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Dorothy Green.DOROTHY GREEN

Multi-talented Dorothy Green was born Dorothy Hufford in Los Angeles, CA, on January 12. “My second agent once said to never tell the age—you are the age the part calls for. I grew up in L.A. and in the surrounding beach communities.”

Dorothy’s entrance into show business was unusual, to say the least. “I was married to Dr. Sidney Green, a dentist. I was modeling at a charity fashion show in Pacific Palisades and was spotted by an agent’s wife. The agent called me and asked if I were an actress? ‘No.’ Then he asked if I was a singer. ‘No.’ A dancer. ‘No.’ But I could play a good game of golf, and had three babies. My husband told me to go and see him out of curiosity. The agent introduced me around; and I auditioned for a coach with whom I worked for a few months. We lived in Manhattan Beach, so I did plays with the Manhattan Players. It was for training, experience. The Manhattan Playhouse held open auditions to play Irene in ‘Light Up the Sky.’ They had no one there who suited the part. I got it, and everything escalated from there. I did four shows in a row. I enjoyed doing it. I didn’t have to do it, it was fun, so I didn’t care if I got the parts or not.”

The first professional job Dorothy Green landed was a live broadcast of “Jack Benny”. “I used my married name, and I played Fred Allen’s secretary on the show. Jack was so wonderful—so great—he made me feel terrific. He came over, after the dress rehearsal, and said, ‘You are a funny girl; your timing is great.’ I asked my agent what timing was, I was that green! (Laughs)”

With an aversion to firearms, Dorothy found it "very strange" handling a rifle in "State Trooper: Nevada Boy, Pride and Joy" ('56).The veteran of dozens of westerns reveals, “I hate guns with a passion. Yet, I just saw a TV show, ‘State Trooper’, where I was shooting a rifle! I have no memory of doing that. It’s very strange—like looking at someone else. I must have a mental block or something. (Laughs) The star, Rod Cameron, was a very nice guy—he even asked for me.”

Regardless of her fear of guns, Dorothy guest starred on dozens of western TVers. “In the ‘50s, there were literally dozens of westerns on television. One summer, I did seven of them. It was awful—I don’t do well in the heat, and they always seemed to shoot the westerns in August or September, up in the desert. It was God awful, it was so hot! I actually worked better on the soap (“The Young and the Restless”, ‘73)—photographed in air conditioning. But in soaps, the dialogue wasn’t good—you’d tell the same story to different people, but they’d change the dialogue slightly, making it very difficult to learn. I have a photographic memory, so it isn’t hard for me to learn the script in a day. The soap scripts weren’t too exciting, but if I had a decent script, it was easy to learn.”

That decent script came often—one she especially liked was “Man Without a Badge”. “I was a woman who sold drugs, and also used them! I had needles in my arms—needle marks everywhere. One day, I didn’t take them, or any makeup, off. There was a show I wanted to see. Those needle marks looked awful—a cop pulled me over for speeding—and I thought I was going to go to jail. He looked at me—but let me go. I got home in time to see whatever show I was on, but I also scared my three kids when they saw me! (Laughs)”

Regarding television in the ‘50s, “You’d do two shows a week—they’d take two and a half days, especially Revue. Their shows were done fast. They liked performers who knew their lines. One day, I was sitting on the set—my agent came by with a script and told me, ‘You start tomorrow!’ So, a lot of these shows tend to blend together—it’s hard to believe they were 50 years ago!”

Hopalong Cassidy talks with Dorothy and David Bruce in "Hopalong Cassidy: Sole Survivor" ('53).Early in her career she worked on “Hopalong Cassidy.” “William Boyd was nice, but nothing outstanding happened on this one.” Dorothy guest starred on “Wyatt Earp” three times. “That was a chore. I played Mrs. George Armstrong Custer on the first one; then they wanted me to be a regular. But when you deal with monumental egos, it is really a pain. Hugh O’Brian is one of a few people I didn’t like. He’d go after anything that wore a skirt—even married women with children, such as myself. Morgan Woodward was my love interest, and I really came to dislike Hugh O’Brian on that last
Dorothy appreciated Morgan Woodward's professionalism on "Wyatt Earp: A Papa for Butch and Ginger" ('61) but really came to dislike star Hugh O'Brian. show we did. Hugh didn’t treat Morgan nicely at all! We were on location, and some baseball event—maybe the World Series, was coming up. Morgan was leaving the show—it was his last scene. He did Hugh’s close-up. When it was Morgan’s time—Hugh said, ‘Get the script girl. I’ve got to watch the baseball game.’ I felt the same as Morgan—very angry with Hugh. Now someone like Ray Milland, a big, big star, was such a pro—he would never do something like that. In fact, he was once mouthing off at someone who did the same thing as Hugh. I worked with Ray on the pilot episode of ‘Markham’.”

