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I watched Designing Woman today and realized just how fun Dolores Grey was. I hopped over to IMDB and saw she did just a few films but, as they put it, "lived the high life for most of her time on earth.".

She was so much fun to watch in this movie and in The Opposite Sex. I wish she had a longer career in Hollywood.

 

Anyone know or remember some good stories about this woman?

 

Thanks,

Monty

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Hi Monty,

 

How's Dortmund? Are you getting assimulated?

 

Dolores Gray was a great friend of mine. I saw her mostly in New York City but also in London and on board ship a couple of times.

I have written about her in my thread "Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences". You can check it out there.

She died about 4 years ago but was still seen out and about in her sables and limousine about 2 weeks before her death. It was a great shock to us all.....

Even though she only made 4 movies, she could 'out movie star' the best of them!!!!!!

 

Larry

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Hi Larry,

 

I was hoping you would reply with some inside info. Thanks. I will check your thread again and see if I find more.

 

Dortmund is great. They have the world's largest man made xmas tree here and about 300 stands selling everything imaginable. The season is in full swing here and I am beginning my third month of my German language course. 3 1/2 more to go and I will be able to say I know the language (I hope). It is intense, 4 hours a day, five days a week.

 

Monty

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I love the idea of a Dolores Gray thread, so if you don't mind I'm going to link Larry's thread to this, in hopes that others will come to know this thread as the place for all Gray.

 

http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?messageID=6126223#6126223

 

On her birthday last June I posted, asking if anyone has seen Lady for a Night. Supposedly Miss Gray has an uncredited role as a singer, and I'd love to hear about it from someone who's seen it.

 

It's always such a surprise when she pops up as the chanteuse in Mrs. Skeffington with Bette Davis and Claude Rains. As I recall, she has no spoken lines, but is just belting out the song in the background. As usual though, the audience's eye is drawn to her (Bette Davis must have hated her!).

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Hi,

 

Jack -

Thanks for the link up to Dolores on my thread.

I think Dolores got along well with Bette Davis as she (D) introduced her (B) to Gary Merrill when Bette got "All About Eve". I've seen a picture in a movie magazine in the early 50's with D & B & G all clubbing together...

 

Monty-

German is pretty difficult but the more you practice the better. I sometimes am hesitant to launch into my German as it's been ages since I had to get by on it. But, I did use it last September in Frankfurt when I went to Russia (had to change planes in that big busy airport)...

 

I just got back from lunch with my mother today and mentioned Dolores to her. She chuckled, "Well, there was a full fledged movie queen!"... and "I wonder what happened to all of Andrew's horses? Dead, I guess"...

Dolores' husband had raised and raced thoroughbred horses and was in good with the Aga Khan's group; I think they traded and bought and sold horses for years.

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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Jack,

Your mention of Dolores Gray's appearance as the speakeasy singer in Mrs Skeffington reminded me that in his dvd commentary of that film, the late director Vincent Sherman speaks of her with affection. He mentions finding her charming and a bit shy (Dolores Gray??). Ms. Gray's nascent talent and appeal were apparently evident even then, when she was a relatively anonymous struggling young chanteuse. Of course, she'd been appearing on stage since she was 14, so maybe she wasn't such a newcomer. Btw, Mr. Sherman's commentary track for that film is quite entertaining, though he does exercise an older gentleman's perogative, and rambles and repeats himself a bit. Ah well, don't we all?

 

If anyone's interested in her singing, the library is often a good resource for recordings of some of her best Broadway work, such as Carnival in Flanders with John Raitt, or her turn in Annie Get Your Gun . Spotlight on Dolores Gray is a delightful remastered cd that's available on the internet. It contains many of the lady's recordings from her Broadway days including a personal favorite "How Will He Know?" from the forgotten Comden & Green musical Two on the Aisle. Fortunately, many of the people who've heard the lady sing or seen her meager four movies are unlikely to forget her.

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I wish that Dolores Gray had made more films. I love her in The Opposite Sex, a guilty pleasure of mine. She looks fantastic in all those highly structured 1950's gowns!

 

moira, I didn't realize that Ms. Gray was a Broadway star. I will seek out that cd you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!

 

Sandy K

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Sandy,

 

Dolores was indeed a Broadway star and a West End London star too!! She was one of the first Americans to go to London. Years later Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable and Angela Lansbury followed her. Of course Tallulah started it all in the 20's.

 

Also, Dolores was quite a spectacular clothes horse and wore showstopping gowns in her supper club engagements.

