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Celebrating the divine Angie Dickinson ... rethinking 'Interstellar'.

"IN AMERICA, sex is an obsession; in other parts of the world it's a fact,'' said the obsessively factual Marlene Dietrich.

SO, what with the chilly month of December here, I thought we'd think upon the lovely Angie Dickinson. I was reminded of the leggy star when The Hollywood Reporter ran, on its recent back page, the famous 1966 Esquire magazine photo of Angie, posing in what was then a "shocking'' picture.

In this shot by Frank Bez, Dickinson wears a pale blue pullover sweater, white high-heels, and a smile. That's all she wore, folks. Of course, this is tasteful semi-nudity and what was censorable back then is carefully hidden in shadow. Still, it was pretty racy for a non-Playboy photo.

Angie was freshly married to composer/conductor Burt Bacharach (much to the anger, displeasure and heartbreak of the above mentioned Marlene Dietrich --` "What does she have that I don't?'' raged Marlene. Nobody dared note the obvious -- youth.)

The younger actress had been an "up and coming'' star for more years than she probably cared to think about at that point. She'd been sensational in "Rio Bravo'' with John Wayne and in "Ocean's 11'' with Sinatra and the Rat Pack. In fact, she had a sexy, bristling effect onscreen in most of her films -- even in films like "Rome Adventure'' (luring puffy Troy Donahue away from puffy Suzanne Pleshette) or "The Sins of Rachel Cade.'' (Her name was Rachel and she sinned!) But somehow Dickinson never quite "took off.'' Angie was perhaps "too much woman'' for the times.

Still, despite great turns in "The Chase,'' "Point Blank'' (one of the superior surrealistic modern noir mysteries) and a lot of exploitive publicity for "Big Bad Mama,'' it took TV's "Police Woman'' to elevate Angie Dickinson to superstar status. She was no longer a fresh young thing, and all the more potent in her maturity.

After that, Angie had at least one more classic film role, as the unhappy woman of "Dressed to Kill,'' and appeared in countless TV movies, including the beautifully weird "Wild Palms.''

Angie is 83 now, still striking, still the "great broad'' she was when every man in Hollywood (and Washington, D.C.) wanted her. She returned her advance on an autobiography, feeling that telling all would hurt others. I love her.

Oh, and many years after Angie's sweater-and-heels photo ran, Esquire put Britney Spears on its cover in a similar pose. Britney perhaps had a more bodacious bum, but she couldn't touch the class of Miss Angie Dickinson.

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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