“Wagon Train” premiered in ‘57, and Dorothy guest starred often. “I did three of them. In the second one, I played R. G. Armstrong’s wife. I was, as usual, a strong woman, going over snowy mountain paths. Another woman and I were separated from the wagon train, and we were survivors. It was shot near the Mojave desert, and we had a sadistic makeup man—he had glycerin for ice on our face—the wind blew and sand stuck to our faces. We had an old hairdresser—she’d spray the hair down, so it stuck together! A strong comb wouldn’t go through it. Working in the desert was hard!

Dorothy bids farewell to Clint Walkjer on "Cheyenne: Storm Center" ('61).With the ‘60s came even more westerns. “I did one called ‘Gunslinger’ with Jim Davis. I remember Jim well, played opposite him a lot. I also did a ‘Cheyenne’ with Clint Walker. He was big…had big shoulders. The main thing I remember is that he’d bring his lunch to the set. They would feed you, if you were on location—but if you were at the studio, you had to go to the commissary and buy your own lunch!”

“Gunsmoke” is the granddaddy of hour-long westerns. “James Arness was a loner. He was ‘seven feet tall’—and they always seemed to film these in the Mojave Desert, Palmdale or Lancaster. I couldn’t look up at him without hurting my eyes, because of the bright lights—from the sun, or those reflectors. I always seemed to play a strong woman, hauling everyone around.”

Dorothy worked three times on the first color western, “Bonanza.” “They were great guys, except Pernell Roberts—he was a pill. Pernell left the show and wasn’t heard of again for many years. (Laughs)” Her third “Bonanza” also starred Noah Beery Jr. whom Dorothy found, “Fine. A nice person.” But, on her second “Bonanza”, her co-star was Robert Vaughn. “I didn’t have a lot of love for him. He was so self-important—so fond of himself. Very strange. It was tough to take. I met a lot of people, but only two or three had these big egos!”

Alan Hale Jr., Dorothy Green and Stacy Harris in "Casey Jones: Treasure of Sam Bass" ('58).When Dorothy guested on “Casey Jones”, she found the star, Alan Hale Jr. to be totally different. “Alan was a good actor—terrific—great.”

“Daniel Boone” was a color western from the mid ‘60s. “It was awful! They already liked me, and they asked if I’d do something off the beaten path—so they flattened my hair, parted it in the middle and added 20 years to my age. I saw half of it and turned the television off!”

“Laramie”, with Robert Fuller, was different. “Jena Engstrom, who played my blind daughter on the show, was the real-life daughter of a friend of mine, the late actress Jean Engstrom. Jena was a very talented young actress—she made the pilot of ‘Jamie McPheeters’ with Kurt Russell. But then she became a schizophrenic! She went back east to do ‘The Nurses’ and came back different—paranoia! Very sad, I get emotional when talking about it.”

Dorothy was Eric Fleming's sister-in-law on "Rawhide: The Boss's Daughters" ('62).“Rawhide” was a big show co-starring future superstar Clint Eastwood. “I was thankful to do that show. Charles Marquis Warren, the writer, later wanted me to have a running role on the show—to play Eric Fleming’s sister-in-law. I did two of the shows as that character, but I had three kids and a husband. Everybody on that show was very nice—it was a good experience. Unfortunately, Fleming drowned in South America not long afterwards. On the first one I did, Buddy Ebsen played a bad guy—he played against type, of course.”

Another popular show of that era was “Sugarfoot.” “I played a good saloon girl! Will Hutchins was a nice man, nice looking; a nice actor. ‘Sugarfoot’ was a nice show!”

In ‘66, Ann Sheridan starred in the comedy-western “Pistols and Petticoats.” “George Tibbles, a close friend of mine, created both ‘My Three Sons’ and ‘Tammy’ as well. Ann Sheridan was dying of cancer—but she was such a sport—she couldn’t eat, so she’d have milkshakes.”

