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Dorothy Malone
Dorothy Malone in 1963
Mary Dorothy Maloney

(1924-01-29)January 29, 1924
Died January 19, 2018(2018-01-19) (aged 93)
Alma mater Southern Methodist University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1943–1992
Jacques Bergerac
(m. 1959; div. 1964)

Robert Tomarkin
(m. 1969; annul. 1969)

Charles Huston Bell
(m. 1971; div. 1973)
Children 2
Relatives Robert B. Maloney (brother)

Dorothy Malone (born Mary Dorothy Maloney; January 29, 1924 – January 19, 2018) was an American actress. Her film career began in 1943, and in her early years, she played small roles, mainly in B-movies, with the exception of a supporting role in The Big Sleep (1946). After a decade, she changed her image, particularly after her role in Written on the Wind (1956), for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Her career reached its peak by the beginning of the 1960s, and she achieved later success with her television role as Constance MacKenzie on Peyton Place (1964–1968). Less active in her later years, Malone's last screen appearance was in Basic Instinct in 1992.

Malone died on January 19, 2018. She had been one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Early life

Malone was born Mary Dorothy Maloney on January 29, 1924in Chicago, one of five children born to Esther Emma "Eloise" Smith and her husband Robert Ignatius Maloney, an auditor for AT&T company. Her two sisters, Patsy and Joan, died from complications of polio. She also had two brothers, Robert and William.

When she was six months old, her family moved to Dallas, Texas. There she modeled for Neiman Marcus and attended Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Highland Park High School, Hockaday Junior College, and later, Southern Methodist University (SMU). She originally considered becoming a nurse. While performing in a play at SMU, she was spotted by a talent scout, Eddie Rubin, who had been looking to find and cast a male actor.

Malone recalled in 1981,

"I was minoring in drama because I always seemed to be in the plays produced in high school and college. ... I did some scenes with this boy the agent had found and pictures of the scenes were taken of the boy and also of me. A few weeks later, a 13-week [studio] contract arrived by mail with a six-year option."


RKO – as Dorothy Maloney

Malone was signed by RKO at age 18 as Dorothy Maloney. She made her film debut in Gildersleeve on Broadway (1943). She was credited as Dorothy Maloney in The Falcon and the Co-eds (1943), released shortly thereafter. She later recalled, "I was a bridesmaid at a wedding in one picture. In another film, I was the leader of an all-girl orchestra. The only thing I did at RKO of any note was lose my Texas accent." Her RKO appearances included Higher and Higher (1943) with Frank Sinatra, Seven Days Ashore (1944), Show Business (1944) with Eddie Cantor, Step Lively (1944) again with Sinatra, and Youth Runs Wild (1944) for producer Val Lewton. RKO elected not to renew her contract. She made a brief uncredited appearance in One Mysterious Night (1944), a Boston Blackie film for Columbia.

Warner Bros. – as Dorothy Malone

She then signed a contract with Warner Bros. The studio, she said in 1985, changed her surname "from Maloney to Malone. They placed my picture in the newspaper and they gave me a raise."

Malone's early Warner movies included Hollywood Canteen (1944), Too Young to Know (1945), and Frontier Days (1945). She first achieved notice when Howard Hawks cast her as the bespectacled bookstore clerk in The Big Sleep (1946) with Humphrey Bogart. Warner gave her bigger parts in Janie Gets Married (1945), Night and Day (1946), and To the Victor (1946), with Dennis Morgan. Her first lead was Two Guys from Texas (1948) with Morgan and Jack Carson; this film, in her words, established her onscreen persona as "the all-American girl watching the all-American boy do all sorts of things."

She appeared in One Sunday Afternoon (1948) with Dennis Morgan and Janis Paige for director Raoul Walsh; this was a remake of The Strawberry Blonde (1941), with Malone playing the part played by Olivia de Havilland in the original. She was billed third in Flaxy Martin (1949) with Virginia Mayo and Zachary Scott, then played a good girl in a Western with Joel McCrea, South of St Louis (1949). McCrea and she were re-teamed in Colorado Territory (1949), a remake of High Sierra (1941), also for Walsh, her last film before she left the studio.


Columbia used Malone to play Randolph Scott's leading lady in The Man from Nevada (1950). She stayed at that studio for Convicted (1950) and The Killer That Stalked New York (1950). She made Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone (1951) at MGM and played Tim Holt's love interest in RKO's Saddle Legion (1951) and John Ireland's love interest in The Bushwackers (1951). She began acting on television while continuing to appear in films, guest-starring on shows such as The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse ("Education of a Fullback", 1951), and Kraft Theatre ("The Golden Slate", 1951).

