Bea Arthur - A Tribute

Bea Arthur - A Tribute

My favorite Dorothy of the entire bunch is Dorothy Zbornak.  For 7 years, Dorothy was the strong, smart, sarcastic, sometimes intimidating, and arguably most grounded of the four women living in Blanche Devereaux's house as the Golden Girls.  Dorothy was portrayed in that sit-com by Bea Arthur, and so while only a fictional Dorothy, her character continues to endure decades after the show went off the air.  I know that many people often try to decide among their friends, which Golden Girl they are.  While I have moments of all of them, I am most definitely Dorothy and am pleased to salute her on what would have been Bea's 96th birthday. 

Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in show business, but she didn't think her family would support it. She then worked as a laboratory technician, drove a truck and worked as a typist in the Marine Corps. She also had a brief first marriage, which ended in divorce. Afterwards, she told her parents she wanted to pursue a career in show business, and they supported her decision to join the New York's Dramatic Workshop for the New School for Social Research. She played classical and dramatic roles, but it would be years before she found her niche in comedy. Her breakthrough came on stage while appearing in the musical play "The Threepenny Opera," with Lotte Lenya. For one season in the 1950's, she was a regular on Sid Caesar's television show,Caesar's Hour (1954). In 1964, she became truly famous as Yente the Matchmaker, in the original Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof." While a small supporting role, Bea stole the show night after night.

In 1966, she went to work on a new Broadway musical, "Mame", directed by her second husband, Gene Saks, winning a Tony Award for the featured role of Vera Charles. The show's star, Angela Lansbury, also won a Tony Award, and she and Bea became lifelong friends. In 1971, Arthur appeared on the hit sitcom All in the Family (1971) as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker's cousin, who was forever driving Archie Bunker crazy with her liberal politics. The guest appearance led to Bea's own series entitled Maude (1972). The show was a hit, running for six years, during which many controversial topics of the time, including abortion, were tackled, and Bea won her first Emmy Award. While doing Maude (1972), Bea repeated the role of Vera Charles in the film version of Mame (1974), again directed by Gene Saks, but it was a dismal flop. She also appeared on The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). While playing "Maude," she raised her two adopted sons with then-husband Gene Saks. After the show ended, so did Bea's marriage to Saks. She never remarried, and became a lifelong animal rights' activist.

In 1983, she started working on a new sitcom, Amanda's (1983), patterned after Britain's "Fawlty Towers" (1975)_, but it was short-lived. In 1985, came what many consider the highlight of Bea Arthur's career, when the sitcom"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ made its debut. Co-starring Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, the show was about the lives of three middle-aged women, and one's elderly mother, (played by Getty, who was actually younger than White and Arthur), living in Miami. It was an immediate hit, running for seven seasons. All of the cast members, including Bea, won Emmy Awards during the show's run. It's worth noting that"Maude" (1972)_ and"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ were canceled when Bea announced she was leaving. She left when she thought each show was at its peak. The producers realized the shows wouldn't be the same without her. In 1992, The Golden Girls (1985) was canceled. Bea kept a low profile, appearing in only two movies: For Better or Worse (1995) and Enemies of Laughter (2000).

In 1999, she made a very successful and welcome appearance at The N.Y. Friars Club Roast of Jerry Stiller (1999). She did a one-woman stage show in 2001, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. In 2003, she reunited with Betty White and Rue McClanahan for The Golden Girls (1985) reunion special on the Lifetime Channel. Noticeably absent was supporting actress Estelle Getty, who was ill. The three lead actresses made appearances together for the rest of the decade to promote DVD releases of The Golden Girls (1985). They appeared together for the last time in 1998, at the TV Land Awards, where they received a standing ovation as they accepted the Pop Culture Award. Bea then attended, with Angela Lansbury, when she was inducted to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

On April 25, 2009, at home with her family, Bea Arthur died of cancer. She was 86. She's survived by her two sons, Matthew and Daniel, and her grandchildren, Kyra and Violet. In her will, she left $300,000 to New York's Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youths.

Thank you Bea for all of your work and the gifts you gave many.   Rest in love.

 

John Lehrack

We've Got Magic to Do

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We've Got Magic to Do

Dorothy's is grateful to our first guest blogger, Bobbi L'Huillier

Do you remember your first live performance? Maybe you saw a Broadway show, a touring company, a local amateur group. Or maybe you were in a restaurant or even in the street, stopping to watch as a performer belted out a song or went into their dance. Wherever and whatever it was, something caught your imagination—something kept you coming back for more.

In the audience or onstage, in a nightclub or a concert arena, nothing replaces the spontaneity or matches the energy generated among people gathered in one space, all participating in creating something greater than the sum of their individual parts. Anything can happen in those moments, no matter how prepared or scripted, oft-performed or frequently attended. It’s why your pulse quickens when the house lights dim and the orchestra—or the pianist—tunes up. Among the performers, musicians, crew, management, and audience, we create a kinetic energy that can’t live in any other environment. It’s magic in a world where not much magic survives.

I don’t know about you, but I need more magic in my life. That’s part of why Dorothy’s is so personally important to me—and why it’s critical to develop and sustain more places like Dorothy’s everywhere. Dorothy’s provides a nexus for the amateur and professional to meet, for the ingénue and the character actor to exchange ideas, for the audience to contribute to every performance in a way they never have before and never will again because each live performance is unique unto itself.