The last time I saw her, she went to the Lincoln Center and she dazzled the crowds dressed in a yellow satin evening gown and rubies and a floor length black sable coat. Many in the audience applauded her entrance and she wasn't even the star of the show.

That's my girl!!!!

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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I love this woman!! Incredible talent. I met her many years ago at a swanky party after the first performance of "Sherry" in Philly. This was a musical version of "The Man Who Came to Dinner." When she belted out the title tune, it stayed belted. It's too bad she came in on the tale end of the Hollywood musical era. I wonder what her Hollywood career would have been like if she'd hit in the 40's.

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"It's too bad she came in on the tale end of the Hollywood musical era. I wonder what her Hollywood career would have been like if she'd hit in the 40's."

 

But she did hit in the 1940's. She was in Mrs. Skeffington. Now why she wasn't snapped up and given the star treatment is the mystery; and maybe Larry knows the answer. I'm assuming Broadway called instead. And if she was at Warner's, maybe they didn't want to put the money into a musical career. To bad she didn't begin over at MGM.

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Jack,

 

I don't think Dolores was really interested in movies. She adored the live audience and the immediate feedback - all that applause.

When Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney were on Broadway, I heard Dolores telling Annie, "See what I mean about the love that comes across the footlights. The applause is like ambrosia and a tonic"....

 

Plus Dolores had a mother, 'The Beast of Broadway', and she thought that there was more money in revues, plays TV and cabaret.

Dolores was a top moneymaker and it wasn't from her MGM contract, which Mama declared was peanuts!!

Dolores was one of the richest entertainers in the 40's and 50's and then married a multimillionaire in the 60's. She and her husband had more money than Merle Oberon & Bruno Pagliai or Ann Miller and her 2 millionaires & multimillionaire husbands.

 

So a movie career in the 40's may have spoiled all that. My opinion (2 cents worth).

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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To be honest, I don't know if Dolores would have done well at MGM even had she been available for films in the 1940s. MGM may have been known for its' musicals, but statuesque 'n sexy Dolores hardly fit the "Girl Next Door"/Ingenue image of the Garlands, Graysons, Allysons and Powells which this most conservative and provincial of studios saw as potential stars during this period.

 

In fact, while I recall several talented musical ladies who didn't fit that "Girl Next Door" image appearing in Metro musicals during the 1940s (e.g., Angela Lansbury, Ann Miller, Nancy Walker, Betty Garrett, etc.), none of them became major stars of the level of an Allyson or Garland, and many were relegated to "specialty" roles in major musical films at best. I guess one might consider Betty Garrett an exception, since she reportedly was on the verge of being starred in MGM's version of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN when she left the studio, but she's the only one of that breed that I can recall offhand.

 

As for Grey stories, I recall that Mary Martin speaks of her with great admiration in her memoir, MY HEART BELONGS. As a young girl, Dolores was one of the group of young girl dancers Martin coached in either Texas or Hollywood (she dubbed them "The Martinettes" or something like that.)

 

When Martin's own performing career began to take off, she had to give up her dancing studio/students, but recalled one young girl, who was rather plump and stoutish, but "had a most exciting voice. When she sang 'How Deep Is The Ocean' it was the deepest ocean in the world and the sky was the highest sky." Martin recalled that her plump slightly awkward student grew into the stunning and glamorous Dolores Gray and obviously was (understandably) quite proud of Dolores's success.

 

Anyway, although I don't love all the musical films in which Dolores appeared, I do love Dolores in them. The lady not only had a "verce," she had STYLE. Just to see that bit in "Thanks a Lot But No Thanks" when she dynamites the men vying for her favors makes IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER worth a look, not to mention her constantly funny reading of the line: "Little Angie Ballantine from...Schenectady." VIVA DOLORES!

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Hey, Markus. You're absolutely right now that I think of it. Dolores might have been a bit TOO special-looks wise to succeed at Metro in the 40's. Maybe wishful thinking on my part.She was just so incredibly special-I just wish she'd done more films. She's the sole reason for seeing "Kismet." Although I do like Ann Blyth in anything, also!

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Hello Everyone,

 

Just a "heads-up" - -

 

"It's Always Fair Weather" is playing on TCM on December 13th at 8:00PM EST (10:00PM MST).

If you want to see quintessential Dolores Gray with her big number 'Thanks A Lot, But No Thanks' then tune in then.....

 

Happy viewing.

 

Larry

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