Real name: Angeline Brown
Birthdate: September 30, 1931
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Dickinson, the second of three daughters, was born Angeline Brown in Kulm, North Dakota, to Frederica and Leo H. Brown, who was a small-town newspaper publisher and editor. Dickinson's first job was selling Hershey's Kisses for five cents, so her sisters could buy ice cream cones. In 1942, her family moved to Burbank, California. She graduated from Bellamarine Jefferson High School in 1947, at 15 years of age. The previous year, she won the Sixth Annual Bill of Rights essay contest. She studied at Glendale Community College and in 1954 graduated from Immaculate Heart College with a degree in business. Taking a cue from her publisher father, she originally intended to be a writer. While a student, 1950-52, she worked as a secretary at the Burbank Airport (now Bob Hope Airport) and in a parts factory.
She eventually, albeit reluctantly, became a notable Hollywood sex symbol. She also starred in B-movies early on, mostly westerns, including Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957) co-starring onscreen with actor James Garner, which earned her more respect from the industry. It was another western that propelled her into Hollywood's A-list, Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo (1959), in which she played a flirtatious gambler named Feathers who is almost locked up by the town sheriff played by her childhood idol John Wayne. The film co-starred Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. When Hawks sold his personal contract with her to a major studio without her knowledge, she was understandably peeved and her hopes that the legendary director would mould her into the next Lauren Bacall seemed dashed.
After appearing in TV mini-series like Pearl (1978), Dickinson returned to the big screen in Brian De Palma's thriller Dressed to Kill (1980), which earned her a 1981 Saturn Award for Best Actress. Loved by some and derided by others (largely for its violence and a certain crassness), the film featured Dickinson in a 35-minute role early in the film which ends with her character's brutal murder in an elevator. Critics hailed her performance and today the film is viewed as a serious example of the macabre genre, with her silent stalking through the maze of a New York City museum being one of the film's stylistic highlights.
Despite the career highs of Police Woman in the '70s and Dressed to Kill in 1980, Dickinson's focus as an actress now had begun to wane somewhat — in the 60s and early 70s, no one questioned her ability.
During the first decade of the new millenium, she played an alcoholic homeless mother to Helen Hunt in Pay it Forward (2000) with Kevin Spacey; mother to Gwyneth Paltrow in Duets (2000); and as Arliss Howard's mother in the critically well-received though little-seen Big Bad Love (2001) with Debra Winger. She appeared in the original Ocean's Eleven (1960) with Frank Sinatra, and in the 2001 version with George Clooney, a remake of a Rat Pack heist film in which she had appeared four decades earlier. In the summer of 2004, she appeared on the 2nd season of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. After announcing her name, host Dave Foley said "Sometimes, when we say Celebrity, we actually mean it."
Golden Globe Award wins Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Drama Series :
- 1975 - Police Woman