It’s a place where you can join the show at live karaoke accompanied by a supportive pianist instead of an unrelenting music track. It’s a place to improve your stage persona as you learn to read the room and roll with whatever comes your way, from technical breakdowns to musical missteps to navigating the high of giving the performance of your life. And it’s a place to celebrate seasoned performers for honing your craft while offering an innovative space to unearth new aspects of your talent, aspects only discoverable in real-time, facing a roomful of people. Dorothy’s provides a place for everyone to commune around creating art and so many other necessary intangibles that feed the soul.

So join us. Leave your phone on the table, the text unanswered, the game unplayed for a little while. Tap into the kinetic energy you can only find when you are fully present to witness and participate in making something that wasn’t there before. It changes you—it inspires you—it lifts you up and reconnects you.

Join us. Fight entropy. Fight passivity. Fight the death of small clubs and local creativity. Support the arts, local business, small business owners, live entertainment. Support dreams by being part of reality. Support connecting with people and reconnecting with what gives our community its resilient heart.

Join us and have some fun. Clap. Sing. Eat. Dance. Open up. Talk to people. Develop a renewed sense of community. Show off your talent. Show off your knowledge. Show you understand the value of venues that provide collaborative opportunities. Be seen. Be recognized. And be part of something larger than yourself, something positive, something that builds up instead of tearing down, creates instead of destroys, renews instead of ruins. Let Dorothy’s become a place you call home and a place you go home to.

Join us. We’ve got magic to do.

Bobbi L'Huillier

Bobbi L’Huillier is a content editor and instructional designer for a multinational e-learning business training company with a passion for language, communications, books, music, theater, and film. In connection with a national nonprofit organization, she and her husband also design and provide education and training about moral injury. A 40+-year connection to theater and performance informs and sustains her professional and creative pursuits.

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The Case for a Piano Bar

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The Case for a Piano Bar

Ok, so here we are: getting closer and closer to opening this place called Dorothy's Piano Bar and Cabaret.  Almost every week I field questions like "What is a piano bar?"  "Isn't that like Keys on Main?" "What kind of music is there?"  "Can anyone sing?" and more.

With that in mind, this blog is devoted to not just the history of piano bars but also why Seattle is in need of one and why Dorothy's will be a great fit.

Well, what is a piano bar?   Most definitions all seem to agree on this: a piano bar is a place featuring a professional musician who entertains the patrons on the piano."   These venues can be in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, cocktail lounges and more. 

It is generally agreed that there are about six different types of piano bars.

1)  Instrumental only where the pianist provides background music, almost always without vocals.

2)  Featured musician which offers a "star" performer who is the only person who sings

3)  Musicians and servers sing venues feature a live pianist who entertains the crowd and calls upon the servers and staff to sing songs.  Think of singing waiters.

4)  Dueling Pianos - usually a stage with two grand pianos, lots of amplification and focus on rock, pop, R&B, country, etc with competing pianists and lots of crowd interaction.

5)  Singalong - Patrons gather around the piano and sing songs in a group

6)  Open Mic - guests are invited to take the mic and sing a song or two with the professional pianist backing them up. 

Of course, many pianos bars are combinations of any of the above.

Piano bars began to be popular mostly after WWII.   Patrons were often looking for something a little less raucous than a jazz club and less formal than a supper club. Staring in the 1920's pianos began to be a common fixture in many homes in the United States as well as the most popular instrument.  Piano bars were naturally an off-shoot of the love Americans had of gathering around a piano at home and singing songs.  

New York City was one of the first places where piano bars became popular.  Piano bars filled many NY neighborhoods.  They began as places for the hip crowd and later branched off to become popular with the LGBTQ community, especially during times when gay bars were prohibited. 

When the Stonewall riots shook New York in 1969, the bar scene underwent radial change. Gay-owned establishments appeared, including several piano bars. Ranging from casual Village hangouts (The Duplex) to "proper attire" spots on the Upper East Side (Regent East), these piano rooms provided an alternative to the disco scene of the 1970s and 80s. They all featured singalongs, pianists with an encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes, and an admission policy that welcomed everyone. Open microphones were provided for customers willing to sing solos. (Willing? Hell, some soloists could not be scraped off a microphone!) At Ted Hook's beloved Backstage, the impromptu soloists could include fellow patrons, the wait staff – or Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera.

Many other piano bars soon developed in NY, including The Monster, Rose's Turn, Don't Tell Mama and more.  In the 1980s and 90s, Broadway turned largely against the musical comedy and piano bars were once again a refuge for those who longed for music in that style.  Of course, while many piano bars can be noted for being a haven for showtune singers, others feature every style of music from jazz to hip-hop. 

So this brings us to Seattle.  Seattle does have a proud history of piano bars including such famous landmarks as Sorry Charlie's and Thumpers.  Charlie's closed in 2003 and Thumpers in 2006 and there hasn't been a piano bar in Seattle since with the exception of many establishments who provide a pianist playing background music and the venues with featured artists.

As many people know, Seattle is home to a vast number of quality theatres and naturally we have an amazing crop of gifted singer and performers.  I read an old story in the times about Sorry Charlie's.  It mentioned that patrons included singers from Seattle Opera who came to "stretch their lungs."  Then as now, we have so many gifted singers in the area and Dorothy's will be a home for them to come and sing just for the fun of it, prepare for the next audition, try a new song, advertise an upcoming performance or just hang out with friends and make new ones.

