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Dorothy Lamour

Dorothy Lamour

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1914-12-10

58 Movies · 4 TV Series

Biography

Mary Leta Dorothy Lamour (née Slaton; December 10, 1914 – September 22, 1996) was an American actress and singer. She is best remembered for having appeared in the Road to... movies, a series of successful comedies starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.Lamour began her career in the 1930s as a big band singer. In 1936, she moved to Hollywood, where she signed with Paramount Pictures. Her appearance as Ulah in The Jungle Princess (1936) brought her fame and marked the beginning of her image as the "Sarong Queen". In 1940, Lamour made her first Road series comedy film Road to Singapore. The Road series films were popular during the 1940s. The sixth film in the series, Road to Bali, was released in 1952. By this time, Lamour's screen career began to wane, and she focused on stage and television work. In 1961, Crosby and Hope teamed for The Road to Hong Kong, but actress Joan Collins was cast as the female lead. Lamour made a brief appearance and sang a song near the end of that film. In the 1970s, Lamour revived her nightclub act, and in 1980, released her autobiography My Side of the Road. She made her final movie appearance in 1987. Lamour married her second husband, William Ross Howard III, in 1943. They had two sons and remained married until Howard's death in 1978. Lamour died at her home in 1996 at the age of 81.

Personal Life

Lamour's first marriage was to orchestra leader Herbie Kay, whose orchestra Lamour sang with. The two married in 1935 and divorced in 1939.Early in her career, Lamour met J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to Hoover's biographer Richard Hack, Hoover pursued a romantic relationship with Lamour, and the two spent a night together at a Washington, D.C. hotel. When Lamour was later asked if she and Hoover had a sexual relationship, she replied: "I cannot deny it." In her autobiography My Side of the Road (1980), Lamour does not discuss Hoover in detail; she refers to him only as "a lifelong friend".On April 7, 1943, Lamour married Air Force captain and advertising executive William Ross Howard III in Beverly Hills. The couple had two sons: John Ridgely (January 1946–February 2018) and Richard Thomson Howard (born October 1949).In the 1960s and 1970s, Lamour and Howard lived in the Baltimore suburb of Sudbrook Park. She also owned a home in Palm Springs, California. Howard died in 1978.Lamour was a registered Republican who supported the presidency of Ronald Reagan as well as Reagan's re-election in 1984.

Early Life

Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton was born on December 10, 1914, in New Orleans, the daughter of Carmen Louise (née LaPorte; 1892–1930) and John Watson Slaton (1895–1963), both of whom were waiters. Lamour was of English, French and possibly also distant Irish descent. Her parents' marriage lasted only a few years. Her mother married for the second time to Clarence Lambour, whose surname Dorothy later adopted and modified as her stage name. That marriage also ended in divorce when Dorothy was a teenager. Lamour quit school at age 14. After taking a business course, she worked as a secretary to support herself and her mother. She began entering beauty pageants, was crowned Miss New Orleans in 1931, and went on to compete in Galveston's Pageant of Pulchritude. Miss Lamour was close friends with Dorothy Dell, who was in the Ziegfeld Follies. Lamour used the prize money to support herself while she worked in a stock theatre company. She and her mother later moved to Chicago. Lamour found a job working at Marshall Field's department store, working as an elevator operator at the age of 16. Her boss, Douglas Singleterry, referred to her as 'Dolly Face'; he also recalled that she'd spend a lot of her time auditioning around Chicago. She was discovered by orchestra leader Herbie Kay when he spotted her in performance at a Chicago talent show held at the Hotel Morrison. She had an audition the next day; Kay hired her as a singer for his orchestra and, in 1935, Lamour went on tour with him. Her work with Kay eventually led Lamour to vaudeville and work in radio. In 1935, she had her own 15-minute weekly musical program on NBC Radio. Lamour also sang on the popular Rudy Vallée radio show and The Chase and Sanborn Hour. On January 30, 1944, Lamour starred in "For This We Live", an episode of Silver Theater on CBS radio.

Movies & TV Series

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