Dolores Gray

Dolores Gray (June 7, 1924 June 26, 2002) was an American actress and singer. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical twice, winning once.

Dolores Gray
Designing Woman film trailer (1957)
Sylvia Dolores Finkelstein

(1924-06-07)June 7, 1924
DiedJune 26, 2002(2002-06-26) (aged 78)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1941–1989
Andrew J. Crevolin
(m. 1966; died 1992)
  • Harry Vernon Finkelstein (father)
AwardsTony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Carnival in Flanders (1954)

Early life

She was born as Sylvia Dolores Finkelstein[1] (but known by Sylvia Dolores Vernon[2] growing up) to Barbara Marguerite Gray (born Marguerite Gray) and Harry Vernon Finkelstein[3] (stage name Harry Vernon) in Los Angeles, California, although obituaries listed Gray's birthplace as Chicago, as does her biography on the Internet Movie Database. Both her mother and father were Vaudeville actors, which is how they met. Gray's parents divorced when she was a young child. Dolores had an older brother, Richard Gray (born Richard Vernon), who also had a career in Hollywood. While attending Polytechnic High School she was in the Girls' Glee Club. She was 'discovered' by Rudy Vallee, who gave her a guest spot on his nationwide radio show. Dolores Gray was briefly signed with MGM, appearing in Kismet (1955) and It's Always Fair Weather (1955).


Her career commenced as a cabaret artist in restaurants and supper clubs in San Francisco.[4] In 1945 she appeared in her own radio program.[4] While she was appearing in Annie Get Your Gun in London (1947 – 1950), she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1948. As a fundraiser to help rebuild the RADA theatre, she appeared as Nell Gwynne in In Good King Charles's Golden Days at Drury Lane Theatre (Oct 1948).[4] She appeared at the London Palladium in 1958 while doing a concert tour of Europe and in cabaret at The Talk of the Town in February 1963.[4] Among her many stage roles, she appeared in Two on the Aisle (1951), Carnival In Flanders (1953); Destry Rides Again (1959); Sherry! (1967); and 42nd Street (1986). She also performed the lead role in Annie Get Your Gun in its first London production (1947).[5] Gray won the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her role in Carnival in Flanders, even though this Broadway musical, with a script by Preston Sturges, ran for only six performances. She therefore holds a record that is unlikely to be broken: briefest run in a performance which still earned a Tony. She is the first person to have sung the English version of the French song “C'est si bon” in a movie : Holiday in Paris: Paris directed by John Nasht.

Portraying a singing and dancing stage actress, she appeared with Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall in the highly successful film Designing Woman (1957), as his former romantic interest. During her successful music career, she sang Marilyn Monroe's part on the Decca Records soundtrack album of There's No Business Like Show Business (1954).

She was best known for her theatre roles. She recalled once, “What a gift that would be to have more of a permanent record. A stage performance is just that, then it's lost. When I see movies on TV, I think, 'How great to have that.' But why look back? The decisions I made, I made. I can't change that.” In 1973 she took over from Angela Lansbury in the London production of Gypsy at the Piccadilly Theatre. In 1987 she starred in the London production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Shaftesbury Theatre to great acclaim and appeared in the Royal Variety Performance of that year with a show-stopping performance of the song 'I'm Still Here" from the show. In 1978 she also appeared on BBC TV's long-running variety show The Good Old Days - chairman Leonard Sachs had also appeared in Follies as theatre owner Dimitri Wiseman, introducing Miss Gray, one of “The Wiseman Girls”. Theatre critic Michael Phillips wrote that Gray's voice sounded like “a freight-train slathered in honey.”[6] In 1988 she appeared in the Doctor Who 25th anniversary story “Silver Nemesis,” playing an American tourist.

Apart from the many soundtrack albums she appeared on, Gray recorded one album of songs in 1957 for Capitol Records with the title Warm Brandy (T897).[7]


On September 24, 1966, Dolores Gray married Andrew J. Crevolin, a California businessman and Thoroughbred racehorse owner who won the 1954 Kentucky Derby.[8] Despite erroneous reports in the media that they divorced, they remained married until his death in 1992. The union was childless.


Gray died of a heart attack in Manhattan, aged 78.[9] Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[10]


Year Title Role
1942Lady for a NightPerformer
1944Mr. SkeffingtonPerformer
1955It's Always Fair WeatherMadeline
1956The Opposite SexSylvia
1957Designing WomanLori

Stage work


  1. "California Birth Index, 1905-1995".
  2. "1930 US Federal Census".
  3. "Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index 1912-1942".
  4. Who's Who in the Theatre (1981) Gale, Gale Biography In Context
  5. Ruhlmann, William. "Annie Get Your Gun (Original London Cast) (Bonus Tracks) - Original Soundtrack, AllMusic Review". Ann Arbor, USA: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  6. Phillips, Michael (July 3, 2002). "Chicago-born Dolores Gray blessed us with her voice". Chicago Tribune.
  7. "Dolores Gray - Warm Brandy". Discogs.
  8. "The Spokesman-Review - Google News Archive Search".
  9. Goldman, Ari L. (2002-06-29). "Dolores Gray, 78, Sultry Star Of Stage and Movie Musicals - Obituary". Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  10. Wilson, Scott (16 September 2016). "Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed". McFarland via Google Books.
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