Perennial starlet Dorothy Abbott was a sexy, vivacious, wide-smiling model, showgirl and actress who could brighten up a room. Unfortunately, her cinematic offerings wound up being pretty minimal and her last years were marred by depression and, ultimately, a tragic end.
She was born Dorothy E. Abbott on December 16, 1920, in Kansas City, Missouri and started her career off as a chorine with Earl Carroll and his Los Angeles-based revues and in Las Vegas showrooms where she was dubbed the rather mystifying title of "The Girl with the Golden Arm". Paramount Studios perked up on the lovely blonde with the Betty Page-like bangs and gave her a starting contract at $150 a week. Groomed in dozens of decorative "good time girl" bits -- dancers, chorus girls, waitresses, stewardesses, party girls, nurses and models -- she was at the same time promoted as a cheesecake pinup, "winning" such dubious titles as "Miss Wilshire Club," "Miss Los Angeles Transit" and "Miss Oil Cans". The dusky-voiced Dorothy was usually briefly seen and not heard in such dramatic and lightweight fare as The Razor's Edge (1946), Road to Rio (1947), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) (in which she has her first speaking role as a maid), Words and Music (1948), Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949), Little Women (1949), Neptune's Daughter (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), His Kind of Woman (1951), Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (1952), _The Las Vegas Story (1952)_, The Caddy (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Jailhouse Rock (1957), South Pacific (1958), The Apartment (1960), That Touch of Mink (1962), A Gathering of Eagles (1963) and Dear Heart (1964). Her one starring role came early in the exploitative, lowbudget potboiler A Virgin in Hollywood (1953) as a star reporter out to get a seamy Hollywood story, but she was unable to capitalize on it. Working bit parts at the studio during the days, she would often perform on stage in little theatre shows at night. On the sly, when work was meager, she became a real estate agent in the 1950s in order to help supplement her income. TV chores included guest roles in "Leave It to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet". She also had a recurring part for one season as Jack Webb 's girlfriend on the Dragnet (1954) series.
Dorothy married LAPD narcotics squad officer-turned homicide detective Adolph Rudy Diaz in 1949. Diaz, who was of Native American (Apache) descent, eventually retired as a cop in order to pursue acting. By this time, the marriage was in trouble and the couple separated. Going by the stage name of Rudy Diaz in 1967, he began to get work and was seen out in public with other women. The divorce was finalized in 1968, but Dorothy took it hard and never seemed to get over it. On December 15, 1968, she committed suicide at her Los Angeles home -- one day before her 48th birthday. She was interred (as Dorothy E. Diaz) at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California, Plot: Valley Lawn, Lot 2939.