Dorothy's will be a combination of many of the piano bar types.  First and foremost we will be an open mic where all singers (not just those from the opera or theatre companies) can come and sing a song.  We'll certainly feature some of the best artists in town who will headline our stage, we'll give our staff the opportunity to participate and sometimes we may just offer background music for a quiet date night. 

Dorothy's will be much more than a piano bar too but I'll write about that more in the future.  In the meantime, we hope you'll watch our current and upcoming events and come sing us a song!

 

John Lehrack

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Dorothy Malone - a Tribute

Dorothy Malone - a Tribute

For our blog this week we would like to pays tribute to one of the women who have inspired us, Dorothy Malone.   She would have turned 93 yesterday on January 30.    Ms. Malone passed away only 11 days before her birthday on January 19, 2018. 

Best known as an actress for such works as Written on the Wind and Peyton Place, Dorothy Malone was also a singer.   You can hear her with Robert Taylor in this video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5bW6Wmh3U0

And dancing with Rock Hudson  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC_EBSDMKk

Actress Dorothy Malone was born Dorothy Eloise Maloney on January 29, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. Dorothy's family moved to Dallas, Texas when she was an infant. Dorothy was child model for Neiman-Marcus, showed dogs, was a class president in elementary school, and acted in school plays growing up. She attended Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas and studied languages and drama at Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1945.

Dorothy Malone told the St. Petersburg Independent that she and a boy were appearing in a play at Southern Methodist University, and a (RKO) talent scout took a picture of them. A few weeks later she got a 13 week contract from RKO in the mail with a 6-year option. Malone has said in interviews that she never got acting jobs while at RKO, but did get rid of her Texas accent and studied dancing and speech.

Between 1943-1944, Dorothy Malone had un-credited bit parts in 7 movies with RKO, including 2 non-speaking roles in early movies starring Frank Sinatra.

She was a bridesmaid in his movie Higher and Higher (1943) and a telephone operator in Step Lively (1944) starring Frank Sinatra, Gloria DeHaven, and Anne Jeffreys. Dorothy Malone told Gerald Peary that Frank Sinatra had spotted her at Romanoff's one night and called to ask her out.

Despite appearing in these early movies with Sinatra, Dorothy Malone didn't meet him until almost 10 years later, while filming Young at Heart (1954).  Also in the cast of Young at Heart was Alan Hale Jr., who would later appear in more movies with Dorothy Malone. Dorothy Malone and Frank Sinatra finally dated; he was one of many male movie-stars that Malone was linked with during the 1950's.

Released from her RKO contract, Dorothy Malone was quickly signed by Warner Bros. Her first movie role with Warner Bros. was as a junior hostess in the star-studded musical romantic comedy Hollywood Canteen (1944). Hollywood Canteen starred Bette Davis and John Garfield, and featured a bevy of cameos by other film stars that actually volunteered in the Hollywood Canteen during World War II. Appearing as themselves in Hollywood Canteen were The Andrews Sisters, Jack Carson, Joan Crawford, Victor Francen, Alan Hale, Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Eleanor Parker, Zachary Scott, Alexis Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Craig Stevens, Joan Leslie, and Jane Wyman, among others. Malone would later appear in movies with most of these actors, in either supporting or starring roles. 

Dorothy Malone was a World War II pinup girl in the Army weekly magazine Yank. That same year, her first credited movie role was in Too Young to Know (1945). Too Young to Know starred Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton, with Craig Stevens and Richard Erdman in the cast. Robert Hutton had also appeared in Hollywood Canteen, as Cpl. Slim Green.

The following year, Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton co-starred again with Dorothy Malone in the comedy Janie Gets Married (1946). In the cast of Janie Gets Married were Edward Arnold and Richard Erdman. 

Night and Day (1946) starred Cary Grant, Eve Arden, and Hollywood Canteen co-stars Alexis Smith, Jane Wyman, Victor Francen, and Alan Hale. By the time Night and Day was released, Dorothy Malone was beginning to climb further up in the film credits.

Dorothy Malone's performance as the "Acme Book Shop Proprietress" in director Howard Hawks's The Big Sleep (1946) starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, caught the attention of 1946's movie audiences. Her demure character in The Big Sleep closes the book shop to canoodle with Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart.)

Actor Dennis Morgan and Dorothy Malone appeared in 3 movies together after 1944's Hollywood Canteen: To the Victor (1948) starring Dennis Morgan and Viveca Lindfors, with William Conrad (Cannon) and Victor Francen (in his 3rd film with Malone); and the musical romance One Sunday Afternoon (1948). One Sunday Afternoon also had Alan Hale Jr. (Gilligan's Island) and Hollywood Canteen co-star Janis Paige in the cast. Malone had supporting roles in both To the Victor and One Sunday Afternoon, but in the movie Two Guys from Texas (1948), she graduated to a co-starring role with Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson (another Hollywood Canteen co-star).

Dorothy Malone had been an extra in the Virginia Mayo movie Seven Days Ashore (1944). Malone later appeared in supporting actress roles in 2 1949 movies starring Virginia Mayo - the crime drama Flaxy Martin (1949) co-starring Zachary Scott, and the western Colorado Territory (1949) co-starring Joel McCrea. The western South of St. Louis (1949) had Dorothy Malone co-starring again with Joel McCrea, Alexis Smith, Zachary Scott, and Alan Hale. Zachary Scott had also been in 1944's Hollywood Canteen.

In the dramatic thriller Convicted, Dorothy Malone played the wife of D.A. George Knowland (Broderick Crawford), who becomes a prison warden and tries to help a man whom he believes was wrongfully convicted (played by Glenn Ford).

