Dolores Gray, Sultry Musical Theatre Actress and Tony Winner, Is Dead

Obituaries   Dolores Gray, Sultry Musical Theatre Actress and Tony Winner, Is Dead Dolores Gray, the sultry-voiced actress who had a late-career Broadway success as Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street and who appeared in other Broadway and Hollywood musicals, died June 26, the London Telegraph has reported.
Dolores Gray in 42nd Street.
Dolores Gray in 42nd Street. (Photo by Photo by Martha Swope)

Dolores Gray, the sultry-voiced actress who had a late-career Broadway success as Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street and who appeared in other Broadway and Hollywood musicals, died June 26, the London Telegraph has reported.

Ms. Gray, whose birth year has been reported as both 1924 and 1930, is remembered for Broadway's Two on the Aisle (holding her own with Bert Lahr) and Destry Rides Again (playing the saucy Frenchy), as well as the screen version Kismet. She won a 1954 Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for Carnival in Flanders and was nommed again for Harold Rome's Destry Rides Again.

She always seemed to play strong ladies whose sensuality nonetheless burbled through. In Two on the Aisle, she memorably sang the Comden-Green-Styne song "If (You Hadn't But You Did)," a list song in which she gives the reasons why she shot her lover down (all rhyming with the word "if").

In London in the late 1940s, she starred as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun at the Coliseum. She won raves for the performance and M-G-M came calling.

While in London, the Telegraph noted, the Chicago native attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to become a better actress and appeared in student shows there. Ms. Gray was drawn to showbusiness early and was a club singer at a young age. Rudy Vallee reportedly discovered her and invited her on his radio program. Her Broadway debut was in Seven Lively Arts, in 1944, the same year she appeared briefly in Hollywood's "Mr. Skeffington."

In the Hollywood's "Kismet" she played the voluptuous Lalume, and was one of the dames in the Betty Comden-Adolph Green movie musical, "It's Always Fair Weather." She also appeared in "The Opposite Sex" and "Designing Woman."

Ms. Gray was Angela Lansbury's replacement in the 1973 Piccadilly Theatre staging of Gypsy. In 1987, she appeared in Follies in London, singing "I'm Still Here." Nightclubs, recording and television were all a part of her experience.

In the mid 1980s she was a replacement Dorothy Brock, the aging actress sidelined by an injury, in the smash hit, 42nd Street. In the show, she sang "I Only Have Eyes for You," among other Warren-Dubin songs. She also appeared in Sherry!, a musical version of The Man Who Came to Dinner.

She was predeceased by her husband.

— By Kenneth Jones