Dorothy Provine

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Dorothy Provine
Dorothy Provine 1961.JPG
Provine in The Roaring 20's
Dorothy Michelle Provine

(1935-01-20)January 20, 1935
DiedApril 25, 2010(2010-04-25) (aged 75)
Alma materUniversity of Washington
  • Actress
  • dancer
  • singer
Years active1957–1976
(m. 1968)

Dorothy Michelle Provine (January 20, 1935 – April 25, 2010) was an American singer, dancer and actress.[1] Born in 1935 in Deadwood, South Dakota, she grew up in Seattle, Washington, and was hired in 1958 by Warner Bros., after which she first starred in The Bonnie Parker Story and played many roles in TV series. During the 1960s, Provine starred in series such as The Alaskans and The Roaring 20's, and her major roles in movies included It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Good Neighbor Sam (1964), That Darn Cat! (1965), Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die (1966), Who's Minding the Mint? (1967), and Never a Dull Moment (1968). In 1968, Provine married the film and television director Robert Day and mostly retired. She died of emphysema on April 25, 2010 in Bremerton, Washington.

Early life and career[edit]

Provine was born in Deadwood in southwestern South Dakota, to William and Irene Provine, but grew up in Seattle, Washington, where her parents ran a nightclub.[1][2] She attended the University of Washington in Seattle, from which she graduated with a degree in Theater Arts in 1957.[3] While there, she joined the women's fraternity Alpha Gamma Delta.[4] In Washington, she handed out prizes for a quiz program on a local television station until she was hired by Warner Bros. at $500 per week.[5] In Hollywood, she starred in the 1958 film The Bonnie Parker Story. That same year, she performed in a credited walk-on part in the NBC Western television series Wagon Train, in the episode "The Marie Dupree Story." In 1959, she was in the cast of The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, which was Lou Costello's last screen appearance.[6] In that same year she again appeared in Wagon Train in the episode "Matthew Lowry Story", this time having a part that ran the full episode.[7]

Provine in 1959

On January 3, 1959, Provine appeared as Laura Winfield in the episode "The Bitter Lesson" of the NBC Western series Cimarron City. Laura Winfield is a newly arrived schoolteacher with false credentials who is plotting with a male companion to rob a stage shipment of gold, but not before Deputy Sheriff Lane Temple (series star John Smith) falls in love with her. Dan Blocker and Gregg Palmer also appear in this episode as interested suitors of the new teacher. A few weeks thereafter, she was cast in a supporting role in the episode "The Giant Killer" of the ABC/Warner Bros. Western series Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins in the title role.[8]

In 1959, Provine appeared as Ann Donnelly in the episode "The Confession" of another ABC/WB Western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Charles Aidman was cast in this episode as Arthur Sibley; Don C. Harvey as Sheriff Clinter. About this time she was also cast in an episode of the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys starring Walter Brennan.[9]

Another 1959 appearance was as "Chalmers" in the episode "Blood Money" of the CBS televised Western The Texan starring Rory Calhoun as Bill Longley and Ralph Meeker in the guest cast as Sam Kerrigan.[10] She also guest starred in the syndicated Western series Man Without a Gun starring Rex Reason.[9]

Provine had a starring role in two ABC/WB series: The Alaskans (1959–1960), in the role of Rocky Shaw and with Roger Moore, and The Roaring 20's (1960–1962), in which she played the beautiful singer Pinky Pinkham. A profile in Time stated that "It is Dorothy’s oooohing and shimmying that have kept the series afloat."[5] Rex Reason, from Man Without a Gun, co-starred with her in The Roaring 20s, along with Donald May, John Dehner, Mike Road, and Gary Vinson. Provine recorded an album of songs from the show, and had two hit singles in the UK Singles Chart — "Don't Bring Lulu" (number 17 in 1961) and "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune" (number 45 in 1962).[11]

She guest-starred in the 25th episode of The Gallant Men called "Tommy", which aired in March 1963. Her character name was Joyce Adams, a singer who entertained the troops.[9]

In September 1965, Provine starred in the two-part episode "Alexander the Greater" that opened the second season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series, alongside Rip Torn and David Opatoshu, later repackaged as theatrical feature One Spy Too Many (1966).[9]

Provine's best-known film role was as Emeline Marcus-Finch in Stanley Kramer's epic comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). She also appeared in Good Neighbor Sam (1964), The Great Race (1965), That Darn Cat! (1965), Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die (1966), Who's Minding the Mint? (1967), and Never a Dull Moment (1968).[3]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1968, Provine married the film and television director Robert Day and retired from acting, apart from occasional guest roles on television. The couple moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington, about 1990, where they resided with their son.[12][13] Provine was reclusive in retirement and indulged her love of reading and movies and occasionally drove around the island with her husband.[6]