In May 1949, columnist Erskine Johnson reported that with her Warner Bros. contract over, Dorothy Malone was going to marry her childhood sweetheart, Dr. Phillip Montgomery of Dallas, in June. Gossip rags had reported her wearing a diamond solitaire on her right hand in December 1948 and speculated that it was from Montgomery. The wedding (if there ever was one planned) with Dr. Phillip Montgomery, never came to pass.

Dorothy Malone visited her family in Dallas but returned to Hollywood and once again began appearing in movies. During the first half of the 1950's, Dorothy Malone was most frequently seen in leading lady or strong supporting roles in movies such as Saddle Legion (1951), and other westerns:

    She co-starred in two westerns with leading man Randolph Scott - The Nevadan (1950) with Jeff Corey; and Tall Man Riding (1955).

    The Bushwhackers (1951) with John Ireland, Lawrence Tierney, Lon Chaney Jr., (William) Bill Holmes, and Jack Elam. Malone had been an extra in the movie Youth Runs Wild (1944) with Lawrence Tierney and Dickie Moore. She co-starred again with John Ireland in the spy drama Security Risk (1954), and The Fast and the Furious (1955).

    Torpedo Alley (1952) and the western movie Jack Slade (1953) both co-starred Dorothy Malone and actor Mark Stevens.

    Law and Order (1953), a western romance co-starring with Ronald Reagan; Dennis Weaver (McCloud) was also in Law and Order. A couple of years later Dorothy Malone appeared on an episode of General Electric Theater titled The Clown, hosted by Ronald Reagan, starring Henry Fonda as circus clown Emmett Kelly and Dorothy Malone as Eva Balto Kelly.

    Five Guns West (1955), a western co-starring with John Lund and Mike Connors (Mannix).

    Pillars of the Sky (1956), a western co-starring Jeff Chandler, Ward Bond, Lee Marvin, and Sidney Chaplin. Sidney Chaplin and Dorothy Malone also dated.

    Tension at Table Rock (1956), a western co-starring Richard Egan, with Edward Andrews, DeForest Kelley, and Angie Dickinson. Malone has said she dated actor Richard Egan.

From 1950 through 1952, Dorothy Malone's name was most frequently linked with handsome actor Scott Brady, younger brother to troubled actor and her former co-star Lawrence Tierney. She was rumored to be engaged to Scott Brady in 1952, but their arrangement was not exclusive - Malone was was also reported to be dating Bill Holmes, her co-star in The Bushwackers. In 1953 the gossips had her engaged to Bill Holmes; and in 1954, she was dating co-star Frank Sinatra.

Dorothy Malone co-starred in two movies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, beginning with the horror-comedy-musical Scared Stiff (1953) (above). Her second movie with the comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis was the popular comedy Artists and Models (1955), co-starring Shirley MacLaine, Eva Gabor (Green Acres), Anita Ekberg, and Jack Elam.

The Billboard reported in September 1954 that Dorothy Malone's younger brother Bill Maloney (nee George William Maloney) died at the age of 16 after being struck by lightning while playing golf in Dallas, Texas.

Dorothy Malone and Fred MacMurray (My Three Sons) co-starred in three movies together. In the crime drama Pushover (1954) starring Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, and Philip Carey, Malone had a supporting role. She also had a co-starring role in the later Fred MacMurray westerns At Gunpoint (1955) and Quantez (1957) with John Gavin and Sidney Chaplin.

The studio publicity machines and celebrity magazines in the 1950's were going full steam...in the mid-1950s, Dorothy Malone dated actor-director Roger Corman as well as closeted gay movie stars Tab Hunter, Rock Hudson, and even the more flamboyant Liberace (a co-star in 1955's Sincerely Yours. Through it all her name was linked periodically with actor Scott Brady.

The movie role that baby boomers and seniors may remember Dorothy Malone best from, is as a wealthy Texan alcoholic nymphomaniac in the drama Written on the Wind (1956).  Written on the Wind was directed by Douglas Sirk and starred Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, and Robert Stack, with Edward Platt (Get Smart) also in the cast.

By this time, Malone had dyed her hair blonde and left the "good girl" image behind. She told the St. Petersburg Independent that Written on the Wind was her favorite film; she enjoyed the producer, the director and the clothes.

Dorothy Malone won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1957 for her performance in Written on the Wind. Below, a clip from the 1957 Academy Awards ceremony with Jerry Lewis, Jack Lemmon, and Dorothy Malone. Malone dedicated her Academy Award Oscar for Written on the Wind to her younger brother Bill.

Dorothy Malone would reunite with director Douglas Sirk and co-stars Rock Hudson and Robert Stack in The Tarnished Angels (1957). Joining them in The Tarnished Angels were former co-star Jack Carson (a co-star from Hollywood Canteen & Two Guys from Texas), as well as Troy Donahue and William Schallert. Dorothy Malone told Gerald Peary that although Tarnished Angels won some critical acclaim, she wasn't happy while filming it; a stunt pilot was killed, and after working days on the set of Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957), she'd work nights on Tarnished Angels. Her co-stars in Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) were Robert Taylor, Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-O), and Hayden Rorke (I Dream of Jeannie). 

Dorothy Malone's final movie with Rock Hudson was the western The Last Sunset (1961) co-starring Kirk Douglas, Joseph Cotten, Carol Lynley, and Jack Elam. Malone worked again with Robert Stack in the ocean liner thriller The Last Voyage (1960), co-starring George Sanders and Edmond O'Brien. Below, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Carol Lynley, and Joseph Cotton are featured in the movie trailer for The Last Sunset.

