Who Is Angie Dickinson?
Actress Angie Dickinson's breakthrough film performance was in Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo. In the 1970s, she starred on the television series Police Woman. In 1980, Dickinson appeared in Brian DePalma's film Dressed To Kill. She later starred in the 1993 miniseries Wild Palms. Her later film work includes Pay It Forward (2000) and Big Bad Love (2001).
Dickinson was born Angeline Brown on September 30, 1931, in Kulm, North Dakota. She is one of three daughters. Her father worked as a newspaper editor. Around the age of 10, she moved with her family to California. Dickinson attended Glendale College and Immaculate Heart College. At Glendale College, she met Gene Dickinson, a star on the school's football team. The pair soon began dating and went on to marry in 1952. (They would divorce in 1959.)
Now known as Angie Dickinson, she first worked as a secretary after college. A beauty pageant win opened up a new career for her. After her victory, Dickinson appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour, and then decided to pursue a career in acting.
Film and Television Career
Dickinson made the rounds on television and eventually started to receive small acting parts. Her breakthrough role came in Howard Hawks' western drama Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne and Dean Martin. Her portrayal of Feathers, a sultry saloon girl, helped establish her as an emerging sex symbol.
Dickinson, however, was unable to capitalize on this success. She was under contract to Hawks, but he sold her contract to Warner Brothers. At Warner Brothers, she was relegated to supporting roles. She played the wife of Frank Sinatra's character in the comedy crime caper Ocean's Eleven (1960). A later move to Universal did little to advance Dickinson's film career. One notable role from this period was the crime drama The Killers (1964), in which she co-starred with Lee Marvin and John Cassavetes. Dickinson also worked with Marlon Brando on 1966's The Chase.
In the 1970s, Dickinson tackled her own iconic role: playing Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on the crime series Police Woman. The character first appeared on an episode of Police Story in 1973 and was spun off into a new series the following year. Pepper Anderson was a groundbreaking role, paving the way for other female actresses in television. "Before me, women were always funny, or they were just tough," Dickinson explained to Entertainment Weekly, "Pepper was really a first. She was sexual, funny and in control." Police Woman went off the air in 1978.
Around the same time as Police Woman's debut, Dickinson appeared in Roger Corman's Big Bad Mama with William Shatner and Tom Skerritt. Stills from her sex scene with Shatner raised eyebrows and reinforced her image as a sex symbol. Not long after Police Woman ended, Dickinson once again channeled her seductive powers in Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980). Two years later, she returned to series television with the short-lived Cassie & Co.
After numerous television movies and guest appearances, Dickinson made a bigger splash on the small screen with the 1993 miniseries Wild Palms. She played a seductive villain on the show, which was directed and produced by Oliver Stone. Since then, she has appeared infrequently in films and on television, including small roles in 2000's Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, and 2001's Big Bad Love with Debra Winger.
One of Hollywood's most alluring stars, Dickinson is rumored to have been involved with a number of well-known figures, ranging from Sinatra to President John F. Kennedy. She was married to composer Burt Bacharach from 1965 to 1981. They had a daughter, Lea Nikki, in 1966. Known as "Nikki," their daughter committed suicide in 2007, following a decades-long struggle with vision problems and Asperger's syndrome.
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