Peggy Dow Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (2)

Born in Columbia, Mississippi, USA
Birth NamePeggy Josephine Varnadow

Mini Bio (1)

This Universal-International player had the beauty, brains and talent to go the distance, only to surprise herself by choosing marriage and family over her career. Now remembered more for her charitable work than her Hollywood roles, pretty and wholesome blonde Peggy Dow was christened Peggy Josephine Varnadow on March 18, 1928, in Columbia, Mississippi. She has clarified that Peggy is not a derivative of Margaret or any other forename. Her father, a businessman, moved about quite a bit but the family subsequently settled in Louisiana, where she attended college (both Louisiana State and Northwestern State University), majoring in drama and appearing in several college plays.

After brief modeling and radio experience, she was spotted by a talent agent and cast in a TV show in February 1949. Shortly after that exposure, Universal offered her a seven-year contract. Bypassing the starlet bit-part route, she made an auspicious film debut co-starring with Scott Brady in the thriller Undertow (1949), in which she played a vacationing schoolteacher who accidentally gets involved in a murder. Her second film (which she actually made first but was released later), Woman in Hiding (1950), was also a crime thriller, co-starring Ida Lupino and Stephen McNally. Showing clearly that she was up to the task of playing love interests with depth and range, Peggy's star began to ascend with these two modest efforts. She hit her peak when she co-starred as the lovely nurse in the classic James Stewart farce Harvey (1950) and appeared opposite Arthur Kennedy in the touching war drama Bright Victory (1951), the story of a soldier who is blinded and must learn to readjust to civilian life. These two different roles showed Hollywood that Peggy could handle comedy and drama with equal finesse.

Following a couple of more "B" pictures, Peggy suddenly retired after only three years in the business to marry Walter Helmerich in 1951. A non-professional whose career was in oil drilling, Helmerich and Peggy relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they raised five sons in the process.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Walter Helmerich III (1951 - 10 January 2012) ( his death) ( 5 children)

Trivia (4)

Once lived in Hollywood at "The Studio Club" which was a home for aspiring actresses run by Mrs. Cecil B. DeMille.
Retired to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Had five sons -- Rik, Zak, Mat, Hans and Jon -- and twelve grandchildren.
In 1998 she received an honorary degree from the University of Oklahoma for her devotion to improving health care education and cultural events in Tulsa. She helped establish the Tulsa Library Trust and the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award given each year to writers on behalf of the Tulsa community.
The University of Oklahoma School of Drama is named after Ms. Peggy Dow Helmerich.

Personal Quotes (1)

[describing what it was like to work at Universal, where she was under contract, as opposed to other studios] At Universal they wanted us to use as many of our own clothes and accessories as we could. The other studios, like RKO, made or purchased everything for us.

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