Notable movies for Dorothy Malone in the latter half of the 1950's included:

    Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), a biography of silent movie star Lon Chaney & his wife. In Man of a Thousand Faces Dorothy Malone co-starred with James Cagney; supporting actors included Jim Backus, Jack Albertson, and Roger Smith.

    Too Much, Too Soon (1958), a biography of John Barrymore. Dorothy Malone co-starred with Errol Flynn as Diana and John Barrymore in Too Much, Too Soon. Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (The F.B.I.), Murray Hamilton, and Martin Milner were also in the movie. Malone said that filming Too Much, Too Soon was not a good experience for her; the script was rewritten to include Errol Flynn in a starring role near the end of his career; the movie was in the hands of inexperienced directors, and Errol Flynn wasn't easy to work with.  "It all got to be a mess". Too Much, Too Soon was a critical flop and didn't help her career.

    Warlock (1959), a western romance co-starring Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, and Anthony Quinn; also in the cast of Warlock were DeForest Kelley. Dorothy Malone had worked before with both Henry Fonda in a General Electric Theater episode, and with DeForest Kelley in 1956's Tension at Table Rock. Below, Anthony Quinn and Dorothy Malone in a scene from Warlock.

Newspapers reported that Dorothy Malone began to be seen around town with French actor Jacques Bergerac (divorced from Ginger Rogers since 1957) in March 1958. She attended the premiere of his film Gigi at the Paramount Theatre in July, and they were reported to be vacationing together in Panama that fall. In June 1959 Dorothy Malone and Jacques Bergerac married at a Roman Catholic church in Hong Kong, where she was on location filming The Last Voyage.

The newlyweds appeared on stage together in the play Once More, With Feeling in Chicago in July 1959. Dorothy Malone and Jacques Bergerac's daughter Mimi Bergerac was born in April 1960, followed by daughter Diane Bergerac in February 1962. In December 1962 columnist Hedda Hopper quoted Dorothy Malone as saying that although they weren't separated, husband Jacques Bergerac had been Europe for nine months, and Malone was shopping for a smaller house because she had a husband "in name only." 

Early 1960's episodic television work for Dorothy Malone included guest-starring appearances in popular baby boomer TV series such as:

    Route 66 in 1961 as Christina Summers, a two-part episode co-starring with regulars Martin Milner and George Maharis.

    Dr. Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain, with Joseph Cotten; she also co-starred with Joseph Cotton in the movie The Last Sunset (1961).

    The Untouchables co-starring with her 3-time movie co-star Robert Stack, Joseph Campanella, and Dorothy Malone's former boyfriend/fiancee Scott Brady.

 

Dorothy Malone co-starred in the musical rom-com Beach Party (1963) with Robert Cummings, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Morey Amsterdam (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Meredith MacRae, Michael Nader, and Vincent Price. While she was filming Beach Party, Dorothy Malone's husband Jacques Bergerac returned from France, but all was not well in their marriage.

UPI reported that Dorothy Malone filed for divorce on May 2 1963 and Bergerac counter-filed the next day. Bitter custody battles ensued during and after their divorce proceedings. In December 1964 their divorce was finalized with Malone winning custody of their two daughters. Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film (1998) author Karen Burroughs Hannsberry said Malone knew of Bergerac's reputation as a ladies man before their marriage, and quoted her as saying "He went back to the old freedom-loving ways. After knowing so many winners, I picked a loser."

By 1963, having taken time off to have children and go through a tumultuous marriage and divorce, Dorothy Malone's career was fading. She had an uncredited role as Lisa Bond in the thriller Fate is the Hunter (1964). Fate is the Hunter starred Glenn Ford, Nancy Kwan, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, Jane Russell, Wally Cox, Nehemiah Persoff, Mark Stevens, and Constance Towers. She'd had a supporting role in a previous movie starring Glenn Ford, the crime drama Convicted (1950), and had co-starred with Mark Stevens in 1952's Torpedo Alley and Jack Slade in 1953.

From 1964-1968 Dorothy Malone starred as Constance MacKenzie Carson on Peyton Place, the ground-breaking night-time soap opera.

On Peyton Place she worked with a mix of veteran actors and those new to film, including Ed Nelson, Mia Farrow (her on-screen daughter), Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, Christopher Connelly, Tim O'Connor, Mariette Hartley, Lee Grant, Leslie Nielsen, Barbara Rush, Joan Blackman, Gena Rowlands, and many other faces that would be familiar to baby boomer and senior audiences today.

Dorothy Malone and Ed Nelson had previously appeared in the same episode of Checkmate, starring Doug McClure, Sebastian Cabot, and Ed Nelson.

The series began airing in black and white, but by the time it ended episodes were filmed in color.

She told Gerald Peary that she was so impressed with the writing on the first three Peyton Place scripts that she agreed to play Constance MacKenzie for $3,000 a week less than ABC's offer of $10,000 a week - providing she could be home by 6 p.m. for dinner with her two daughters, and have weekends off.

In 2009, octogenarian senior citizen Dorothy Malone and her grown-up daughter Mimi Vanderstraaten recalled for the Los Angeles Times, the 7+ hours-long life-saving emergency surgery Malone had in September 1965. More than 30 blood clots were found in her lungs, and she told the St. Petersburg Independent that she almost died during the surgery - her heart stopped beating several times.

