Dorothy Wellman

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Dorothy Wellman
Born Dorothy Coonan
(1913-11-25)November 25, 1913
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died September 16, 2009(2009-09-16) (aged 95)
Brentwood, California
Occupation Actress/Dancer
Years active 1929-1945
Spouse(s) William Wellman
(m.1934–1975; his death; 7 children)

Dorothy Coonan Wellman (November 25, 1913 - September 16, 2009) was an American actress and dancer. Wellman was the widow of film director William Wellman, to whom she was married from 1934 until his death in 1975.[1] Wellman cast her in several of his films.

Early life[edit]

Wellman was born Dorothy Coonan in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1] She moved to Los Angeles, California with her family as a child.[1]


Her career as a dancer began at the age of 14 with Warner Brothers Studios.[1] Her early film credits as an on-screen dancer and actress included small, uncredited parts in such early talkies as The Broadway Melody (1929), Whoopee! (1930), Kiki (1931) and Palmy Days (1931). Her best-known films were 42nd Street (1933) and Gold Diggers of 1933.[1] Many of the films in which she appeared were choreographed by Busby Berkeley.[1]

Career highlight[edit]

Film director William Wellman cast Coonan as "Sally" in his 1933 film, Wild Boys of the Road.[1] This was the only role she played in which she was credited or had a character with a name. She makes an uncredited appearance in Wellman's The Story of G.I. Joe, as an army nurse nicknamed Red who marries a soldier on the battlefield, only to be widowed shortly afterwards.

Later life and death[edit]

A relationship soon followed and Coonan and Wellman were married in 1934.[1] The couple remained married until she was widowed on December 19, 1975.

Dorothy Wellman died in Brentwood, California at the age of 95 in 2009.[1] She was survived by her seven children, twenty-two grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Dorothy Wellman dies at 95". Variety Magazine. 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 

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