Dorothy Page (actress)

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Dorothy Page
Born Dorothy Lillian Stofflett
(1904-03-04)March 4, 1904
Northampton, Pennsylvania
Died March 26, 1961(1961-03-26) (aged 57)
LaBelle, Florida
Occupation Film actress, singer
Spouse(s) Waldo Shipton,
Frederick D. Leuschner,
Henry Clark McCormick

Dorothy Page, dubbed "The Singing Cowgirl", born Dorothy Lillian Stofflett in Northampton, Pennsylvania (March 4, 1904 – March 26, 1961), was a B-movie actress during the 1930s.

During the 1920s Page had attended Cedar Crest College, majoring in music. During that time she was chosen by the Curtis Publishing Company as a model for a Saturday Evening Post cover. Her portrait, painted by artist Neysa McMein, dubbed her "One of America's Ten Most Beautiful Women".

Singing career[edit]

On July 3, 1925 at age 21, she married Waldo Shipton of Detroit, Michigan, a doctor whom she had met in college. The couple would have two daughters by 1929. Page tried out for the "Youth of America", in a singing contest hosted by Paul Whiteman, and won. With that, her radio career as a singer began, and her stage name was created. However, with her being away from home often with her new career, which often took her to New York City, she and Shipton divorced in 1932. By 1935 she was a regular on the Paducah Plantation, written and hosted by Irvin S. Cobb.

Acting career[edit]

That same year, Universal Pictures signed her to a contract. Her first film was Manhattan Blue, starring opposite Ricardo Cortez, which saw moderate success and placed a spotlight on her talent as a singer and an actress. She then starred in King Solomon of Broadway opposite Edmund Lowe and Pinky Tomlin. That film was only moderately successful, and it wasn't until 1938 that she starred in another film, this time alongside Mary Boland and Ernest Truex in Mama Runs Wild. That movie also was not successful, and Page was not given any singing parts in the film.

In late 1938, Grand National Pictures announced its intention to do a series of cowboy based films utilizing a "Singing Cowgirl". The first of these was Water Rustlers in 1939, starring Page and Dave O'Brien. Unfortunately the movie-going public did not accept a woman in the lead role of a western. Ride 'Em Cowgirl was released next, that same year, and fared even worse than the first. Later that same year, The Singing Cowgirl was released, in which Page again starred with O'Brien. It would be the last film by Grand National Pictures, and shortly thereafter they went out of business.

Retirement[edit]

Following the failure of the three "singing cowgirl" films, and the end of Grand National Pictures, Page retired from acting. She married Los Angeles attorney Frederick D. Leuschner, and they resided at his ranch in Tarzana, California. He died on December 6, 1941, at the age of 36 from heart failure. Page began working in realty, buying old Hollywood houses, remodeling them and selling them at a profit. This second career was very successful financially.

She then married Henry Clark McCormick of Fresno, California, and the two lived at his ranch in Fresno. Page purchased a 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) cotton ranch near Pecos, Texas. During the 1950s she was diagnosed with cancer, and began a long and painful battle against it. She and McCormick divorced during her illness. Page moved to LaBelle, Florida to be closer to Fort Myers, where she was receiving cancer treatment. She died there from cancer on March 26, 1961, at the age of 57.

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