She relocated to New York City for several months to study acting until producer Hal B. Wallis called her back to appear in Scared Stiff (1953) starring the comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Malone appeared in a war film, Torpedo Alley (1952) for Allied Artists. She was a love interest in Westerns with Ronald Reagan (Law and Order, 1953) and Mark Stevens (Jack Slade, 1953). She was also in the thriller Loophole (1954), billed second. She did episodes of The Doctor ("The Runaways", 1953), Omnibus ("The Horn Blows at Midnight", 1953); Four Star Theatre ("Moorings", 1953; "A Study in Panic", 1954), Fireside Theatre ("Afraid to Live", 1954; "Our Son", 1954; "Mr Onion" 1955), Lux Video Theatre ("The Hunted", 1955), The Christophers ("The World Starts with Jimmy", 1955), and General Electric Theatre ("The Clown" with Henry Fonda, 1955).

Film roles included The Lone Gun (1954), a Western with George Montgomery; Pushover (1954), a thriller with Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak; and Private Hell 36 (1954) from director Don Siegel. Malone was reunited with Sinatra in Young at Heart (1954), as a co-star. She had a leading part in Battle Cry (1955), a box-office hit. She again co-starred with Ireland in The Fast and the Furious (1955), directed by Ireland but perhaps best remembered for being the first film produced by Roger Corman, who would later recount that Malone "had left her agent and, having no work, accepted a part for next to nothing." He cast her as the female lead in his directorial debut, Five Guns West (1955). At Warner Bros., Malone made a Western with Randolph Scott, Tall Man Riding (1955), then was cast as Liberace's love interest in the unsuccessful film Sincerely Yours (1955). More successful was the Paramount musical comedy Artists and Models (1955), a reunion with Martin and Lewis, where she played the love interest of Martin's character. She then returned to Westerns: At Gunpoint (1955), with MacMurray; Tension at Table Rock (1956), with Richard Egan; and Pillars of the Sky (1956) with Jeff Chandler.

Written on the Wind and stardom

Written on the wind8 (2)
Dorothy Malone in Written on the Wind, 1956

Malone transformed herself into a platinum blonde and shed her "good girl" image when she co-starred with Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, and Robert Stack in director Douglas Sirk's drama Written on the Wind (1956). Her role won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

As a result, she was offered more substantial roles in such films as Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), a biopic of Lon Chaney with James Cagney and Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) with Robert Taylor. Quantez (1957) was another "girl in a Western" part, supporting Fred MacMurray, but The Tarnished Angels (1957) reunited her successfully with Hudson, Sirk, Stack, and producer Albert Zugsmith. Malone was given the important role of Diana Barrymore in the biopic Too Much, Too Soon (1958), but the film was not a success. Malone appeared in Warlock (1959), but went back to guest starring on such television programs as Cimarron City ("A Respectable Girl", 1958) and Alcoa Theatre ("The Last Flight Out", 1960). Malone made a third film with Stack, The Last Voyage (1960), and a third with Hudson, The Last Sunset (1961).

However, she was working more and more in television: Route 66 ("Fly Away Home", 1961), Checkmate ("The Heat of Passion", 1961), Death Valley Days ("The Watch", 1961), The Dick Powell Theatre ("Open Season", 1961), Dr Kildare ("The Administrator", 1962), General Electric Theatre ("Little White Lie", 1961, "Somebody Please Help Me", 1962), The Untouchables with Stack ("The Floyd Gibbons Story", 1962), and The Greatest Show on Earth ("Where the Wire Ends", 1963). Malone was in the first Beach Party (1963) movie, doing most of her scenes with Robert Cummings. She made an uncredited cameo appearance in Fate Is the Hunter (1964).

Peyton Place

Dorothy Malone - Peyton Place
Dorothy Malone in Peyton Place

From 1964–1968, she played the lead role of Constance MacKenzie on the ABC primetime serial Peyton Place except for a brief stretch where she was absent due to surgery. Lola Albright filled in until her return. Malone agreed for $3,000 a week less than ABC's offer of $10,000 weekly, if she could be home nightly for 6 pm dinner with her two daughters and no shooting on weekends. "I never turned down a mother role", said Malone. "I like playing mothers. I started out as a very young girl in Hollywood doing Westerns, portraying a mother with a couple of kids."

In 1968, she was written out of the show after complaining that she was given little to do. Malone sued 20th Century Fox for $1.6 million for breach of contract; it was settled out of court. She later returned to the role in the TV movies Murder in Peyton Place (1977) and Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985).

