Thursday, February 27, 2020

Seven Things to Know About Angie Dickinson

1. Angie Dickinson's favorite film role was as the sexy housewife who is brutally murdered after an adulterous encounter in Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980). She told Vanity Fair in a 2008 interview: "I’m good in it, and it’s a great part. I’m sorry I didn’t try to go for an Academy Award for that role. I think I could have won it. But the studio didn’t want to put up the campaign, and I felt that I didn’t want to go for a supporting-actor award, because I’d always thought of myself as the lead, even though by then I wasn’t getting starring roles. I regret it now. Of course, De Palma is to blame for the great performance."

2. She played Sergeant Pepper Martin for four years on Police Woman (1974-78). She received three Emmy nominations for Best Actress (Drama) and four Golden Globe nominations, winning the award in 1975. According to People Magazine, Police Woman was President Gerald Ford's favorite TV series--he once rescheduled a White House press conference because of it. Angie's then-husband Burt Bacharach turned down the opportunity to compose the theme for Police Woman...because he didn't think the show would last long.

3. Angie Dickinson and Frank Sinatra had a ten-year affair. She told Vanity Fair: "Frank and I stayed friends for all those years, and it was just one of those great, comfortable things, where you always desire somebody, but you can live without them."

4. Her 1965 marriage to Burt Bacharach was the second for each of them. Their daughter, Lea Nikki, was born prematurely and later diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. She committed suicide at age 40. Dickinson and Bacharach divorced in 1981. In a 2019 interview that aired on CBS, she said of Bacharach: "He never loved me, I can tell you that right now, the way one loves. He loved in his own way, which is not too good. And so, he had no respect for me."

5. Howard Hawks cast her in Rio Bravo (1959) after watching her in an episode of Perry Mason ("The Case of the One-Eyed Witness").

Angie as "Feathers" in Rio Bravo.
6. Angie Dickinson returned a $75,000 advance on her planned autobiography in 1989. She said the publisher wanted her to address a rumored affair with President John F. Kennedy. She refused to do it and shelved the book after completing 100 pages. In recent years, she has expressed a renewed interest in writing her life story.

7. During one of her many guest appearances on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson noted her outfit and asked Angie Dickinson if she dressed for women or for men. She famously quipped: "I dress for women. I undress for men."


  1. I loved Angie's commentary on the Gunsmoke anniversary DVD set for her guest episode Sins of the Father in 1957. She was so very friendly and talkative. She got upset with herself when she couldn't remember Gage Clark's name (Dobie), but she recalled it by the end of the session.

  2. What a fun, different kind of post: "Seven things". Not a Listicle, per se (because...well, just because). I had a huge crush on Angie when I was growing up. She was 1970s era gorgeous and her hair and makeup at the time was era-appropriate.

    Agree with her that her performance in Dressed to Kill was truly great. DePalma is perhaps our most under-rated and under-appreciated Director, and Dressed is maybe his second best film, behind Scarface. Its a very close second, and perhaps only because of DePalma's almost fauning deference to Hitchcock.

    When I first saw Dressed (in my early days as a no nothing Feminist) I thought it was an anti-woman film. I have re-assessed it and now think it is very Feminist, and very enlightened, in that it shows how even a strong, intelligent and beautiful woman can become prey to a Predatory Man.

    Great stuff.

    1. I agree that Dressed to Kill features strong female characters. In addition to Angie, Nancy Allen is very good as the heroine. Alas, she didn’t get a lot of good roles. Your theme can also be applied to other parts of the film, but I won’t discuss here because it would give away too much of the plot.

  3. Interesting story surrounding her planned autobiography in the 1980s. I'm glad she shelved the project at that time due to the circumstances, but I hope she'll eventually resume writing.