Dorris Bowdon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dorris Bowdon
Grapes of Wrath, The - (Original Trailer) - 05.png
As Rosasharn in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Born(1914-12-27)December 27, 1914
DiedAugust 9, 2005(2005-08-09) (aged 90)
Occupationfilm actress
Years active1938-1943
Spouse(s)Nunnally Johnson
(1939-1977; his death)

Dorris Estelle Bowdon (December 27, 1914 – August 9, 2005) was an American actress, best known for her role as Rosasharn in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Dorris Estelle Bowdon was born on December 27, 1914 in Coldwater, Mississippi, one of seven children of Lillian and James Bowdon.[1]


Bowdon was an actress in the 1930s and 1940s. When she was 20 years old, talent scout Ivan Kahn found her in Memphis, Tennessee, and brought her to Hollywood, California, for a screen test with 20th Century Fox. She "didn't fare so well" in her first test, so she was given another try.[2]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Nunnally Johnson from 1939 until his death in 1977, and they had three children together, the first of whom was born in 1942, which prematurely ended Bowden's acting career. They resided in a mansion located at 625 Mountain Drive in Beverly Hills, California.[3] It was designed by architect Paul R. Williams and built from 1937 to 1938 by O' Neal and Son.[3]


She died in Los Angeles at the age of ninety of a stroke and heart failure. She was cremated and a portion of her ashes were scattered at sea and another portion interred with her husband Nunnally Johnson in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.


Actor Jack Johnson is her grandson.


Year Title Role Notes
1938 Always Goodbye Minor Role Uncredited
1938 Down on the Farm Tessie Moody
1939 Young Mr. Lincoln Carrie Sue Uncredited
1939 Drums Along the Mohawk Mary Reall
1940 The Grapes of Wrath Rosasharn
1940 Jennie Lottie Schermer
1943 The Moon Is Down Molly Morden (final film role)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Talent Scouts Scouring Country for New Faces to Go Into Movie Mills". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. March 20, 1938. p. 1. Retrieved July 3, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ a b Victoria Talbot, 'Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission Splits 2 To 2 on Mountain Drive Landmark Vote', The Beverly Hills Courier, October 03, 2014, Vol. XXXXVIIII, No. 39, p. 4

External links[edit]