Later career

After leaving Peyton Place, Malone went to Italy to make a thriller The Insatiables (1969). In Hollywood, she made a TV movie with Sammy Davis Jr., The Pigeon (1969), then returned to guest-starring on TV series such as The Bold Ones: The New Doctors ("Is This Operation Necessary?", 1972), Ironside ("Confessions: From a Lady of the Night", 1973), and Ellery Queen ("The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer" 1975).

Malone had a supporting part in Abduction (1975). She featured in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) and guest-starred on Police Woman ("The Trick Book", 1976) and The Streets of San Francisco ("Child of Anger", 1977). She was in the TV movie Murder in Peyton Place (1977) and had a supporting role in Golden Rendezvous (1977).

She was seen on television in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries ("The House on Possessed Hill" 1978), Flying High ("A Hairy Yak Plays Musical Chairs Eagerly" 1978), Vega$ ("Love, Laugh and Die" 1978), and the TV movie Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978).

Malone was in the Canadian soap opera High Hopes (1978) and had supporting parts in Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), Winter Kills (1979), and The Day Time Ended (1980), and the miniseries Condominium (1980).

In 1981, Malone made her stage debut in Butterflies Are Free in Winnipeg. She was suffering financial troubles at the time due to two expensive divorces and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

The producers of Dallas approached her to step into the role of Miss Ellie Ewing when Barbara Bel Geddes vacated the part in 1984 due to illness, but Malone declined. Her later appearances included The Littlest Hobo ("Guardian Angel" 1982), Matt Houston ("Shark Bait" 1983), The Being (1983), Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985), and Rest in Pieces (1987).

She played in Basic Instinct (1992). That was her last appearance on the screen.

Personal life

Malone was a Democrat and campaigned for Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election.

Malone, a Roman Catholic, wed actor Jacques Bergerac on June 28, 1959, at a Catholic church in Hong Kong, where she was on location for her 1960 film The Last Voyage. They had two daughters, Mimi (born 1960) and Diane (born 1962) and divorced on December 8, 1964.

Malone then married New York businessman and broker Robert Tomarkin on April 3, 1969, at the Silver Bells Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her second marriage was later annulled after Malone claimed that Tomarkin married her because of her money.

Malone married Dallas motel chain executive Charles Huston Bell on October 2, 1971, and they divorced after three years.

Around 1971, Malone moved her daughters from Southern California to suburban Dallas, Texas, where she had been raised.


Malone died of natural causes on January 19, 2018, 10 days before her 94th birthday, at a nursing facility in Dallas. She is entombed at Calvary Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Dallas.


Malone has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1718 Vine in the Motion Pictures section. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.


