Dorothy Lee ~ 1930s Starlet


Dorothy Lee

Dorothy Lee was born Marjorie Elizabeth Millsap on May 23, 1911 in Los Angeles, California. Her father, Homer C. Millsap, was a prominent attorney and she attended the Westlake School for Girls. When she was sixteen she married Robert Booth, a dancer, but they divorced two years later. After winning a contest she moved to New York City and started her career in vaudeville. Then she was hired to sing with Fred Waring and his band. Dorothy and Fred were engaged for a brief time. In 1929 she had a featured role in Rio And Rita with the comedy team Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey. It was a hit and she would appear in more than a dozen more Wheeler and Woolsey films including The Cuckoos and Too Many Cooks. Audiences loved Dorothy's bubbly personality and beautiful singing voice. She married gossip columnist Jimmy Fiddler in 1931. Unfortunately their marriage lasted only seven months. While making the 1932 film Girl Crazy she had a dispute with producer David O'Selznick.

Dorothy LeeDorothy Lee

Dorothy was so upset that she quit making the Wheeler and Woolsey comedies. She appeared in a few more films but her acting career stalled. Dorothy married Marshall Duffield, a football player, in 1933. They divorced and in 1936 she married businessman A.G. Atwater. In 1939 she left him and adopted a three year old son. Dorothy married her fifth husband John Bersbach, a printing executive, in 1941. Her final film was Too Many Blondes with Rudy Vallee. During the 1940s she briefly toured in vaudeville with her former costar Bert Wheeler. She and her husband Frank moved to Chicago and raised four children together. Their marriage ended in 1960 and she married attorney Charles Calderini. She spent her free time playing golf and learning how to fly a plane. Dorothy moved to San Diego after her husband Charles died in 1985. She died from respiratory failure on June 24, 1999 at the age of eighty-eight. Dorothy was cremated and her ashes are buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Illinois.

Dorothy LeeDorothy Lee