According to Variety, Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone – whose career in Hollywood lasted from the early 40s through 1992 – passed away from natural causes at the age of 93. She was born Dorothy Maloney on January 30, 1924 in Chicago, and when she was still a child, her family moved to Dallas. While attending Southern Methodist University, an agent came to see a performance at her school specifically looking at her male co-star. Maloney made such an impression that at the age of 18, she signed a contract with RKO pictures. She appeared in a number of uncredited roles in the first half of the 1940s, and when RKO didn’t renew her contract, she moved on to Warner Brothers – who changed her last name to Malone.
Malone’s career grew steadily, with a number of smaller roles in Westerns. She occasionally popped up in bigger films, such as The Big Sleep alongside Humphrey Bogart. Eventually she moved to New York City for a few months to study acting, though she came back to Hollywood to film a role in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film Scared Stiff, which she followed up with several other films including Law and Order and Jack Slade. She also began to make guest starring appearances on TV shows such as The Doctor and Omnibus.
Things changed for Malone after she dyed her hair platinum blonde in 1954, a look she kept for most of the rest of her career. In 1956 she played the sex-loving wild child Marylee Hadley opposite Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, and Robert Stack in Written in the Wind – the role for which she won an Oscar. Roles in Too Much, Too Soon, Man of a Thousand Faces, Last Voyage, and Warlock all followed. Malone was working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time, including James Cagney and Henry Fonda, as well as reteaming with Hudson and Stack on different projects.
In 1964, Malone got her first leading role in a television series, the soap opera Peyton Place. She played Constance, the mother of Mia Farrow’s character Allison. She stayed with the series for four years – except for a brief absence due to a life threatening health crisis. Unfortunately for Malone, things behind the scenes were not good. She had expected the series to be more of an ensemble drama and was upset that most of the focus was given to Farrow. Then, after she was written out of the series, she sued the studio for breach of contract. Still, she returned to the role in two followup made-for-TV movies.
After Peyton Place, Malone continued to work on TV, with roles in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and guest starring on a number of series, including Ellery Queen, Police Woman, and Vega$. Eventually she moved back to her hometown of Dallas, though she would occasionally come back to Hollywood for a role. Her final on screen appearance was in the 1992 thriller Basic Instinct.
Malone is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren. Her legacy to the world of entertainment – which includes approximately a hundred roles in film and television – is certainly an extraordinary one.
Rest in Peace Dorothy Malone: January 30, 1924 – January 19, 2018
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