next picture?” I say I don’t want to know anything about my next picture while I’m on this one. I’m concentrating on what I’m on right now. Everything will be taken care of in its own time is my philosophy.

Were you nervous Academy Award night?

Yes, Academy Award night posed quite a problem, too. It was the third night of an auction I was attending. I had my eye on a certain lamp which was up to be auctioned Award night. When I told the auctioneer my problem the night before, he was kind enough to set a price on the lamp and let me buy it then and there.

You made some thirty pictures, Why do you think it took you so long to reach the top?

I don’t think of myself as having reached the top now. I would say, looking back, and this is just a philosophy of mine I guess—everything is in its time. All the delays and all the hardships go to make up your cycle, to make you ready when your time comes. An Award, for instance, may cause you to go to Paris and meet the man of your life. You go along and do your best and the rest follows. I’ve made a lot of mistakes that turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. And sometimes something that looks wonderful turns out badly. If my brother hadn’t won a golf trophy, he wouldn’t have been asked to play golf with a group of older men and wouldn’t have been struck by lightning that day. But it must have been his time.

You can’t always say whether something is good or bad at the time it happens. I always say “I hope I’m making the right mistake.” Sometimes it looks like everything you do is a mistake; it’s how it turns out.

I went back and forth to Texas a lot when I first came out because I didn’t have any family here. (Dorothy was criticized by the press in those early years for not staying around Hollywood to try to pursue her career more actively. Ed.) Perhaps if I’d concentrated on staying here it would have been better or maybe it wouldn’t have been. But I’m very glad I did go back so much because I spent all that time with my brothers while they were growing up. And I’m particularly glad I was able to be with my brother, Will, that much.

My brother Bob is studying law and is working now for the insurance company I once worked for. He wants to end up in tax law.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d love to write—love to write a play and picture. But so far haven’t gotten around. to either. I’m just lazy I guess. (Editor’s Note: This observation of Dorothy’s hardly seems warranted since she’s furnished two homes during the last couple of years, made several pictures and TV appearances; recently she worked days on “Tip on a Dead Jockey,” while completing “Pylon” at night, takes care of a couple of dogs, makes talks at church affairs, writes songs, both music an lyrics. She spends lunch hours and spare time frequently running to auctions to pick up pieces for the house. She seems to accomplish a great deal more than the average woman. For instance, while making “Tip on a Dead Jockey” she repainted the flowers in her new wallpaper, because when she got the whole wall covered with pink flowers it was too overpowering and the paper was so expensive. She’s now repainting each one with white paint.)

I’d be very happy married to the right man and to have children. I love farm life and would love to have a farm. About giving up my career if and when I marry, I used to be very vociferous and say Id give it up. But I’ve noticed that many girls said they’d give up their career and then later didn’t want to. Maybe I’d give up my career and never want to come back. But I wouldn’t want my husband to be depending on my giving up my career . . . because I just might want to go on with it. It wouldn’t be fair to him to have him depending on something I might later not want to do.

What are you looking for in a man?

I don’t have any set ideas. Would love him to like some of the same things I do, to have some of the same interests. I adore bright men with a sense of humor. I would like somebody who would be very casual about partying, someone to whom home-life would be as important as it is to me. I’’d love to have someone who is used to dealing with people. I would like a man who has traveled a lot and is ready to settle down on a farm. I wouldn’t want to feel that I was keeping him from doing something he wanted to do. I wouldn’t want the kind of man who’d suddenly decide to go to Paris the next day. I think there’s a right person for everybody.

Were you ever engaged?

I was engaged once—to a doctor in Dallas. We’re the best of friends now and I admire him tremendously. I guess it was a matter of timing. We weren’t ready. But I still think he’s a wonderful man. I’ve been rumored engaged to Scott Brady but that’s not true, but I still consider him one of my dearest friends.

Your name never hits the gossip columns, how come?

I don’t date a lot of people. And most of them aren’t in the limelight. I date a boy from Texas and one from Baltimore and a boy who has just moved out here from the East who is in electronics. I also see Roger Corman, who is a producer at Allied Artists. Once in a while I go to a party, but I prefer quiet evenings.

What do you do for fun?

I change with the situation. I used to go back home and go horseback riding and swimming, reading, and partying and bridge playing. Right now, I’m furnishing my second home and I’m doing a lot of shopping and painting. When I have time I play tennis (I have a court in the yard of my new home) and swim and go to the beach. I rented a beach house last summer when my brother Bob was out here with me. I love spectator sports. And I love to just stay home and not do much of anything. That’s it!




1 Comment
  • Bobino
    1 Aralık 2023

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