Café: How did you get into acting?
|Audrey Dalton at the 2016|
Williamsburg Film Festival.
Café: So you had a contract with Paramount?
AD: I was on contract to them for two years. I did loan-outs to Fox and then I became a free agent--not under contract anymore.
Café: One of your first film roles was My Cousin Rachel. What was it like starring opposite Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton?
|Audrey Dalton and Richard Burton.|
Café: His character should have stuck with you instead of Rachel.
AD: Well, who knows what might happened later after Rachel died? It was all shot on Twentieth Century-Fox's backlot except for the ocean scenes, on what is now Century City. If you have been in Beverly Hills, that's a huge shopping center. So, the place where I shot Titanic and My Cousin Rachel is now all buildings and hotels.
Café: You starred with Olivia's sister, Joan Fontaine, in Casanova's Big Night. Did you get a feel for the relationship between the sisters? I have read where it was very cool.
AD: I have heard that, too. But the subject never came up. Those were the kinds of things you didn't talk about. They were so different, in looks and personalities. Joan was very effervescent and a great match for Bob Hope. They just traded barbs all the time and laughed and joked.
Café: What was it like playing in a Bob Hope comedy?
AD: It was fun. On the set, he always had the same group of small-part players with him. He knew all these people and would make sure that they were included somewhere in his movie so they always had a job. He took care of people. He was very, very sweet. In fact, when I first came here, I was 18 and on my own. He had a son and a daughter, who were a little younger than me by a couple of years. On Sunday evenings, he would sometime take me to dinner with his wife. They would come pick me and take me to dinner because they figured I needed a little looking after. He and Dolores were kindness itself.
Café: Did Bob Hope stick with the script when filming?
AD: Oh, no! He drove the writers and the director crazy. He kept twisting lines to try to make them funnier. He would say "gon-dole-la" instead of "gondola," which the writers wanted him to say. It goes back and forth a bit in the movie.
Café: How well did you get along with Alan Ladd on Drum Beat?
|With Alan Ladd in Drum Beat (1954).|
Café: Delmer Daves is one of my favorite 1950s film directors. How would you describe his working style as a director on Drum Beat?
AD: He was very tall and gregarious. He had a wonderful background of stories. He knew every day what he was going to shoot and he coaxed and pulled to get people to do what he wanted. He was very upbeat, never down, and always smiling. The world was wonderful. I was so sad when I heard that he had passed away.
Café: The Monster That Challenged the World has become a well-regarded science fiction film of the 1950s. What was your initial impression when you read the script?
|That's not Audrey on the poster!|
Café: You and Jacqueline Scott both worked with William Castle on different films. What was it like working with William Castle on Mr. Sardonicus?
|Dalton in Mr. Sardonicus.|
Café: You've appeared in a number of fine films and classic TV series. What are some of your favorite roles?
AD: Usually, I loved the one I was in at the time...which is not giving you an answer. I loved going back to Wagon Train, because I knew everybody. I think I did eight episodes of Wagon Train. There was one where I had to sing an aria from La Traviata. I am one of those people who has been blessed with not having a voice to sing with...at all. I can't carry two notes. I needed to be singing this aria. So, the studio gave me a recording of it and I had to learn it by rote so you could see the throat muscles work during the scene. Later on, of course, they substituted a singing voice for mine. But the poor crew had to listen to me sing it on the set. They deserved some extra money for having to put up with the awful screeching.
Café: I recently saw one of your Wagon Train episodes. It was one where you fell in love with a man who may have been John Wilkes Booth. We never know for sure.
AD: I also remember "The Liam Fitzmorgan Story" episode, which had an Irish feel to it.
Café: Can you still do an Irish accent?
|Audrey Dalton and her daughter Tara.|
Café: When people come up to you at conventions like this, are there one or two roles that they ask you about the most?
AD: Titanic (1953) is a big one. People are interested in it and, of course, the Westerns. One of my favorites was a Bonanza episode with Mercedes McCambridge (1962's "The Lady from Baltimore"). I was trying to marry Little Joe and big brother knew what I was up to.
Café: Were you bad?
AD: Oh, I was bad! And with a scheming mother.
Café: Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share with our readers?
AD: I enjoy events like this and do them every once in awhile. We have great grandchildren now and I love to take care of them. My life is more domestic now.