Nationality: American. Born: Angeline Brown in Kulm, North Dakota, 30 September 1931. Education: Attended parochial schools; Immaculate Heart College; Glendale College, California. Family: Married 1) Gene Dickinson (divorced 1959); 2) the composer Burt Bacharach, 1965 (divorced 1980), daughter: Nikki. Career: Early 1950s—secretary at aircraft company while taking bit parts in TV and acting lessons; 1954—film debut in Lucky Me; 1962—Broadway appearance in The Perfect Setup; 1974—guest in episode of TV series Police Story; asked to star in spin-off series Police Woman, 1974–78; 1978—in TV mini-series Pearl; 1982—in TV series Cassie & Company; 1985—in TV mini-series Hollywood Wives, and Wild Palms, 1993; also former Mayor of Universal City, California. Address: c/o Dorothy Howe, 1524 Walgrove Avenue, Mar Vista, CA 90066, U.S.A.
Films as Actress:
Lucky Me (Donahue) (as party guest)
Man with the Gun (Man without a Gun; The Trouble Shooter) (Wilson) (as Kitty); Tennessee's Partner (Dwan) (as girl); The Return of Jack Slade (Texas Rose) (Schuster) (as Polly Logan)
Hidden Guns (Gannaway) (as Becky Carter); Tension at Table Rock (Warren) (as Cathy); Gun the Man Down (Arizona Mission) (McLaglen) (as Janice); The Black Whip (Warren) (as Sally)
Run of the Arrow (Hot Lead) (Fuller) (as dubbed voice of Yellow Moccasin, played by Sarita Montiel); Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (Bare) (as Priscilla); China Gate (Fuller) (as Lucky Legs); Calypso Joe (Dein)
Cry Terror (Andrew L. Stone) (as Eileen Kelly); I Married a Woman (Kanter) (as wife of John Wayne character in film-within-film)
Rio Bravo (Hawks) (as Feathers); I'll Give My Life (Claxton); Frontier Rangers (Jacques Tourneur—for TV)
Ocean's Eleven (Milestone) (as Beatrice Ocean); The Sins of Rachel Cade (Rachel Cade) (Gordon Douglas) (title role); The Bramble Bush (Petrie) (as Fran)
A Fever in the Blood (Sherman) (as Cathy Simon)
Rome Adventure (Lovers Must Learn) (Daves) (as Lyda); Jessica (La Sage-femme, le curé et le bon Dieu) (Negulesco) (title role)
Captain Newman, M.D. (David Miller) (as Lt. Francie Corum)
The Art of Love (Jewison) (as Laurie)
Cast a Giant Shadow (Shavelson) (as Emma Marcus); Danger Grows Wild (The Poppy Is Also a Flower) (Terence Young) (as Linda Benson); The Chase (Arthur Penn) (as Ruby Calder)
Point Blank (Boorman) (as Chris); The Last Challenge (Pistolero of Red River) (Thorpe) (as Lisa Denton)
Some Kind of a Nut (Kanin) (as Rachel Amidon); Sam Whiskey (Laven) (as Laura Breckinridge); Young Billy Young (Who Rides with Kane) (Kennedy) (as Lily Beloit)
The Love War (McCowan—for TV)
Pretty Maids All in a Row (Vadim) (as Miss Smith); The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler (Wynn) (as Dr. Johnson); Thief (Graham—for TV) (as Jean Melville); See the Man Run (Corey Allen—for TV)
Un Homme est morte (Funerale a Los Angeles; The Outside Man) (Deray) (as Jackie Kovacs); The Norliss Tapes (Curtis—for TV)
Big Bad Mama (Carver) (as Wilma McClatchie); Pray for the Wildcats (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV)
A Sensitive, Passionate Man (Newland—for TV); Le Labyrinthe (Labyrinths)
Overboard (Newland—for TV)
L'Homme en colère (The Angry Man) (Pinoteau) (as Karen); The Suicide's Wife (A New Life) (Newland—for TV) (title role)
Klondike Fever (Jack London's Klondike Fever) (Carter) (as Belinda McNair); Dressed to Kill (De Palma) (as Kate Miller)
Death Hunt (Hunt) (as Vanessa); Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (Clive Donner) (as Dragon Queen); Dial M for Murder (Segal—for TV) (as Margot Wendice)
One Shoe Makes It Murder (William Hale—for TV)
A Touch of Scandal (Nagy—for TV) (as Katherine Gilvay); Jealousy (Bloom—for TV) (as Georgia/Laura/Ginny)
Big Bad Momma II (Wynorski) (as Wilma McClatchie); Police Story: The Freeway Killings (Graham—for TV) (as Off. Anne Cavanaugh); Stillwatch (Holcomb—for TV)
Once upon a Texas Train (Kennedy—for TV) (as Maggie)
Fire and Rain (Jameson—for TV) (as Beth Mancini); Prime Target (Robert Collins—for TV)
Treacherous Crossing (Wharmby—for TV) (as Beverly Thomas)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Van Sant) (as Miss Adrian)
The Crossing Guard (Sean Penn); The Maddening (Danny Huston); Sabrina (Pollack) (as Ingrid Tyson)
The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Creed) (as Abbie); Remembrance (Rooney—for TV) (as Margaret Fullerton)
The Don's Analyst (Jablin—for TV); Deep Family Secrets; Sealed with a Kiss (Lagomarsino) (as Lucille Ethridge)
Pay It Forward (Leder)
By DICKINSON: articles—
Interview in Photoplay (London), January 1985.
Interview in Los Angeles Magazine, April 1985.
"Surrogate," interview in New Yorker, 9 December 1991.
"Angie Dickinson Nearly Bares It All," interview with Alan Carter, in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 14 May 1993.
"Thoroughly Modern Angie," interview with George Wayne, in Vanity Fair (New York), April 1995.
On DICKINSON: book—
Zenka, Lorraine, Angie Dickinson, New York, 1992.
On DICKINSON: articles—
Lester, Peter, "Redress or Undress? Feminists Fume While Angie Scores in Sexy Thriller," in People Weekly (New York), 15 September 1980.
Ciné Revue (Paris), 9 October 1980 and 22 June 1984.
Current Biography 1981, New York, 1981.
Haller, Scot, "Sex and the Single Star," in People Weekly (New York), 25 February 1985.
Reed, J. D., "Still Sexy After All These Years," in People Weekly (New York), 24 May 1993.
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Like James Caan, Angie Dickinson has never equaled, let alone surpassed, the impression she made early in her career in a Howard Hawks movie, in her case Rio Bravo, though she has given numerous sympathetic performances for other directors. It is a striking phenomenon that many stars have given their most vivid, most definitive performances under Hawks's direction. That is not to suggest that Dickinson's "Feathers" was somehow Hawks's creation, yet one must lament the fact that Dickinson, one of the most potentially (and, in Rio Bravo, actually) vibrant presences of Hollywood cinema since the late 1950s, has so seldom worked with good directors, or directors responsive to her very distinctive personality. Hawks was never interested in what is commonly known as "great acting," and that is not the issue here. The knack he had with actors was that of eliciting an aliveness of response, not simply to his direction but in mutual interplay. Hence, in Rio Bravo one cannot really talk of Dickinson's performance in isolation. The inexhaustible delight of her scenes with John Wayne derives, not from "acting," but from the way they play off each other to create one of the quintessential Hawksian male/female relationships: his silence, stoicism, stiffness, apparent impregnability, set against her continuous nervous talk, emotionalism, spontaneity, vulnerability. Her characterization becomes one of the strategies in the film for developing an affectionate and ironic critique of the Wayne character and the Wayne persona.
It is sad that, with Dickinson yet again, Hawks adhered to his weird principle of never using the same female star twice in a leading role (Lauren Bacall the solitary exception, perhaps because of her partnership with Bogart). Dickinson made a strong impression both before Rio Bravo (Samuel Fuller's China Gate) and after (Arthur Penn's The Chase, where her presence transforms what is basically a very conventional role); even reduced to the ignominy of playing a decadent femme fatale bent on seducing Troy Donahue (Rome Adventure), she is not negligible; and her presence added an extra dimension to the complex (or confused) sexual politics of De Palma's Dressed to Kill. But the magic of her "Feathers" has never quite been recaptured: if she never appeared again, she would deserve a niche in cinema history for that alone.