 

During her several-months absence from Peyton Place to recover the blood clots and surgery, actress Lola Albright temporarily replaced Dorothy Malone as Constance MacKenzie Carson on the series. Lola Albright and Malone had previously co-starred in supporting roles in the 1950 thriller The Killer That Stalked New York (1950). Dorothy Malone returned to Peyton Place early in 1966 and to her dismay, found her storyline gradually diminishing over the next few years. In June 1968 she was written out of Peyton Place and filed a $1.6 million breach of contract suit, which ended with an out of court settlement and secrecy requirement (much like her divorce from Jacques Bergerac).

While starring on Peyton Place, Dorothy Malone had once again been linked in the press to her former beaus Scott Brady and Bill Holmes, as well as her manager John Ryan. After having romanced movie stars Dorothy Malone and Gwen Verdon, Scott Brady finally married non-actress Mary Tirony in 1967; they had 2 children and remained married until his death at the age of 60 in April 1985 from pulmonary fibrosis.

Disputes over raising their children continued between Dorothy Malone and her ex-husband Jacques Bergerac. Disappointed over her series run ending in 1968 and feeling alone in California, Malone won a court battle for the right to move back to her hometown of Dallas, Texas with her young daughters, with the intention of leaving acting.

While committed on Peyton Place, her other film and television work had become minimal. Dorothy Malone did appear in the Italian thriller Carnal Circuit (1969) (original title Femmine insaziabili), co-starring with Luciana Paluzzi and John Ireland. Carnal Circuit was a return to acting for Malone after having moved to Dallas, and her fourth movie with John Ireland (after 1951's The Bushwhackers, 1954's Security Risk, and 1955's The Fast and the Furious).

Dorothy Malone met divorced New York businessman Robert Tomarkin on the set of The Pigeon, a TV thriller co-starring Sammy Davis Jr., Ricardo Montalban (Fantasy Island), and Pat Boone. Robert Tomarkin and Dorothy Malone got married in Las Vegas in April 1969, but only a few weeks later she filed for an annulment and the marriage was over. Malone claimed that Tomarkin tried to cheat her out of her savings. In June 1974, The New York Times reported that independent securities trader Robert Tomarkin had pled guilty to a stock swindle involving the Franklin National Bank.

Divorced Dallas motel chain executive Charles Bell and Dorothy Malone got married in October 1971. Guests at their wedding included former beaus Frank Sinatra and Scott Brady, as well as Jim Nabors (whom she had "dated") and Peyton Place co-star Ed Nelson. Malone has been quoted as saying of Charles Bell that "He didn't marry me for love but for what I could do for him.". Dorothy Malone and Charles Bell divorced in August 1974 after 3 years of marriage.

Meanwhile, Malone's ex-husband Jacques Bergerac had retired from acting himself in 1969, and returned to live in his home country of France. He and his brother Michael Bergerac were executives with Revlon in the mid-1970's. Several newspapers reported Jacques Bergerac marrying Edith Brennan in Paris in July 1975. Bergerac was an 87-year-old octogenarian when he died in June 2014.

During the 1970's and her 50+ years, Dorothy Malone continued to find work on television and in the movies; this picked up after her divorce from Charles Bell.

Her episodic TV show appearances in the 70's included guest-starring on popular baby boomer series like Ironside, as well as:

 

    The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, with regulars David Hartman and Robert Walden, with Michael Lerner.

    Ellery Queen starring Jim Hutton and David Wayne, in an episode with David Hedison, Bobby Sherman, and Tom Reese.

    A special two-hour episode of Police Woman starring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman, with Brooke Bundy, Joan Collins, and Jerry Douglas. Angie Dickinson and Dorothy Malone had both been in the western Tension at Table Rock; and Jerry Douglas and Dorothy Malone had guest-starred before on the same episode of Arrest and Trial in 1965, and did so again in an episode of The Streets of San Francisco (1976) starring Karl Malden and Richard Hatch.

    The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. Dorothy Malone played Mrs. Blaine and fellow guest-star Melanie Griffith played Stacey Blain.

    Flying High starring Connie Sellecca, with Bill Daily (The Bob Newhart Show), Ty Hardin, and Cameron Mitchell.

    Matt Houston starring Lee Horsley, Pamela Hensley, and John Aprea, with Lloyd Bochner, Michelle Phillips, George Wyner, and Lori Loughlin.

The blockbuster TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) starred Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely, Edward Asner and Dorothy McGuire. Dorothy Malone and Van Johnson played Irene & Marsh Goodwin in Rich Man, Poor Man. Their fellow supporting cast members included Murray Hamilton, Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch), and Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati). Malone has said she had been a Van Johnson fan and was happy to work with him in Rich Man, Poor Man.

Movies for Dorothy Malone during her 50's were a mix of made-for-television and feature films. Her baby boomer and senior citizen fans may recall seeing her in these 1970's movies:

    Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), a drama starring Anne Heywood, Donald Pleasence, Robert Vaughn, Earl Holliman, Carolyn Jones, and Doris Roberts, with Dana Elcar. Robert Vaughn and Dorothy Malone had worked together almost 20 years earlier, in an episode of Alcoa Theatre in 1960.

    Little Ladies of the Night (1977), a TV drama starring David Soul, Louis Gossett Jr., Linda Purl, Carolyn Jones, Paul Burke, Lana Wood, Kathleen Quinlan, and Katherine Helmond.

