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Dorothy Burgess

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dorothy Burgess
Burgess in 1930
Born(1907-03-04)March 4, 1907
DiedAugust 20, 1961(1961-08-20) (aged 54)
Resting placeChapel of the Pines Crematory, Los Angeles, California
Years active1926–1943

Dorothy Burgess (March 4, 1907 – August 20, 1961) was an American stage and motion-picture actress.

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Family, education

Born in Los Angeles in 1907, Burgess was a niece of Fay Bainter.[citation needed] On her father's side, she was related to David C. Montgomery of Montgomery and Stone. Her grandfather was Henry A. Burgess Sr. He came to Los Angeles in 1893, establishing a business at Terminal Island. His home was at 637 West 41st Place. He was born in England.[1] Her dad was H.A. (Burgie) Burgess, a pioneer air-transport executive. For a decade, he was an assistant to Harris M. (Pop) Hanshue, who founded Western Air Express (Western Airlines), and was its first president.[2] Burgess studied drawing, painting, and sculpture at Mrs. Dow's School in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Her talent in the three artistic disciplines was evident in the creative objects that decorated her Hollywood apartment. Burgess and her mother, Grace, resided in a home in Malibu, California, in 1932.[3]

Stage actress

Burgess made her stage debut in a walk-on role in support of her mother's sister, Bainter.[4] She first came to light as a specialty dancer in The Music Box Revue.[5] Burgess played a 17-year-old in the comedy, The Adorable Liar, which was staged at the 49th Street Theater in August 1926. It was her first appearance in New York City.

Dorothy Burgess

Her knowledge of the stage was proficient and she combined this with ample charm and attractiveness.[6] Burgess was co-featured in a stock company managed by George Cukor and George H. Kondolf at the Lyceum Theatre in Rochester, New York, during the summer of 1928. Her co-star was Henry Hull. The actors opened on Broadway on April 30.[7] She learned about being a character actor in stock, along with adapting her voice and mannerisms to each new role.[4]

Burgess was on Broadway in The Squall and played the title role in Lulu Belle;.[5] she was given star billing by David Belasco. The play was performed at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles in October 1929.[8] Burgess depicted a Mexican girl in The Broken Wing, a Paul Dickerson romantic comedy, staged at El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, in July 1931.[9] She was typecast as a Spanish woman so much that one reviewer commented that perhaps a Spanish onion or a Mexican chili pepper was in her family tree, but offstage, she was much more a typical American co-ed than the Carmenesque young ladies she often played.[10] She made Hollywood her permanent home, living at 210 South Fuller Avenue.[11]

Movie career

Fox Film acquired her services and she debuted in In Old Arizona (1928), the first of the outdoor talking films. Burgess portrayed the Mexican minx, who was desired by both Edmund Lowe and Warner Baxter.[4] A reviewer noted that her voice was good.[12] The first film made with the Movietone sound system, it was a romance of the old Southwest.[13]

In May 1929, two large lamps mounted on a tripod toppled over on a sound stage where Burgess was working at the Fox Movietone Studio. She was cut severely over her left eye by one of the incandescent lamps. Burgess was rushed to a studio hospital, where several stitches were taken in her wound.[14]

Burgess won the feminine lead in Beyond Victory (1931) after Ann Harding decided not to make the movie. The Pathé Pictures release featured William Boyd as the leading man.[15] In December 1931 Burgess signed with First National Pictures for a significant role in Play Girl (1932), which had a screen story by Maude Fulton. The movie was produced by Warner Bros. and First National.[16]

Burgess had a featured role as a romantic rival of Jean Harlow in Hold Your Man (1932), also starring Clark Gable. Burgess also appeared in Swing High (1930), Taxi! (1932), Ladies They Talk About (1933), Strictly Personal (1933), Headline Shooter (1933), Night Flight (1933), Black Moon (1934), and Miss Fane's Baby Is Stolen (1934).[5] Burgess acted with Lowe and Nancy Carroll in the Paramount Pictures release, I Love That Man (1933), directed by Harry Joe Brown and produced by Charles R. Rogers.[17] Burgess strained ligaments in her back and shoulders during filming at Universal Pictures studio in July 1933. She was performing fight scenes with Mary Carlisle and Sally O'Neil.[18]

