Actress Dorothy Provine, who had regular roles on two relatively obscure ABC dramas in the late 1950s/early 1960s, passed away on Sunday at the age of 75. According to her entry at the Internet Movie Database, she began her showbiz career in 1957 with a guest role on Man Without a Gun. Over the next two years she made numerous guest appearances on television as well as the occasional film, such as The Bonnie Parker Story in 1958. During the 1959-1960 season she had a regular role on The Alaskans and from 1960 to 1962 she played a nightclub singer by the name of Pinky Pinkham on The Roaring 20’s. Both shows aired on ABC.
In 1963, she played Emeline Marcus-Finch in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World; her character was the only one not intent on chasing a purported $350,000. Throughout the remainder of the 1960s and into the early 1970s she made the occasional guest role on television shows like Dr. Kildare, The F.B.I., Police Story and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Her last credited was a 1976 episode of Police Woman. Obituaries can be found at The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.
5 Replies to “Dorothy Provine (1937-2010)”
Have you noticed over the past 10 years (or more)Television shows haven’t courted the veteran TV & Movie stars as they once did for shows like Murder She Wrote, The Love Boat & Columbo. I was quite surprised to see Tim Conway on last night’s CSI.
Most network television executives feel “older” stars don’t fit into the demographics they’re trying to attract for their series these days: namely, 18-35 year olds. If you’re OVER 35, you might as well not exist at all. If you happen to be a “Tim Conway” or “Betty White”, however, that’s different.
After “THE ROARING ’20s” (a virtual copy of ”77 SUNSET STRIP”- from the same studio, Warner Bros.- by way of “THE UNTOUCHABLES”) went off the air in 1962, Dorothy Provine’s career was basically “shot”. The last part she ever played for Warner Bros. was a small supporting role in Blake Edwards’ theatrical movie, “The Great Race” (1965), as an “Old West” chanteuse. She virtually disappeared from the “A” list of movie and TV appearances, and just about retired after 1976. WHO remembers her today? Even the two albums she recorded for Warner Bros. records (in her “Pinky Pinkam” character from “THE ROARING ’20s”, singing a catalog of ’20s favorites from Warner’s music catalogue) are known only to those who saw the series or had those LP’s. When was the last time YOU saw “THE ROARING ’20s” on TV, anyway??
I think her “disappearance” was also to a large part due to her marriage.
“Roaring 20s” I think did for a time have some kind of syndication afterlife for much of the 60s until color shows from the late 60s took over most of the syndication slots. The 1967 Batman episode with the Green Hornet even has Diane McBain as “Pinky Pinkston” an obvious send-up of Dorothy’s “Pinky Pinkham.”
@ Barry I. Grauman Says:
April 30th, 2010 at 10:56PM
Most network television executives feel â€œolderâ€ stars donâ€™t fit into the demographics theyâ€™re trying to attract for their series these days: namely, 18-35 year olds. If youâ€™re OVER 35, you might as well not exist at all. If you happen to be a â€œTim Conwayâ€ or â€œBetty Whiteâ€, however, thatâ€™s different.
While Mr. Grauman is correct that todays networks assiduously court the A18-34 demographic, there are thankfully still a few series that invite guest stars for viewers outside that cherished demo.
‘Numb3rs’ on Fridays has a cast made up of mostly former stars, while the two ‘NCIS’ and ‘Two & a Half Men’ series also have vintage performers in their main cast. The ‘Law & Order’s’ sometimes have guest turns by seasoned performers (Miss Carol Burnett last season), and so does ‘Chuck’. Over at FOX, I would add only ‘Fringe’ as a series that occasionally tries to feature mature performers (Mr. Leonard Nimoy had a guest arc on the show).
Although now cancelled, ‘Boston Legal’ had a main cast that were all seasoned performers, and Mr. Kelley was pretty good at bringing back stars from yesteryear for guest turns.