A contract player who rose to stardom.
She served an apprenticeship, then attained major stardom, then faded and retreated to television.
Nonetheless, the former Dorothy Maloney kept going and going, outlasting — through more than 110 film and tv credits over a half century — many if not most of her A-list contemporaries. Dorothy Malone, who was nothing if not durable, working until 1992. (She died in 2018 at the age of 93.)
She could play outdoorsy girl types, the girls next door, devoted moms — or tipsy nymphomaniacs — with equal conviction. And she was one of the few Hollywood stars of the late classic period who managed to lend sex appeal to just about everything she did onscreen. She was one studio-bred good looker who also inspired erotic thoughts among her many fans.
One such was an adolescent Frank, who fell in love with Malone after seeing her in director Raoul Walsh’s the splashy 1955 war drama (in Cinemascope, no less), Battle Cry. Dorothy plays the mature manageress of a USO who conducts an affair with a very young Marine recruit (Tab Hunter).
Hunter later recalled that the Marine Corps. disapproved of the Battle Cry script notably because it showed the actor “as an eighteen-year-old humping a married woman twice his age.” Nontheless, the studio stood firm and “the humping stayed.” What better recruiting tool, figured Jack Warner, than “Dorothy Malone in a tight red swimsuit.”
There’s Dorothy below fending off Hunter’s Battle Cry advances. (All this, of course, took place long before Hunter declared to the world via his excellent 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, that he is gay.)
Ok, let’s see how much you know about durable Dorothy. As usual questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: What do Dorothy Malone and Ginger Rogers have in common? a) They shared (at different times) a darkly handsome, actor-playboy French husband; b) They shared troubled early childhoods; c) They shared wholesome, good looks that could on a dime turn sexy; or d) They had nothing at all in common.
2) Question: Malone made her biggest screen splash in which one of the following titles? a) 1950’s The Killer That Stalked New York; b) Battle Cry; c) 1955’s Five Guns West; or d) 1956’s Written on the Wind.
3) Question: Malone tried to seduce Humphrey Bogart in which of the following pictures? a) The Maltese Falcon; b) Across The Pacific; c) To Have and Have Not; or d) The Big Sleep.
4) Question: Dorothy most famously made her mark in television by playing a supporting role in a successful Sixties show on ABC. Can you name the series? a) Peyton Place; b) Bewitched; c) I Dream of Jeannie; or d) Petticoat Junction.
5) Question: Did Malone really made an appearance in one of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ funniest comedies? a) True; or b) False.