Nationality: American. Born: Dorothy Eloise Maloney in Chicago, Illinois, 30 January 1925. Education: Student at Ursuline Convent; Highland Park High School, Hockaday Junior College, and Southern Methodist University, all in Dallas; studied dancing and diction in Hollywood. Family: Married 1) the actor Jacques Bergerac, 1959 (divorced 1964), two daughters; 2) Robert Tomarkin, 1969 (marriage annulled 1969); 3) Charles H. Bell, 1971. Career: 1943—contract with RKO, and film debut in The Falcon and the Co-Eds ; 1964–68—played Constance in TV series Peyton Place ; 1976—in TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man . Awards: Best Supporting Actress, Academy Award for Written on the Wind , 1956. Agent: Ann Waugh Talent Agency, 4731 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Suite 5, North Hollywood, CA 91607, U.S.A.
The Falcon and the Co-Eds (Clemens)
One Mysterious Night (Boetticher); Show Business (Marin)
Too Young to Know (de Cordova); Hollywood Canteen (Daves)
Janie Gets Married (Sherman); The Big Sleep (Hawks) (as bookshop clerk); Night and Day (Curtiz)
To the Victor (Daves); Two Guys from Texas (Butler); One Sunday Afternoon (Walsh)
South of St. Louis (Enright); Colorado Territory (Walsh)
The Nevadan (Douglas); Convicted (Levin); The Killer That Stalked New York (McEvory); Law and Order (Juran)
Scared Stiff (Marshall); Jack Slade (Schuster)
Loophole (Schuster); Pushover (Quine); Young at Heart (Douglas); Private Hell 36 (Siegel)
Five Guns West (Corman); Battle Cry (Walsh); Artists and Models (Tashlin); At Gunpoint (Werker)
Pillars of the Sky (Marshall); Tension at Table Rock (Warren); Written on the Wind (Sirk) (as Marylee Hadley)
Quantez (Keller); Man of a Thousand Faces (Pevney); Tip on a Dead Jockey (Thorpe)
The Tarnished Angels (Sirk); Too Much, Too Soon (Napoleon) (as Diana Barrymore)
The Last Voyage (Stone)
The Last Sunset (Aldrich) (as Belle Breckenridge)
Beach Party (Asher) (as Marianne)
Fate Is the Hunter (Nelson) (as Lisa Bond)
Gli insaziabili (de Martino); The Pigeon (Bellamy—for TV)
The Man Who Would Not Die ( Target in the Sun ) (Chessbro and Taylor—for TV); Abduction (Zito)
The November Plan (Medford)
Little Ladies of the Night (Chomsky—for TV); Murder in Peyton Place (Kessler—for TV); Golden Rendezvous (Lazarus)
Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (Greenwald—for TV)
Winter Kills (Richert) (as Emma Kegan); Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (Chomsky) (as Mildred)
The Day Time Ended (Cardos) (as Ana); Condominium (Hyers)
The Being (Kong) (as Marge Smith)
He's Not Your Son (Taylor—for TV) (as Dr. Sullivan)
Peyton Place—The Next Generation (Elikann—for TV) (as Constance MacKenzie Carson)
Descanse en piezas ( Rest in Pieces ) (Braunstein)
Basic Instinct (Verhoeven) (as Hazel Dobkins)
Film Dope (London), December 1987.
"Dorothy Malone," in Stars , September 1992.
Atkinson, M., "Dorothy Malone in 'The Tarnished Angels'," in Movieline (Escondido), April 1996.
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In the Hollywood of the 1950s and 1960s, with its system of casting by type, Dorothy Malone came to be identified by her luxurious coif of platinum blonde hair and her provocative, sidling walk. Her appearance defined her screen persona of the ignominious woman, which determined the direction of her career.
She began in pictures in minor roles, but soon was getting larger parts in everything from Westerns to musicals to films noir. In one memorable early role, Malone plays the reserved yet sensuous bookshop clerk in The Big Sleep who lets her hair down for private eye Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart). During these years she generally got parts that capitalized on her looks, but did not give her much opportunity for real acting.
If there was a peak in her career it was in the mid-1950s, when, under contract to Universal, she made two films with director Douglas Sirk, whose work set a standard for the genre of American melodrama. Appearing opposite Robert Stack and matinee idol Rock Hudson in Written on the Wind and The Tarnished Angels , she was afforded the chance to explore the full range of her sultry persona. It explodes with full force in the character of Marylee, the rich girl who cannot get enough stimulation in Written on the Wind . She despises her alcoholic brother (Stack) and lustfully pursues their childhood companion (Hudson), who is in love with Stack's wife (Lauren Bacall). Malone's exaggerated appearance provides an effective dramatic contrast to Bacall's reserved, demure beauty.
As a devoted wife and mother in Tarnished Angels , her appearance changes only by degrees, as she is ignored by her husband (Stack), a carnival stunt flier, and must continually fend off the naive advances of the newspaper man played by Hudson. One interesting exception to the pattern of Malone's 1950s roles is her portrayal of Diana Barrymore in Too Much, Too Soon , a seldomly seen film made in the wake of the success of Written on the Wind .
Despite winning the best supporting actress Oscar for her work in Written on the Wind , Malone found relatively few good parts coming her way—perhaps it was that her physical beauty lent itself most readily to more decorative roles in the studio executives' eyes. Eventually she shifted to television, where she found success in the mid-1960s in the long-running melodrama Peyton Place . In recent years she has acted in films only occasionally.
—Rob Winning, updated by Frank Uhle