Year Title Role Notes
1943 Gildersleeve on Broadway Model Uncredited
1943 The Falcon and the Co-eds Dorothy Co-ed as Dorothy Maloney
1943 Higher and Higher Bridesmaid Uncredited
1944 Seven Days Ashore Betty – Pianist Uncredited
1944 Show Business Chorine Uncredited
1944 Step Lively Telephone operator Uncredited
1944 Youth Runs Wild Girl in Booth Uncredited
1944 One Mysterious Night Eileen Daley Uncredited
1944 Hollywood Canteen Junior Hostess Uncredited
1945 Too Young to Know Mary
1946 Janie Gets Married Sgt. Spud Lee
1946 Night and Day Nancy
1946 The Big Sleep Acme Book Shop Proprietress
1948 To the Victor Miriam
1948 Two Guys from Texas Joan Winston
1948 One Sunday Afternoon Amy Lind
1949 Flaxy Martin Nora Carson
1949 South of St. Louis Deborah Miller
1949 Colorado Territory Julie Ann Winslow
1950 The Nevadan Karen Galt
1950 Convicted Kay Knowland
1950 The Killer That Stalked New York Alice Lorie
1950 Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone Lola Gillway
1951 Saddle Legion Dr. Ann F. Rollins
1951 The Bushwackers Cathy Sharpe
1952 Torpedo Alley Lt. Susan Peabody
1953 Scared Stiff Rosie
1953 Law & Order Jeannie
1953 Jack Slade Virginia Maria Dale
1953 Omnibus Elizabeth Episode: "The Horn Blows at Midnight"
1953 Four Star Playhouse Marie Roberts Episode: "Moorings"
1954 Young at Heart Fran Tuttle
1954 Loophole Ruthie Donovan
1954 The Lone Gun Charlotte Downing
1954 Pushover Ann Stewart
1954 Private Hell 36 Francey Farnham
1954 Security Risk Donna Weeks
1954 Four Star Playhouse Ella Episode: "A Study in Panic"
1955 Battle Cry Mrs. Elaine Yarborough (USO Manager in San Diego)
1955 The Fast and the Furious Connie Adair
1955 Five Guns West Shalee
1955 Tall Man Riding Corinna Ordway
1955 Sincerely Yours Linda Curtis
1955 Artists and Models Abigail 'Abby' Parker
1955 At Gunpoint Martha Wright
1955 Fireside Theater Marion Carney Episode: Mr. Onion
1955 Lux Video Theatre Intermission Guest Episode: "The Hunted"
1955 G.E. True Theater Eva Balto Kelly Episode: "The Clown"
1956 Tension at Table Rock Lorna Miller
1956 Pillars of the Sky Calla Gaxton
1956 Written on the Wind Marylee Hadley Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1956 The Loretta Young Show May Hadley Episode: "A Ticket for May"
1957 Quantez Chaney
1957 Man of a Thousand Faces Cleva Creighton Chaney
1957 Tip on a Dead Jockey Phyllis Tredman
1957 The Tarnished Angels LaVerne Shumann
1958 Too Much, Too Soon Diana Barrymore
1958 Cimarron City Nora Arkins Episode: "A Respectable Girl"
1959 Warlock Lily Dollar
1960 The Last Voyage Laurie Henderson
1960 Alcoa Theatre Ann St. Martin Episode: "The Last Flight Out"
1961 The Last Sunset Belle Breckenridge
1961 Route 66 Christina Summers Episode: "Fly Away Home"
1961 Checkmate Lorna Shay Episode: "The Heat of Passion"
1961 The Dick Powell Show Elena Shay Episode: "Open Season"
1961 G.E. True Theater Ellen Rogers Episode: "A Little White Lye"
1962 Dr. Kildare Rena Ladovan Episode: "The Administrator"
1962 The Untouchables Kitty Edmonds Episode: "The Floyd Gibbons Story"
1962 G.E. True Theater Ruth Hammond Episode: "Somebody Please Help Me!"
1963 Beach Party Marianne
1964 The Greatest Show on Earth Jeannie Gilbert Episode: "Where the Wire Ends"
1964 Fate Is the Hunter Lisa Bond Uncredited
1964 Arrest and Trial Lois Janeway Episode: "Modus Operandi"
1964–1968 Peyton Place Constance MacKenzie
Constance MacKenzie Carson
342 episodes
Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative Actress (1965)
Photoplay Award for Most Popular Female Star (1965)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star – Female (1965–1966)
1967 Insight Edith Stein Episode: "The Edith Stein Story"
1969 Carnal Circuit Vanessa Brighton
1969 The Pigeon Elaine Hagen Television film
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Ruth McLayne Episode: "Is This Operation Necessary?"
1973 Ironside Agatha Mott Episode: "Confessions: From a Lady of the Night"
1975 The Man Who Would Not Die Paula Stafford
1975 Abduction Mrs. Prescott
1976 Ellery Queen Carol Franklin Episode: "The Adventure of the Electric Engineer"
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Irene Goodwin Episode: "Part VII: Chapters 10"
Episode: "Part VIII: Chapters 11 and 12"
1976 The Streets of San Francisco Julia Desmond Episode: "Child of Anger"
1977 Golden Rendezvous Mrs. Skinner
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Maggie Television film
1977 The November Plan Dawn Archer Television film
1977 Murder in Peyton Place Constance MacKenzie Television film
1978 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Mrs. Blain Episode: "The House on Possessed Hill"
1978 High Hopes Mrs. Herzog
1978 Vega$ Mrs. Gardner Episode: "Love, Laugh, and Die"
1978 Flying High Jane Episode: "A Hairy Yak Plays Musical Chairs Eagerly"
1978 Katie: Portrait of a Centrefold Myrtle Cutler Television film
1979 The Day Time Ended Ana Williams
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Mildred
1979 Winter Kills Emma Kegan
1979 The Greatest Heroes of the Bible Nagar Episode: "Sodom and Gomorrah"
1980 The Littlest Hobo Elena Episode: "Guardian Angle"
1980 Condominium Molly Denniver Television film
1982 Off Your Rocker Shelley Delaine
1983 The Being Marge Smith
1984 He's Not Your Son Dr. Sullivan Television film
1985 Peyton Place: The Next Generation Constance Carson
1987 Descanse en Piezas/Rest in Pieces (UK/Spain)
1992 Basic Instinct Hazel Dobkins

See also

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