12/10/1914 to 9/22/1996
Born with the birth name of Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was a beautiful child who turned heads as a teenager with her long dark hair. Her dream was to become a professional singer not actress. Derived her acting name name "Dorothy Lamour" from her step-father, whose surname was "Lambour".
After she won a beauty contest as Miss New Orleans in 1931, she headed to Chicago to find her work as a singer. For a time, Dorothy worked as an elevator operator in a department store before going on to become a vocalist in the Herbie Kay band. Kay became her first husband in 1935, but the marriage only lasted four years.
In addition to the band, Dorothy also sang on a Chicago radio program.
Dorothy was in Hollywood when she landed an uncredited bit part as a chorus girl in the musical Footlight Parade (1933). She didnt appear in films again until 1936 when she starred in College Holiday. Later that year she appeared in The Jungle Princess at Paramount. Dorothy stole the show in her wrap-around sarong, she became an instant star as the child of nature/female Tarzan, raised with a pet tiger among the tropical natives. Ray Milland starred opposite her as the man from civilization who woos and wins her. The scene where Milland is trying to teach her the word kiss is touching yet humorous. When he kisses her and tells her that is a kiss she runs away.
She went on to play similar parts in the sarong in productions including The Hurricane (1937), Typhoon (1940), Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942) and her final big-screen sarong feature, Donovan's Reef (1963). Although Dorothy actually only wore a sarong in six of her 59 pictures, it defined her career. The sarong stayed with her in the Bob Hope / Bing Crosby "Road" pictures for Paramount.
Dorothy was a great actress with roles in Disputed Passage (1939), Dixie (1943) and On Our Merry Way (1948). She could show great range in both comic and dramatic roles. After making three films in 1949, her career began to trail off. She only made ten films between 1951 and 1987.
She married twice and had two sons. Dorothy died at 81 of an undisclosed ailment on September 22, 1996 in Los Angeles, California.