Dorothy Dell ~ The Doomed Starlet

Dorothy Dell

Dorothy Dell was a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who seemed destined for stardom before dying young in a car accident.

She was born Dorothy Dell Goff on January 30, 1915 in Hattiesburg Mississippi. At the age of one she was named the most beautiful baby in Hattiesburg. Her mother claimed to be a descendant of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President. The family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1925. Dorothy attended Sophie Wright high school where she became best friends with Dorothy Lamour. The two young girls dreamed of becoming actresses together. When she was a teenager she started entering beauty pageants. After winning the Miss New Orleans pageant she was crowned Miss Universe in 1930. Then she began performing in vaudeville. Florenz Ziegfeld saw her on stage and asked her to join the Ziegfeld Follies. She was known for her lovely singing voice and her perfect figure. The shapely blonde was five feet, six inches tall and weighed 122 pounds. While appearing in the show she fell in love with singer Russ Columbo but he broke her heart. Dorothy also had a brief romance with boxer Jack Demspey. In 1932 she was badly injured in a car accident and had to be hospitalized for several weeks. Soon after she recovered she broke her leg during a Follies performance.

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Dorothy Dell

She made her film debut in the 1932 short Passing The Buck. Dorothy was signed by Paramount in 1933 and given a supporting role in the drama Wharf Angel. Her performance earned rave reviews and critics predicted she would become a big star. Then she costarred with Shirley Temple in Little Miss Marker and with Jack Oakie in Shoot The Works. She said "I am going to be a real actress. Not just one more actress, but a real, honest-to-goodness actress." In the Spring of 1934 it was announced she would play the female lead in the drama Now and Forever. Dorothy became engaged to a caricaturist named Nat Carson and began planning her wedding. On June 8, 1934 she attended a party in Altadena with her friend Dr. Carl Wagner. While driving home at 1:00 AM the car hit a telephone pole and flipped over several times. Tragically nineteen year old Dorothy was killed instantly. Dr. Wagner, who had been driving the car, died several hours later. She is buried at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her role in Now And Forever was given to Carole Lombard.

 
 
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Dorothy Dell Article

Dorothy appeared in:
Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 (Jul 01, 1931 - Nov 21, 1931)