“When I started shooting ‘Police Woman’ (1974), someone asked me if I had ever played a sleuth before. I said, ‘Yes, many times.’ I thought they were asking me if I had ever played a slut. I didn't know what a sleuth was.” Angie Dickinson
Golden Globe Award winning actress Angie Dickinson is famous to television audiences as Sergeant 'Pepper' Anderson in the successful crime series “Police Woman,” which ran on NBC from 1974 to 1978. The role brought the talented actress her Golden Globe Award, a TP de Oro Award and several nominations at the Emmy and TV Land Awards. Specializing in portraying sharp, sexy, tough-minded women, Dickinson is also known for starring in such movies as “Rio Bravo” (1959), “Ocean's Eleven” (1960), “The Killer” (1964), “Point Blank” (1967), “Big Bad Mama” (1974) and its sequel, “Big Bad Mama II” (1987). She also starred in “Dressed to Kill” (1980), where she took home a Saturn Award for her role of Kate Miller. Her more recent film credits include “The Maddening” (1995), “Sabrina” (1995), “The Last Producer” (2000), “Duets” (2000), “Pay It Forward” (2000), the 2001 remake “Ocean's Eleven” and “Elvis Has Left the Building” (2004). Dickinson's other TV appearances include roles in “Dial M for Murder” (1981), “Cassie and Company” (1982), “Hollywood Wives” (1985), “Wild Palms” (1993) and “Mending Fences” (2009).
In the entertainment business since 1954, Dickinson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987. She was handed the Golden Boot Award in 1989.
Dickinson has been married twice. She was married to ex-college football star Gene Dickinson from 1952 to 1960. She had one daughter with composer Burt Bacharach (together from 1965 to 1980) named Nikki, who committed suicide in 2007 at age 40. One of Playboy Magazines' “100 Sexiest Stars of the Century” (1999) and TV Guide's “50 Sexiest TV Stars of All Time” (2002), Dickinson had an on and off again relationship with legendary Frank Sinatra for ten years. She was also once romantically involved with actor David Janssen.
Bill of Rights
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of Frederica and Leo H. Brown, Angeline Brown, who would later be popular as Angie Dickinson, was born on September 30, 1931, in Kulm, North Dakota. Her family owned and ran the local newspaper office The Kulm Messenger and later the Edgeley Mail in the 1930s. When Angie was 11 years old, the Brown family relocated to Burbank, California, where she would graduate from Bellamarine Jefferson High School in 1997 at the age of 15. During her senior year, she won the Sixth Annual Bill of Rights essay contest.
Angie attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, California, and graduated from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles with a degree in business in 1954. After college, she worked as a secretary for a Burbank airplane parts factory for several years.
Influenced by her publishing father, young Angie originally wanted to become a writer. However, after her success on the beauty contest circuits, she began pursuing a career in show business.
On June 2, 1952, Angie married Gene Dickinson, a former football player, but they divorced in 1960. She married composer Burt Bacharach (born on May 12, 1928) on May 16, 1965. The coupled welcomed a daughter named Lea Nikki Bacharach in 1966. They divorced in 1980.
Born three months premature, Nikki suffered from chronic health problems, including visual and Asperger's Disorder, a form of autism. Angie declined numerous roles to focus on her daughter before she and her husband decided to place Nikki at Minnesota's Wilson Center, a psychiatric residential treatment facility for adolescents. The girl stayed there for nine years.
Once a geology major at California Lutheran University, Nikki committed suicide on January 4, 2007, in her apartment in Ventura County, California. She was 40 years old.
Dressed to Kill
An aspiring writer who found work as a secretary after college, Angie Dickinson entered the local beauty contest, Jack Roarke's Beauty Parade, in 1952 at age 20 and won. She quickly forgot her dreams of becoming a writer and went on to participate in the local Miss America contest in 1953. She took second place in the competition. Later that same year, she became one of five winners in a beauty contest sponsored by NBC. She immediately branched out to acting.
In 1954, Dickinson made her first feature film debut as a party guest in “Lucky Me,” a Warner Bros. musical starring Doris Day and Robert Cummings and directed by Jack Donohue. She debuted on TV also that year in an episode of the Emmy Award winning series “The Colgate Comedy Hour.” A string of guest spots soon followed, including work in “Death Valley Days” (2 episodes, 1954), “Buffalo Bill Jr.” (1955), “Matinee Theatre” (7 episodes, 1955), “It's a Great Life” (2 episodes, 1955-1956), “General Electric Theater” (1956), “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” (1956), “Broken Arrow” (1956), “The Lineup” (3 episodes, 1956-1957), “Gunsmoke” (1957), “Meet McGraw” (2 episodes, 1957), “The People's Choice” (2 episodes, 1958), “Mike Hammer” (2 episodes, 1958), “Wagon Train” (1959), “Men Into Space” (1959) and “The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor” (1959).
Throughout the 1950s, Dickinson was also busy establishing her film career. She landed small roles in such productions as the western “Tennessee's Partner” (1955, starred Ronald Reagan and John Payne), “The Return of Jack Slade” (1955), “Man with the Gun” (1955, starred Robert Mitchum), “Hidden Guns” (1956), “Down Liberty Road” (1956), “Tension at Table Rock” (1956), “Gun the Man Down” (1956), “The Black Whip” (1956), “Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend” (1957, starred Randolph Scott), Samuel Fuller's “China Gate” (1957), “Calypso Joe” (1957), “I Married a Woman” (1958, starred George Gobel and Diana Dors) and “Cry Terror” (1958). Thanks to Howard Hawks' classic western “Rio Bravo” (1959), in which she was cast in her breakout role as a mysterious woman who becomes romantically involved with Sheriff John T. Chance (played by John Wayne), Dickinson rose to the status of being one of Hollywood’s stars. Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, John Russell and Harry Carey, Jr. also acted with her in the film. Still in 1959, Dickinson was nominated for a Golden Laurel for Top Female New Personality.
One of the more outstanding leading ladies of the 1960s, Dickinson opened the decade with work alongside Ray Collins and John Bryant in the William F. Claxton directed drama “I'll Give My Life” (1960), Richard Burton and Jack Carson in Daniel Petrie's “The Bramble Bush” (1960) and Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford in Lewis Milestone's heist film “Ocean's Eleven” (1960, as Beatrice Ocean). Still in 1960, she was handed a Golden Globe Award in the category of Most Promising Female Newcomer. The next few years, Dickinson was seen staring in “A Fever in the Blood” (1961, with Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), the based-on-novel “The Sins of Rachel Cade” (1961, with Peter Finch and Roger Moore), “Rome Adventure” (1962, with Troy Donahue), Jean Negulesco's “Jessica” (1962, with Maurice Chevalier) and “Captain Newman, M.D.,” (1963, with Gregory Peck). In the crime film “The Killer” (1964), the second Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name, Angie offered a memorable portrayal of the mistress of gangster Jack Browning (played by Ronald Reagan).
Starting in the mid 1960s, Dickinson found herself alternating between starring and costarring roles. Her subsequent feature film credits included the comedy “The Art of Love” (1965, played the lovers of both James Garner and Dick Van Dyke), Arthur Penn's drama “The Chase” (1966, starred Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda), “Cast a Giant Shadow” (1966, with Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra and John Wayne), “The Poppy Is Also a Flower” (1966, opposite Stephen Boyd and Senta Berger), “The Last Challenge” (1967, starred with Glenn Ford), “Sam Whiskey” (1969, starred Burt Reynolds) and “Young Billy Young” (1969, with Robert Mitchum). In 1967, Dickinson gave a strong performance as Chris, Lee Marvin's sister-in-law, in John Boorman's cult classic “Point Blank,” which was adapted from the classic pulp novel “The Hunter” by Donald E. Westlake. Despite her hectic film schedule, Dickinson also made television appearances in such shows as “ Lock Up,” “The Dick Powell Show,” “This Is the Life,” “The Fugitive,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.” She had a recurring role in “Dr. Kildare” (1965), playing Carol Tredman.
After starring with Lloyd Bridges in the ABC made for TV film “The Love War” (1970), Dickinson was cast as a sexy high school teacher, Betty Smith, in the dark comedy “Pretty Maids All in a Row” (1971), which was directed by Roger Vadim and produced by Gene Roddenberry and based on a novel by Francis Pollini. She then portrayed Jackie Kovacs in the French thriller “The Outside Man” (1972) for director Jacques Deray, and starred as Wilma McClatchie in “Big Bad Mama” (1974).