    The November Plan (1977), a TV thriller starring Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H), with Diane Ladd, Meredith Baxter (Family Ties), Clifton James, Steve Kanaly (Dallas), and Martin Kove (Cagney & Lacey).

    Winter Kills (1979), a thriller starring Jeff Bridges, and veteran (and long gone) actors John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Orson Welles, and Sterling Hayden. Dorothy Malone told Gerald Peary that she had fun playing a mentally ill woman in Winter Kills.

    High Hopes (1978) starring Canadian actress Jayne Eastwood, was a half-hour daytime drama filled in Toronto Ontario. Dorothy Malone and Nehemiah Persoff played Dr. and Mrs. Aaron Herzog. Their High Hopes cast members included Gordon Thomson (Dynasty), and Geraint Wyn Davies. Nehemiah Persoff and Dorothy Malone had been co-stars before, in the 1964 movie Fate is the Hunter, and they were co-stars again as the 1980's came to a close, in the 2-part mini-series Condominium (1980). Condominium starred Barbara Eden, and Dorothy Malone appeared as Molly Denniver. Her fellow supporting cast members in Condominium included familiar faces Ana Alicia, Richard Anderson, Elinor Donahue, Arte Johnson, Stuart Whitman, and Gary Grubbs.

    Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978), a TV drama starring Kim Basinger, Fabian, Tab Hunter, Don Johnson, Don Stroud, and Glynn Turman. Tab Hunter and Dorothy Malone had worked together in the movie Battle Cry in 1955, over 20 years earlier; and had dated back then, when Hunter was keeping up appearances. Below, a look back at the movie trailer for Battle Cry featuring Dorothy Malone, Tab Hunter, Van Heflin, James Whitmore, and Aldo Ray.

A 55+ Dorothy Malone appeared in a few productions of the play Butterflies Are Free in Winnipeg and Florida. She told People magazine in 1981 that after her two expensive divorces and a post-Peyton Place career slump, she was living in her parent's home in Dallas and hoping for a comeback. Her daughters Mimi and Diane Bergerac graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, the same school Malone attended.

Although only in her 60+ years during the early 1980's, Dorothy Malone's on-screen appearances were very minimal. Rare glimpses of her could be seen in:

    Off Your Rocker (1982), a TV comedy movie co-starring Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Helen Shaver, Michael Ironside, and Rosemary Dunsmore.

    The Being (1983), a sci-fi big-screen movie starring Martin Landau and José Ferrer, with Ruth Buzzi (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In).

    He's Not Your Son (1984), a TV drama starring Donna Mills & Ken Howard, with John James. Dorothy Malone had a supporting role in He's Not Your Son as Dr. Sullivan.

Dorothy Malone and several of the original cast members, including Ed Nelson and Tim O'Connor, returned to Peyton Place as their original (aged) characters, for two TV movies:

    Murder in Peyton Place (1977) had Janet Margolin, Marj Dusay, Devid Hedison, Stella Stevens, and Catherine Bach in the cast.

    Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985) added original Peyton Place cast members Patricia Morrow and Barbara Parkins, and introduced Bruce Greenwood and John Beck. Although Peyton Place represented a fictional New England Town, Peyton Place: The Next Generation was filmed in Waxahachie Texas, near Dorothy Malone's home in Dallas.

Rest in Pieces (1987), a horror movie co-starring Scott Thompson Baker would be Dorothy Malone's last movie for several years.

After a 5 year absence from movie and TV screens, senior citizen Dorothy Malone came out of acting retirement (she had been selling real estate) to appear in the box-office thriller Basic Instinct (1992). Basic Instinct starred Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzunda, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Wayne Knight. In Basic Instinct Malone played Hazel Dobkins, a mother convicted of murdering her family, and a friend of Sharon Stone's character.

Dorothy's thanks Ms. Malone for her beautiful career and the memories she has left us.  

How Dorothy Got Her Name

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How Dorothy Got Her Name

After I made the decision to open a piano bar and lounge, the next step was to come up with a name.  Being in Seattle, I was hoping for a name that was indicative of this city in which I've made my home.  What is Seattle know for?   Being green & progressive, beer, seafood, some sports teams, lots of outdoor activities, the Puget Sound, rain and so much more.  One of our nicknames in all of this is the Emerald City.  "That's it" I thought.  The Emerald City Cabaret.  Perfect, now time to get everything in motion including licensing the name.  A quick Google search dashed my fantasies.  I learned that the Emerald City Cabaret is a strip club in Orlando.  The name was discarded as quickly as the dollar bills of a lot of men in Florida.   What to do, what to do?  Come up with another name.  Rain City Cabaret?  Nah.  A Gay Cabaret?  No, Mary.  Capitol Hill Cabaret.  Snooze.  I wend through as many names as tourists go through Pike Market during any given morning.  I think it was finally may Aunt Carla, who said "You could just call it Dorothy's."   I believe her inspiration came from the Emerald City idea and a connection to one of the greatest Dorothy's of all: Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale.

So, a name was bestowed.  But did I really want to make it a bar with that gay of a theme?  I mean, really!  As a gay man, I want my club to be someplace where my friends and I feel at home, but it doesn't have to be THAT gay.  I can see it now:  a big statue of Judy in the entrance way,  a Yellow Brick Road leading to the stage, servers dressed as Munchkins, the Scarecrow behind the bar and a Wicked Witch who popped in from time to time trying to scare the patrons enough that they drink more.  Run, Toto, Run!   Still, it was a good idea but I needed to frame it better.  My graphic artist friend Chip Taylor (who created our logo) said "Why define it?  Let people come to their own idea about the name.  There are a lot of famous women named Dorothy and of course, there's always the old expression "Friend of Dorothy's" that was used for decades as code for someone who was gay or gay-supportive."  Thanks, Chip!  That's exactly what I needed to hear and you just won the ruby red slippers! (He'd look great in them btw.)

