Dorothy Eloise Malone
Dorothy Eloise Malone
  • January 30, 1924 - January 19, 2018
  • Texas

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Dorothy Malone passed peacefully into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Friday, January 19, 2018, days before turning 94. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend. She will be dearly missed.

Born Dorothy Eloise Maloney on January 30, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois to Robert and Esther Maloney. Dorothy was the eldest of five children born into a loving, Christian family.

When Dorothy was a baby, her family moved to Dallas, where her heart would remain throughout her life. She attended Ursuline Academy of Dallas for nine years and was a part-time boarder at their convent with the Ursuline nuns while her parents traveled the country to try to find a cure for her two younger sisters stricken with polio. Both her sisters tragically passed away at five and eight years old. Her youngest brother was struck by lightning on a golf course and died at age 16.

Dorothy graduated from Highland Park High School with Honors in 1941. She had wonderful high school memories and was voted School Favorite and Queen of the ROTC, and began to discover her talent as an actress when she won first place in a UIL One Act Play. Dorothy earned an academic scholarship to Hockaday Junior College. She then attended SMU, where she was named a Rotunda Beauty. While at SMU, Dorothy was performing in the campus play, Starbound, when an RKO Studios Talent Scout discovered her. It was the start of her extraordinary career and life.

Dorothy was a part of the Golden Age of Hollywood and first lived at the iconic Hollywood Studio Club for Girls. Early on, she made her decision to dedicate her career to God and would sign every autograph with "May God Bless You Always!".

She made her first major film breakthrough in 1945, captivating audiences as a bookstore clerk in The Big Sleep, with Humphrey Bogart. Throughout the next two decades, she went on to star in over 70 films, in addition to numerous TV guest appearances and commercials. In 1957, Dorothy won an Academy Award for her role as Marilee Hadley in Douglas Sirks' Written on the Wind. In her acceptance speech, she dedicated her Oscar to her late brother, Bill. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for that role. Some of the more notable films included Young at Heart, Man of a Thousand Faces, Tarnished Angels, Too Much Too Soon, Battle Cry, Artists & Models, Beach Party and The Last Voyage. Dorothy starred alongside such iconic leading men as Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan, to name a few. In 1960, her star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame for outstanding work in Motion Pictures at the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

Landing the starring role in TV's first nighttime continuing drama series, Peyton Place, Dorothy achieved her widest popularity yet. It was a smash hit and aired in prime-time three nights a week over the next five years, from 1964 to 1969. This was another pivoting point in her career, as she was among the first film stars to transition from movies into television. In 1965, Dorothy suffered a near-death experience as 33 blood clots moved through her lungs. While on the critical list fighting for her life for over a week, the world stood by as her vital signs and updates were reported and displayed above Times Square. After a dramatic recovery, she resumed her role on Peyton Place. She was nominated twice for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role as Constance McKenzie. Dorothy and John Wayne were recognized in 1965 with the Golden Apple Award as the "Most Cooperative Male and Female Actors" of the year. Dorothy also received the Photoplay Award for "Most Popular Female Actress in a TV Series" in 1966.

Dorothy's career offered amazing life experiences. In 1946, at age 22, she was invited to travel via the Queen Elizabeth to be presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England. In the late 60's she was granted a private audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. She was also a White House guest for three sitting U.S. Presidents.

She married Frenchman Jacques Bergerac in Hong Kong in 1959, which led her to the most cherished and fulfilling role she would have in her life, as mother to her two beloved daughters, Mimi and Diane. They had a contentious divorce four years later that spanned the next ten years. She would forevermore put her daughters' needs before everything. In 1969, at the peak of her career, she decided to move from the Hollywood spotlight to raise her girls in Dallas, so they could experience a more normal childhood. Over the next two decades, Dorothy continued to work from Dallas, as schedule permitted. In 1992, after 50 years in the motion picture industry, Dorothy retired.

Dorothy's career and accomplishments did not define her. She dedicated herself to her craft, never motivated by fame or fortune. She felt blessed to be able to work in an industry that she loved.

Dorothy appreciated and was deeply humbled by her fans from around the world, who have continued to contact her and keep in touch over the past 70+ years. Her love and generous spirit touched so many.

To her friends and family, Dorothy was known for her deep faith, strong character, big heart, sharp wit and fun loving spirit. She had many trials and tribulations throughout her life, but always pulled from her inner strength and was able to face any obstacle with her family close by and God in control.

We thank God for blessing her with a long and beautiful life, which she so gracefully used to reflect His love.

Dorothy is preceded in death by parents Esther Smith Maloney and Robert I. Maloney, as well as siblings Patsy Jane Maloney, Joan Maloney and George William (Bill) Maloney. Dorothy is lovingly survived by her two daughters Mimi Bergerac Vanderstraaten and Diane Bergerac