Dorothy Page
Date of Birth
Mar 04, 1904
Birth Place:
Northampton, PA

Biography

Blonde contralto Dorothy Page (née Dorothy Lillian Stofflett) has gone down in history as Hollywood's first, and only, singing cowgirl. She came to films in 1939 courtesy of producer Don Lieberman, who convinced the struggling Grand National that a cowgirl -- and a musical one at that -- was an idea whose time had come. A good choice as far as it went, Page had earned her spurs on NBC radio shows in Detroit, Chicago, and New York. A regular on humorist Irvin S. Cobb's 1935 radio program Paducah Plantation, she signed a contract with Universal later that year, making her screen debut in Manhattan Moon (1935), in which she sang "First Kiss," by Karl Hajos and E. Y. Harburg, to her leading man Ricardo Cortez. She shared the limelight with Edmond Lowe and the insufferable Pinky Tomlin in King Solomon of Broadway (1935), but her movie career had all but evaporated when she was offered the singing cowgirl gig at Grand National. That studio had recently lost its only true asset, James Cagney, and the powers that be were counting on the backwoods popularity of Tex Ritter and the novelty of Miss Page wearing a gun belt to turn things around. In retrospect, a singing B-Western heroine was an invention doomed to fail. Children, who by 1939 made up the majority of the audience for B-Westerns, barely tolerated the usual blushing prairie flower, much less a take-charge cowgirl who also sang. As it turned out, The Singing Cowgirl, the final of Dorothy Page's three music Westerns, proved the last in-house production released by Grand National. Her screen career at an impasse, Page married a Los Angeles attorney and retired from show business altogether. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Provided by Rovi