Former beauty contest winner, before going to Hollywood. Signed out of Southern Methodist University at age 18 by RKO studios, brunette (later blonde) leading lady Dorothy Malone made her film debut in "The Falcon and the Co-Ed" under her real last name Maloney. When she moved to Warner Bros. in 1945, she dropped the "y" and soon made her first impact as a nymphomaniac entertaining Humphrey Bogart one thundery afternoon in "The Big Sleep" (1946).
Early in her career, her roles consisted mainly of standard pretty girl leads, but it was as a fine dramatic actress that she made her mark, gaining acclaim in the 1950s for her strong, sensual portrayals of experienced, world-weary, sometimes neurotic women, notably in Douglas Sirks "Written on the Wind" (1956), for which she won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, and "Tarnished Angels" (1957). Dorothy also turned in a top-notch performance as a woman trapped by falling debris in "The Last Voyage" (1960), playing almost the entire movie with only her nose and occasionally her mouth above sea level.
A veteran of TV's "Golden Age", appearing in episodes of "The General Electric Theatre" and "Revlon Mirror Theatre" (both CBS), Malone did few films in the 60s, working instead as an aerialist in the series "The Greatest Show on Earth" (ABC, 1962-63) and then starring in the primetime serial "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1964-69) as Constance Mackenzie, a role she would reprise in two NBC movies, "Murder at Peyton Place" (1977) and "Peyton Place: The Next Generation" (1985).
She often complained that her character was not given enough to do in the series, and that Mia Farrow's character was monopolizing the story lines. She was quoted as saying, "I live much more drama and tragedy in my own life than I ever do on Peyton Place!" She was written out of show in 1968 and sued the series' producers.
By the 70s, the good feature parts were going elsewhere, but she carried on, eventually acting in the sci-fi flicks "The Day Time Ended" (1980) and "The Being" (1983) before taking a hiatus of nearly a decade. She returned briefly in the part of a murderous lesbian in "Basic Instinct" (1992), her last screen portrayal to date.
Dorothy is one of five children, her two older sisters died very young of complications from polio, and another younger brother was struck and killed by lightning while on a Dallas golf course. When she won the Oscar for Written on the Wind (1956), she dedicated the award to her late brother.
Married and divorced three times, Dorothy has 2 daughters.