Dorothy Kingsley

Active - 1941 - 1967  |   Born - Oct 14, 1909   |   Died - Sep 26, 1997   |   Genres - Musical, Comedy

Share on

The daughter of journalist Walter Kingsley and stage actress Alma Hanlon, Dorothy Kingsley was a divorced mother of three living in fashionable Grosse Pointe, Michigan when she came down with the measles. Confined to bed for a week, Kingsley listened to the radio virtually nonstop, especially the comedy shows. Upon hearing a particularly dreadful piece of material one evening, Kingsley sat up and muttered something like "I can write better stuff than that." She moved to New York and made good her boast, becoming one of radioland's few successful female gag writers of the 1930s. While writing for Edgar Bergen she was brought to Hollywood to punch up the script for Bergen's RKO feature film Look Who's Laughing (1941). She remained in Tinseltown for good after that, working primarily on MGM's musicals (her favorites were the Esther Williams pictures) and comedies. She earned a reputation as one of the industry's foremost "fixers": no matter how many wildly divergent singing, dancing and comic talents were thrown at her in any one picture, she was always able to fix up a logical plotline that would accommodate the entire cast. Nominated for six Writer's Guild awards, Kingsley finally won the prize for her work on 1954's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which also earned her an Oscar nomination. Kingsley's last film assignment for many years was the 1967 adaptation of the Broadway musical Half a Sixpence Two years later, she created the "inside-Hollywood" TV series Bracken's World, which ran until 1970. While living in semiretirement in the early 1990s, Dorothy Kingsley approached media mogul Ted Turner with the idea of updating her 1951 MGM comedy/fantasy Angels in the Outfield; that project finally came to fruition in 1994, with virtually all of Kingsley's script suggestions intact. Ms. Kingsley died of heart failure in Carmel, California at the age of 87.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography