Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dorothy Patrick

On May 31, 1987, actress Dorothy Patrick died. She was born on June 3, 1921 in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada of Scot-English heritage from a family of farmers, ranchers and Canadian National Railway workers. Having the poise and beauty older than her years, as a teen Dorothy was a photogenic model for young ladies' fashions in Creed's, Hudson's Bay and Sears department store catalogues popular in Canada. After growing up in Winnipeg, in 1938 at age 17, she and her mother immigrated to the United States. Settling in New York City, Patrick became a fashion model with the famous John Robert Powers agency. During her early career she was billed under her birth name, Dorothea Davis until she married New York Rangers hockey star, Lynn Patrick, and became Dorothy Patrick.

While appearing at dinner-club showcases in Jersey City, Patrick won Samuel Goldwyn's talent-search contest, MGM's coveted, "Gateway to Hollywood." With a movie contract in hand, she moved to Hollywood and young son to live in Culver City and study and work at nearby MGM studios. She first appeared as a Goldwyn Girl in Danny Kaye's movie Up in Arms (1944). Her most noted MGM appearance was opposite Robert Walker in the Jerome Kern musical showcase and Technicolor dazzler, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). As a "Queen of the Bs," she continued to appear in films produced in the 1940s and 1950s including, High Wall (1947) with Robert Taylor; New Orleans (1947) with Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday (the only film-record of Holiday singing); The Mighty McGurk (1947) with Wallace Beery; Follow Me Quietly (1949) with William Lundingan; the Fritz Lang-directed House by the River (1950).

In the early days of Hollywood television, Patrick made guest appearances on the locally-produced show, Mike Stokey's Pantomime Quiz. The Korean War-era saw her at celebrity appearances for USO and was Miss Naval Air Force Recruiting 1951. At Columbia, Patrick co-starred with Preston Foster and Wayne Morris in the oil wild-catting yarn, The Big Gusher (1951); in the modern-day western, Outlaw Stallion (1954) opposite Billy Gray with Phil (Philip) Carey. She co-starred or was supporting actress in a series of Republic programmers. The studio was best known releasing Saturday Matinee serials, westerns, mysteries and crime dramas. Her films included the noir classic, 711 Ocean Drive (1950) with Edmond O'Brien, Joanne Dru and Otto Kruger (caps with a slam-bang gun-chase scene at Hoover [Boulder] Dam); the "true life" crime drama, Lonely Hearts Bandits (1950) with John Eldredge; genre westerns, Thunder Pass (1954) with Dane Clark, John Carradine and Andy Devine; "Gringos go south-of-the-border" comedy, Belle of Old Mexico (1950) with Latina comedienne, Estelita Rodriguez, and Robert Rockwell, Florence Bates.

Patrick's roles in the 1950s also included walk-ons in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Singin' in the Rain (1952). She continued playing small, supporting roles on summer-stock stage, screen and TV until 1956. Her last movies, at 20th Century Fox, were Violent Saturday as the wife of Victor Mature (1955) and View from Pompey's Head (1955) with Robert Egan and Dana Wynter. A working SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actress, Dorothy appeared in 35 films. She made a quiet return to the stage in the late 1960’s acting in productions at the Leonivitch Theatre in West Hollywood. Dorothy Patrick died on May 31, 1987 and is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, West Los Angeles, California.

http://www.michaelthomasbarry.com/, author of "Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950"

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