Burgess appeared with Richard Barthelmess and Jean Muir in A Modern Hero (1934), which deals with a young circus rider.[19] Gambling (1934) starred George M. Cohan, and was produced by Harold B. Franklin at the Eastern Services Studios in Astoria, Queens. Burgess played the part of Dorothy Kane.[20] Her role as Trixie in The Lone Star Ranger (1942) represented a return to playing a dance-hall girl, as she did in In Old Arizona. The film was produced by 20th Century-Fox.[21]

Private life

Burgess became engaged to movie director Clarence Brown in 1932.[3] She was involved in a romance with wealthy New York jeweler Jules Galenzer in 1934.[22]

Manslaughter charge

Burgess was charged with manslaughter following an auto accident in which she was driving; 17-year-old Louise Manfredi died in the wreck, in San Francisco, on the night of December 23, 1932. Burgess, driving alone, collided with a car driven by 18-year-old Andrew Salz, a student at the University of California-Berkeley. Burgess's hearing was postponed and her bail was fixed at $50. She suffered from shock and was placed in a San Francisco sanitarium. Salz and Burgess each accused the other of responsibility for the accident.[23]

Burgess was sued by Louise Manfredi's parents, Italo and Marie Manfredi, in January 1933. They sought $25,000 in damages.[24] A compromise payment of $6,150 was approved by the San Francisco Superior Court in August 1933. Earlier, a compromise amounting to $6,000 was agreed upon for damages claimed by 18-year-old swimmer Betty Lou Davis, who was injured in the same accident.[25]


Dorothy Burgess was living in Palm Springs, California in May 1961 when she was hospitalized.[26] On August 20, 1961, she died of lung cancer at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.[27] She was 54. Her remains are in vaultage at Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.[28]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ "H.A. Burgess, Pioneer Merchant, Succumbs", Los Angeles Times, October 2, 1932, p. 9.
  2. ^ "H.A. Burgess, Pioneer Air Official, Ill", Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1960, p. B2.
  3. ^ a b "Star And Director Develop Romance", Los Angeles Times, January 26, 1932, p. A3.
  4. ^ a b c "Cussedness Rules Season", Los Angeles Times, December 23, 1928, p. C8
  5. ^ a b c "Who's Who In The Current Pictures", The New York Times, July 2, 1933, p. X2.
  6. ^ "The Adorable Liar Has Fine Exponent", The New York Times, August 31, 1926, p. 15.
  7. ^ "Dorothy Burgess As Star", The New York Times, April 30, 1928, p. 21.
  8. ^ "Actress' Success Brings Stardom", Los Angeles Times, October 26, 1929, p. A9.
  9. ^ "Miss Burgess Resumes Role of Senorita", Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1931, p. A9.
  10. ^ "Dorothy Just The Type", Los Angeles Times, August 9, 1931, p. 26.
  11. ^ "The Movieland Directory - Tour Location: 210 S Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, California". Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  12. ^ "Western Talkie Interests", Los Angeles Times, December 27, 1928, Page A13.
  13. ^ "Current Films", Los Angeles, December 30, 1928, Page C17.
  14. ^ "Actress Struck by Falling Lamp on Sound Stage", Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1929, p. A10.
  15. ^ "Dorothy Burgess Wins Lead", Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1930, p. A8.
  16. ^ "Dorothy Burgess In It", Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1931, p. 7.
  17. ^ "Production Started", Los Angeles Times, February 16, 1933, p. A6
  18. ^ "Injured Actress Collapses on Set", Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1933, p. A1
  19. ^ "Happy Endings New Demand of Popular Actor", Los Angeles Times, June 20, 1934, p. 10
  20. ^ "Screen Notes", The New York Times, December 3, 1934, p. 14
  21. ^ "Greasepaint's Lure Too Strong For Jane Bryan?", Los Angeles Times, September 8, 1941, p. 22
  22. ^ "Around and About in Hollywood", Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1934, p. 10
  23. ^ "Film Star, Accused In Fatal Crash, Ill", The New York Times, December 24, 1932, p. 10.
  24. ^ "Actress Sued in Auto Death", Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1933, p. 10.
  25. ^ "Actress Settles Damage Claims", Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1933, p. 1
  26. ^ "Dorothy Burgess Seriously Ill", Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1961, p. 11.
  27. ^ "Dorothy Burgess Dies of Cancer At Chatsworth." Desert Sun, 2 Sept. 1961, p. 4
  28. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-2599-7. Retrieved September 21, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 May 2024, at 04:41
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