Dorothy Hayes Stickney
June 21, 1896
Dickinson, North Dakota, U.S.
|Died||June 2, 1998 (aged 101)|
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Stage, film, television actress|
|Howard Lindsay (m.1927-1968; his death)|
Stickney was born in Dickinson, North Dakota, but because of a medical condition, she was unable to go into bright places and spent most of her childhood indoors to protect her sensitive eyes. Her introduction to reading came from family members who read the classics to her. Because she had difficulty reading, she focused on skills like dancing and elocution. She was fond of going to the theater with her family, and this sparked her interest in being an actress. Because of several eye surgeries, by her teens, Stickney was able to continue her education and pursue a career in the theater.
Stickney attended the North Western Dramatic School in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stickney sang and danced as one of the four Southern Belles in vaudeville and began acting in summer stock companies including Atlanta's Forsyth Players in the early 1920s before she married Howard Lindsay. In 1927, Stickney and Lindsay were married, and the two stayed married until Lindsay's death in 1968.
Stickney made her Broadway debut in 1926 in The Squall and had a string of hits, frequently playing eccentric characters. She was Liz, the mad scrubwoman, in the original nonmusical version of Chicago, and Mollie Molloy, who dives out of the pressroom window, in The Front Page. With increasingly important roles, she moved on to Philip Goes Forth, Another Language, On Borrowed Time, The Small Hours, To Be Continued and The Honeys. In 1940, Stickney received the Barter Theatre Award for "outstanding performance for an American player" for her role as Vinnie in Life with Father, which had been written by her husband, Lindsay, who also co-starred. The award was presented to her by Eleanor Roosevelt.
She also appeared in some films and TV programs, and wrote several poems including "You're Not the Type" and "My Dressing Room". She played the Queen in the original 1957 TV production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, and later Aunt Abby in the 1962 Hallmark TV production of Arsenic and Old Lace, co-starring Boris Karloff.
In 1961, she was the second inductee of the North Dakota Roughrider Award. On November 16, 1966, Stickney appeared on ABC's Stage 67 anthology program in Stephen Sondheim's macabre television musical Evening Primrose as Mrs. Monday, the leader of the mannequins who come to life every evening in a department store. One of her later stage roles was as Berthe in the original Broadway run of Pippin from 1972 to 1977. She took over the role in 1973 from Irene Ryan who died during the run. She created the role of Emily Baldwin, one of the Baldwin sisters, in the television film The Homecoming : A Christmas Story, which was the pilot for The Waltons.
In 1979, Stickney published Openings and Closings, a memoir that chronicled her long career as well as her secret battle with stage fright.
Stickney and Howard maintained a longtime home in Stanton, New Jersey.
She died a few weeks before her 102nd birthday in New York City. She had no children and no immediate family survivors.
|1931||My Sin||Mrs. Jenkins, the Landlady||Uncredited|
|1934||Murder at the Vanities||Norma Watson|
|1934||The Little Minister||Jean|
|1936||The Moon's Our Home||Hilda|
|1936||And So They Were Married||Miss Peabody|
|1938||I Met My Love Again||Mrs. Emily Towner|
|1939||What a Life||Miss Wheeler|
|1944||The Uninvited||Miss Bird|
|1948||Miss Tatlock's Millions||Emily Tatlock|
|1954||The Great Diamond Robbery||Emily Drumman|
|1956||The Catered Affair||Mrs. Rafferty|
|1959||The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker||Aunt Jane Pennypacker|
|1962||Arsenic & Old Lace||Abby Brewster||TV movie|
|1970||I Never Sang for My Father||Margaret Garrison|
|1971||The Waltons||Emily Baldwin||Episode: "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story"|