According to the Roger Moore website, during the filming of The Alaskans (1959–1960) Provine had an affair with Roger Moore.[14]

Provine died of emphysema on April 25, 2010 in Bremerton, Washington.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1958 Live Fast, Die Young Jackie Uncredited
1958 The Bonnie Parker Story Bonnie Parker
1959 Riot in Juvenile Prison Babe
1959 The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock Emmy Lou Rossiter
1963 Wall of Noise Ann Conroy
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Emeline Marcus-Finch
1964 Good Neighbor Sam Minerva Bissell
1965 The Great Race Lily Olay
1965 That Darn Cat! Ingrid Randall
1966 One Spy Too Many Tracey Alexander Two episodes of the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
1966 Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die Susan Fleming
1967 Who's Minding the Mint? Verna Baxter
1968 Never a Dull Moment Sally Inwood


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Man Without a Gun Episode: "Man Missing"
1958 The Millionaire Rosemary MacIntyre Episode: "The David Barrett Story"
1958 Lawman Julie Preston Episode: "Lady in Question"
1958–1959 Wagon Train Marian Pruitt / Susie 2 episodes
1958–1962 77 Sunset Strip Nora Shirley / Betty 3 episodes
1959 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Suzy Keeler Episode: "Coney Island Baby"
1959 Cimarron City Laura Winfield Episode: "The Bitter Lesson"
1959 The Real McCoys Glory Episode: "The McCoys Visit Hollywood"
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Sharon Trotter Episode: "The Morning After"
1959 Sugarfoot Miss Bonnie / Ada 2 episodes
1959 The Rough Riders Holly Morrow Episode: "Lesson in Violence"
1959 The Texan Chalmers Episode: "Blood Money"
1959 Colt .45 Ann Donnelly Episode: "The Confession"
1959 Bronco Gilda Harper Episode: "Red Water North"
1959–1960 The Alaskans Rocky Shaw 36 episodes
1960–1962 The Roaring 20's Pinky Pinkham 45 episodes
1962 Hawaiian Eye Nora Stewart / Arnel Wade 2 episodes
1962 The Red Skelton Show Piper Novak Episode: "The Bride of Bolivar"
1962 You're Only Young Once Mildred Offenbach Television film
1963 The Gallant Men Joyce Adams Episode: "Tommy"
1965 Dr. Kildare Sally Boles Episode: "Music Hath Charms"
1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Julie Episode: "Simon Says Get Married"
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Tracey Alexander 2 episodes
1968 The Danny Thomas Hour Laura Merrill Episode: "My Pal Tony"
1968 The F.B.I. Irene Minnock Episode: "Breakthrough"
1968 The Sound of Anger Marge Carruthers Television film
1970 Love, American Style April Segment: "Love and Those Poor Crusaders' Wives"
1973 Police Story Harriett Bonner Episode: "The Big Walk"
1976 Police Woman Episode: "The Trick Book"


  • The Roaring 20's, 1960 Warner Bros.: WM 4035 (W1394). Musical direction by Sandy Courage.


  1. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (April 29, 2010). "Dorothy Provine, Shapely Actress in '60s, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Bergan, Ronald (May 6, 2010). "Dorothy Provine obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c McLellan, Dennis (April 30, 2010). "Dorothy Provine dies at 75; actress in 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' and 'The Roaring Twenties' TV series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Alpha Gamma Delta – Accomplished Alpha Gams". Alpha Gamma Delta. Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "New Faces: The Girl in the Red Swing". Time. May 19, 1961. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Pritchett, Rachel (April 27, 2010). "Reclusive Actress, Bainbridge Island Resident Dorothy Provine Dies". Kitsap Sun. Bremerton, Washington: E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Leigh, Spencer (May 4, 2010). "Dorothy Provine: Actress and singer best known for 'The Roaring 20s' and its spin-off hit 'Don't Bring Lulu'". The Independent. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Mclellan, Dennis (April 30, 2010). "'Mad World' actress, Bainbridge Island resident Dorothy Provine dies". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Lentz III, Harris M. (2011). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2010. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-7864-4175-4.
  10. ^ "The Texan". Classic Television Archive. Archived from the original on April 8, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 441. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  12. ^ "Dorothy Day Obituary - Seattle, WA | The Seattle Times". Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  13. ^ "Dorothy Provine – The Private Life and Times of Dorothy Provine. Dorothy Provine Pictures". Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  14. ^ "Marital strife for Roger Moore when he admits to wife Dorothy Squires that he has fallen in love with co-star Dorothy Provine." Roger Moore: The Early Days, Archive retrieved from, 22 May 2022.

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