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Dorothy Ford Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Perris, California, USA
Died in Canoga Park, California, USA
Birth NameDorothy J. Ford
Height 5' 11¾" (1.82 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dorothy Ford was born April 4, 1922, in Perris, CA, and raised in San Francisco and Santa Barbara (CA) and Tucson, AZ. During school she appeared in several pageants, and after graduation went into modeling. Standing 6'2 and with measurements of 38-26-38-1/2, she was a natural for photographic work.

Her first job was in San Francisco when Billy Rose cast her in his "Aquacade," along with Johnny Weissmuller, and she was an Earl Carroll showgirl, appearing in various revues including "Something to Shout About" and "Star Spangled Glamour". Ford's physical features and her exceptional good looks quickly brought her to the attention of casting offices, and she made her screen debut as a model in Lady in the Dark (1944). MGM put her under contract in 1943, casting her in two musicals, Thousands Cheer (1943) (with Red Skelton) and Broadway Rhythm (1944). Her other appearances that year included Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), Meet the People (1944), Bathing Beauty (1944) and The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) (with William Powell and Myrna Loy). She was seen in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) as part of an onscreen performing act and in King Vidor's An American Romance (1944) before she left MGM in 1945.

Dorothy studied at the Actors' Lab, the West Coast version of New York City's Group Theater. She had a much fuller role in her Universal Pictures' debut with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Here Come the Co-eds (1945), which finally gave her a chance to really act. Playing the captain of a women's basketball team appearing as ringers in a college game, she exuded a bold confidence as well as a shy streak, and stole every scene she was in.

She briefly returned to modeling in Rio de Janeiro, as part of South America's first post-war fashion show. It was there that she met Gen. Mark W. Clark, who testified that "this is the first girl I've ever seen who could go bear hunting armed with a switch." In 1946 she returned to MGM and appeared in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946), playing a co-ed who doesn't have a date for the college dance and is unexpectedly matched up with Mickey Rooney. The height difference between Ford and the 5'2" Rooney made for laughs at the homecoming dance, which was the highlight of the film. This was also Dorothy's first major role to play off her height (in the film, she was wearing four-inch heels, and in publicity stills from the studio her height was listed as 6'6"). By that time she was often referred to in press releases as a "Glamazon." and she was outspoken in encouraging more tall women to stand up for themselves, advising female readers that "if nature has made you tall, then be good and tall." During the 1940s, in an era in which Maureen O'Hara was regarded as formidable at 5'8", Dorothy, at 6'2" and 145 pounds, was regarded as one of the most strikingly beautiful women in Hollywood.

She appeared in a New York stage production of "The Big People" (which played off her height in a positive way) and in 1948 was back in Hollywood in an unusual independently-made anthology film, On Our Merry Way (1948). In 1949 she was cast in John Ford's 3 Godfathers (1948) and given the very interesting part of the potential love interest of John Wayne. That same year she was married to James Sterling, a personnel man, in Las Vegas, NV. However, just over a month later she obtained an annulment of her marriage in Ventura, CA, on the grounds that they were both drunk at the time. Her Superior Court suit said the two never lived together after the rites, and she didn't know that she was a bride until two days after the ceremony. Sterling did not contest the suit.

As the 1950s began Dorothy's career slowed down considerably, and her biggest role of the decade came in the Abbott & Costello fantasy-comedy Jack and the Beanstalk (1952). Evidently, Lou Costello liked Ford and appreciated her sense of humor, because he later put her in an episode of their TV series The Abbott and Costello Show (1952). She made various television appearances throughout the 1950s, including +"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (1954)_ and _"The Red Skelton Show" (1954)_. In April of 1952 she married Thomas B. Chambers, an automobile sales manager and tennis star. In 1953 she became pregnant, but was hospitalized after losing the baby. She and Chambers divorced in 1954.

After an appearance in The Bowery Boys vehicle Feudin' Fools (1952), Ford's screen career started to wind down, but her remaining roles were in some surprisingly high-visibility films. John Wayne cast her in a small role in _The High and the Mighty (1954)_ )qv_ as a glamour girl with her hooks into 'Phil Harris', and Billy Wilder used her in the opening segment of The Seven Year Itch (1955). Dorothy appeared in several lower-budget films over the next few years, then faded out of movies in 1962 but remained involved with the movie business even after giving up acting, joining MGM as a technician in the studio's film lab in 1965. She was married for 30 years to actor Mike Ragan (born Hollis Alan "Holly" Bane), and they retired to Marina Del Rey, CA, until his death in 1995. She passed away in Canoga Park, CA, on October 15, 2010 at the age of 88.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: mgnylander@yahoo.com (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (3)

Mike Ragan (6 November 1965 - 25 August 1995) ( his death)
Thomas B. Chambers (23 April 1952 - 15 April 1954) ( divorced)
James Sterling (29 April 1949 - 1 June 1949) ( annulled)

Trade Mark (2)

Towering Height
Rich, smooth voice

Trivia (2)

Was unusually tall, at 6'2".
Made her debut at Billy Rose's Aquacade in San Francisco. In 1945 she was featured for three months at the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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