In March 1974, Dickinson made a guest appearance in the critically acclaimed hit anthology series “Police Story,” where she played Lisa Beaumont. Lured by the popularity of her performance, the North Dakota native was offered by NBC to star in her own television show. Premiering on September 13, 1974, “Police Woman” was an immediate hit and later became the first successful primetime drama series to feature a woman in the title role. It ran for four seasons until March 29, 1978. For her good acting job as Sergeant Suzanne 'Pepper' Anderson, she was nominated for three Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and four Golden Globes for Best TV Actress - Drama, and won one in 1975. The role also brought her Spain's TP de Oro for Best Foreign Actress. After the demise of the series, Dickinson recreated her coveted role for the TV special “Ringo” (1978), opposite Ringo Starr and John Ritter. She then played Midge Forrest in the TV miniseries “Pearl” (also 1978). The following year, she starred with Lino Ventura in Claude Pinoteau's “The Angry Man” (1979). After the adventure “Klondike Fever” (1980), she was cast in Brian De Palma's “Dressed to Kill” (1980).
Dickinson next starred as Margot Wendice, opposite Christopher Plummer as Tony Wendice, in the Emmy nominated television movie “Dial M for Murder” (1981), which was adapted from a play by Frederick Knott. She then played the Dragon Queen in the film “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen” (1981, opposite Peter Ustinov) and was reunited with Lee Marvin in the action film “Death Hunt” (1981, starring Charles Bronson. Dickinson then returned to series TV in the short lived detective series “Cassie and Company” (1982).
Angie continued to make a number of TV films throughout the 1980s, including “One Shoe Makes It Murder” (1982), “Jealousy” (1984), “A Touch of Scandal” (1984), “Stillwatch” (1987),”'Police Story: The Freeway Killings” (1987), “Once Upon a Texas Train” (1988), “Fire and Rain” (1989) and “Prime Target” (1989). She then portrayed Sadie LaSalle in the TV miniseries “Hollywood Wives” (1985), which was adapted from a novel by Jackie Collins. In 1987, she made a comeback to the big screen in the sequel “Big Bad Mama II” (1987), reprising her role of Wilma McClatchie. Also that year, she hosted a December showing of “Saturday Night Live.”
In 1993, Dickinson landed the supporting role of Josie in the ABC miniseries “Wild Palms.” Costars of the show included James Belushi, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia and Kim Cattrall. Later that same year, she could be seen on the wide screen playing Miss Adrian in Gus Van Sant's disappointing drama “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” her first film since 1987. She followed it up with roles in the films “The Maddening” (1995, as the wife of Burt Reynolds), Sydney Pollack's critically acclaimed romantic comedy “Sabrina” (1995, played Mrs. Ingrid Tyson) and “The Sun, the Moon and the Stars” (1996, starred as Abbie McGee). Meanwhile, on TV, she portrayed roles in the films “Remembrance” (1996), “Deep Family Secrets” (1997), “The Don's Analyst” (1997) and “Sealed with a Kiss” (1999) and made guest appearances in such shows as “Daddy Dearest” (1993), “Diagnosis Murder,” “Ellen” and “George & Leo” (all 1997).
Entering the new millennium, Dickinson was featured as a poker player in “The Last Producer” (2000), a drama helmed by two time costar Burt Reynolds, was cast as the grandmother of Gwyneth Paltrow in “Duets” (2000), and played an alcoholic mother to Helen Hunt in the movie “Pay It Forward” (2000), which was adapted from Catherine Ryan Hyde's book of the same name. She next portrayed Mrs. Barlow in “Big Bad Love” (2001), a drama directed by and starring Arliss Howard, made an appearance in the remake “Ocean's Eleven” (2001), directed by Steven Soderbergh, and played a small role in Joel Zwick's comedy “Elvis Has Left the Building” (2004).
After appearing in an episode of “Judging Amy” (2004), Dickinson revisited television films in “Mending Fences” (2009). The Hallmark Channel drama was directed by Stephen Bridgewater and starred Laura Leighton, Peter Jason and David Lee Smith.
Golden Boot: 1989
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn, Best Actress, “Dressed to Kill,” 1981
TP de Oro (Spain): Best Foreign Actress (Mejor Actriz Extranjera), “Police Woman,” 1978
Golden Globe: Best TV Actress - Drama, “Police Woman,” 1975
Golden Globe: Most Promising Newcomer - Female, 1960