Dabbling in practically every facet of the business during her over six-decade career — nightclubs, cabaret, radio, recordings, TV, film and Broadway — sultry, opulent, hard-looking singing star Dolores Gray, distinctive for her sharp, somewhat equine features, lived the high life for most of her time on earth. Born in Chicago in 1924, she began singing in Hollywood supper clubs at age 14 and eventually was discovered by Rudy Vallee, who made her a name on his radio show. From there the larger-than-life talent took to the stage, debuting on Broadway in 1944. In 1947, she gussied up London’s post-war theater district when she starred as Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Lucky for her, Ethel Merman refused the tour and Dolores became the toast of the West End for over two years. She also attracted tabloid attention with her extravagant life style, outlandish clothes and ‘Auntie Mame’-like joie de vivre. Broadway musicals beckoned following her success abroad and the dusky alto returned to New York, earning raves in the short-lived “Carnival in Flanders” with John Raitt, which won her the Tony award, and “Destry Rides Again” co-starring pre-TV star Andy Griffith, which earned her a Tony nomination. MGM wanted in on the action and signed her. Dolores managed a few scene-grabbing second leads in It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) starring Gene Kelly, Kismet (1955) with Howard Keel and Ann Blyth, The Opposite Sex (1956), starring June Allyson and Joan Collins, which was a somewhat misguided musical version of the classic comedy “The Women,” and the chic non-musical Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall. And then it was over for Dolores in movies. Hit by the decline of the musical film, she, trooper that she was, found work on TV variety, recorded for Capitol Records and remained a top-of-the-line cabaret act for decades to come. Despite her somewhat outré reputation, Dolores married only once — to California businessman and race horse owner Andrew Crevolin in 1967. Although the marriage lasted approximately 9 years, they never divorced. In fact, the couple never even formally separated as she was a devout Catholic. She and Andrew would remain close friends until his death in 1992. Dolores passed away a decade later in her Manhattan apartment of a heart attack at age 78 in 2002.
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