The first western to go 90 minutes was “The Virginian”. “I did a couple of those. On the first one they wanted to re-shoot Kathleen Crowley’s scenes because of her speech. ‘That’s my voice. It’s always cracking,’ she told them. There was a big scene I wasn’t in, but I was on the set—I needed to cough, and of course you can’t spoil a take. I was turning purple, trying to keep from coughing! (Laughs)”

Doesn't look like it here, but Myron Healey was a good guy to Dorothy on Disney's "Swamp Fox: Tory Vengeance" ('60).As to her recurring role on Disney’s “Swamp Fox” as evil Henry Daniell’s wife, Dorothy exclaimed, “Myron Healey was a good guy on that! Slim Pickens was on it, and Leslie Nielsen played the Swamp Fox. He was a serious actor in those days. I only did three of them—out of eight, but they were hour long and in color. I think of Leslie Nielsen in more of a contemporary light—he did ‘Scary Movie 3’. It was the first my grandson wrote, and Leslie was in it.”

“Face of a Fugitive” (‘59) was a western feature in which Dorothy played opposite Fred MacMurray. “Fred was a nice guy—we went up north for a week to some town, I think it was Sonora. Fred was quiet and shy. He also had the first nickel he ever made. He always managed to out-thimble everybody—he never picked up the check! The four of us, Fred, the producer, the director, and I would have dinner together every evening. Fred always managed to dodge picking up that check. (Laughs) At the Columbia Ranch, Fred sat in the car with his paper bag lunch. Again, they considered that a studio and not a location, so you had to buy your own lunch. Fred was a nice person, quiet and shy. I liked Fred, he used me on the pilot for ‘My Three Sons’.”

After her first husband’s death, Dorothy married Sidney Miller whom she met when he was directing “Tammy”. Her third husband, Dr. Arthur Heller, was also a dentist. “Just like my first husband. Some people thought he was Arthur Hiller! He was 6'2", a Ronald Reagan type—outdoorsy and he died the same way—from Alzheimer’s.”

Looking back on her varied career, and the westerns in particular, Dorothy has one last amusing story. “On one of the westerns, we flew  up  in  a  plane.  I got  out and  immediately asked, ‘What is this wonderful smell?’ The answer was, ‘Fresh air.’ (Laughs) Even then, we had smog in L.A. and just getting away, even to the hot desert, was a welcome relief!”

At 88, Dorothy died in L.A. on May 8, 2008.

Dorothy’s Western Filmography


Movies: Face of a Fugitive (‘59 Columbia)—Fred MacMurray. TV: Hopalong Cassidy: Sole Survivor (‘53); State Trooper: Nevada Boy, Pride and Joy (‘56); Wyatt Earp: General’s Lady (‘58); Californians: The Duel (‘58); Casey Jones: Treasure of Sam Bass (‘58); Sugarfoot: Price On His Head (‘58); Wyatt Earp: Cattle Thieves (‘58); Wagon Train: Old Man Chavanaugh Story (‘59); Bonanza: Enter Mark Twain (‘59); Walt Disney Presents: Swamp Fox: Tory Vengeance (‘60); Swamp Fox: Day of Reckoning (‘60); Swamp Fox: Redcoat Strategy (‘60); Wagon Train: Clayton Tucker Story (‘60); Rawhide: Incident of the Stargazer (‘60); Rawhide: Incident of the Fish Out of Water (‘61); Wyatt Earp: A Papa for Butch and Ginger (‘61); Gunslinger: New Savannah Story (‘61); Cheyenne: Storm Center (‘61); Laramie: Lawless Seven (‘61); Gunsmoke: Lacey (‘62); Rawhide: Boss’s Daughters (‘62); Wagon Train: Charley Shutup Story (‘62); Bonanza: Way Station (‘62); Wide Country: To Cindy, With Love (‘63); Gunsmoke: Caleb (‘64); Virginian: Farewell to Honesty (‘65); Bonanza: Lothario Larkin (‘65); Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats: A Wagonload of Wives (‘66); Virginian: Girl on the Glass Mountain (‘66); Daniel Boone: The Flaming Rocks (‘68).

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