Dorothy Hale ~ The Depressed Socialite

 Dorothy Hale

Dorothy Hale was an actress and socialite who tragically committed suicide.

She was born Dorothy Anderson Donovan on January 11, 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Her father, James P. Donovan, was a successful real estate agent. Dorothy was educated at a convent and attended drama school. When she was a teenager she ran away from home to become an actress. Her first professional job was in the 1924 Broadway musical Lady Be Good. She appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies but left the show when she was injured falling down a flight of stairs. Then she decided to move to France to study art. Dorothy married Gaillard Thomas, a millionaire stockbroker, in 1925. They divorced a few years later. In 1929 she married Gardner Hale, a successful painter. The couple had homes in Paris and New York. She became a popular socialite and was called one of the best dressed women in the country. Sadly on December 28, 1931 Gardner was killed in a car accident. The following year she met producer Samuel Goldwyn at a dinner party. He said she was a "great movie find" and announced she would play the lead in Cynara.

Dorothy HaleDorothy Hale

Unfortunately she was replaced by Kay Francis and only had a bit part in the film. Then she appeared in the 1934 drama. Her friend Claire Booth Luce cast her in the play Abide By Me. The show was a flop and her performance was panned. By 1937 her acting career was over and she was nearly bankrupt. Dorothy was devastated when her close friend Rosamond Pinchot committed suicide. During the Spring of 1938 she started dating Harry Hopkins, an advisor to President Roosevelt. When he refused to marry her she fell into a deep depression. On October 20, 1938 she had a small party in her Manhattan apartment and attended the theater with some friends. After returning home she spent several hours writing farewell notes. Tragically at 5:15 A.M. on October 21 she committed suicide by jumping out of her sixteenth floor window. The thirty-three year old was still wearing her black evening gown and a flower corsage.. Dorothy was cremated and her ashes were buried at Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium in Middle Village, New York. Artist Frieda Kahlo later immortalized her in the painting "The Suicide Of Dorothy Hale".

Dorothy Hale SuicideDorothy Hale Suicide

Dorothy Hale Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo's Painting