So now, Dorothy's has become an homage.  An homage to so many famous women who were indeed cabaret performers, who sang on the stage and screen and into our hearts.  In addition to Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale there are or were such great performers as Dorothy Dandrige, Dorothy Lamour, Dorothy Loudon, Dorothy Collins, Dorothy Fields, Dorothy Moore, Dorothy Provine, Dorothy Malone, Dorothy Sebastian and my personal favorite Dorothy of them all, Dorothy Zbornak, played by Bea Arthur in the Golden Girls. In fact, another dream is to eventually open establishments named Sophia, Rose and Blanche too.  Dorothy's parent company is indeed named St. Olaf Productions.  When Dorothy's opens, we will have a mural depicting all of these great women on our wall.

One final Dorothy of note is not at all famous, at least not to anyone but me.   Her name was Dorothy Hollenbeck and she was my great aunt, the sister of my maternal grandmother.  When I was little, my mother's sister Elaine was coming for a visit.   My aunt Dorothy told little me, "You know, Johnny, Elaine is your aunt but I'm your GREAT aunt."  The precocious response of my 5-year old self was "Oh, Aunt Dorothy, that doesn't mean you're any better, it just means you're older!"  Well, that was certainly true and while Aunt Dorothy passed in 2001, I miss her dearly.  She was indeed a "great" aunt and was one of my biggest fans as a young musician.  She'd come to every concert I ever had, even when I was in college and the concert was a 2 hour drive away.  She always believed in me and encourage my music.   More than any other Dorothy, my dream has been at least in part named after her and Aunt Dor's picture will be included in the mural. 

Thank you to all of the Dorothys, real and fictional, living, dead and yet to come who are inspirations to those of us in the arts.   We salute you!

 

John Lehrack

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How Dorothy's Came to Be

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How Dorothy's Came to Be

It all started when...

It's been suggested to me that I start a blog for Dorothy's.  When I asked folks what I should write about, one of the most immediate responses was "tell us your story.   Tell us about Dorothy's and how it started."   Okay.  Here I go!

I've been a musician my entire life and it's been my profession for over 30 years now.  I've been a teacher for most of it but have done a fair amount of performing and recently have turned some attention to composing.  One thing I've always enjoyed doing though is playing the role of impressario, a word that can be defined as "producer" but has a deeper meaning in being someone who helps other artists gain the spotlight, often ones who have been previously unknown.  I've done this in many ways through teaching, theatre work, conducting and more but a part of me yearns to do it bigger and better.   How can I fulfill both what I love to do as a musician and what I'd like to do for others?

There are certainly numerous ways to accomplish the above goal but I have also often wanted to own a bar.  My ex and I almost took a major step in this direction in 2006 San Francisco.  Neither of us were happy with our careers at the time and thought we could open a bar together.  We found one in our neighborhood that was for sale but alas the $3 million price tag that was required to buy both the business and the building was beyond our reach so we abandoned the idea.

10 years later, single and in a new city I came back to the idea.  This time though I also gave some thought to my longtime desire to have a dinner theatre and a bar.  Why not do both?  I came up with the concept of Dorothy's and decided it would be a three-tiered venue.  The main room would be a nightly piano bar where patrons could sing what some call "piano karaoke."  (I really dislike this term because a good piano bar is so much better than that but it's a term that people can hear and relate to.)

A great piano bar has many things:  a terrific pianist on hand to entertain the crowd;  a large selection of songs for people to sing; the option for singers to bring in their own sheet music for the pianist to play; fun singalongs; theme nights; delicious drinks and small plates; a comfortable and friendly atmosphere and so much more.  My goal is for Dorothy's Piano Bar to have all of these things and to evolve in the ways that best fit our customers' needs.  Of course, I'll also enjoy getting to sit down at the piano some of the time and playing for the singers.

The second part of Dorothy's will be our cabaret lounge that will feature many fantastic local performers and hopefully some with national name recognition.  I've been truly lucky during my time in Seattle to meet and befriend a host of wonderful artists.  Many have already performed at our pop-up events and more are scheduled this year.  Dorothy's Cabaret will be an intimate and very comfortable lounge with cocktail tables, comfy chairs, a sofa or two and the great drinks and small plates we hope to become known for.

The final phase of Dorothy's will be a black box theatre.   A black box is a flexible theatre space that can be rearranged in  numerous ways to fit a performance concept.   After much thought I have decided to let Dorothy's Little Black Box be it's own non-profit organization that will partner with Dorothy's Piano Bar and Cabaret to produce a regular season of great (mostly musical) theatre.  The focus will be on re-envisioning classic shows, producing and promoting brand new works and spotlighting new and under-served artists.  We already have our IRS 501(c)3 designation letter and more news will be announced soon.

When we finally open, I know that Dorothy's will be a venue unlike anything Seattle has ever seen and also a place where people from all walks of life can come, have a great time, make some music together, meet new friends and be entertained.

Thanks for coming on the ride with me.  Stay tuned for the next post when I tell you all about why we're called Dorothy's

 

John Lehrack

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