Dorothy Wilson (actress)

Dorothy Wilson (November 14, 1909 – January 7, 1998) was an American film actress of the 1930s.

Dorothy Wilson
Dorothy Wilson, Harold Lloyd, and Helen Mack from a poster for The Milky Way (1936)
Born(1909-11-14)November 14, 1909
DiedJanuary 7, 1998(1998-01-07) (aged 88)
Years active19321943
Spouse(s)Lewis R. Foster (1936-1974) (his death)

Wilson was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moving to Los Angeles, California, after her high school graduation. Ironically, she had no interest in acting and had moved to Los Angeles due to an urge to travel.[1] In 1930, she began working as a secretary and applied at several employment agencies. She received a job at RKO Pictures, and for two years she worked there as a secretary.[1][2] She often took notes for director Gregory La Cava; she was noticed by the executive in charge of casting and offered a screen test for La Cava's upcoming 1932 film The Age of Consent.[1] She won one of the two lead coed roles, opposite Richard Cromwell. Her performance in the film received good reviews.

That same year, she was selected as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars", along with future Hollywood legend Ginger Rogers and Gloria Stuart.[3] She would go on to star opposite some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Harold Lloyd, Richard Dix, Tom Keene, Preston Foster and Will Rogers. She appeared in twenty films between 1932 and 1937.

In 1936, she had married scriptwriter Lewis R. Foster, whom she had met while filming the 1934 movie Eight Girls in a Boat. Foster would win an Oscar for his script for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, released in 1939 and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, based on Foster's book The Gentleman From Montana. She was asked to test for the part of Melanie Hamilton in the epic movie Gone With the Wind, which she did, but she did not win the role, it being awarded to Olivia de Havilland. She would star in only two films after the marriage, after which she retired from acting to devote time to her family. She returned to acting only once, in an uncredited role in the 1943 film Whistling in Brooklyn.

She and Foster remained together and raised a family of two children. Foster died in 1974. Dorothy never remarried and was residing in Lompoc, California, at the time of her death on January 7, 1998.

Partial filmography


  1. "Typist Surprised to Find She Is Cast In Lead Role". The San Bernardino Sun. Associated Press. June 19, 1932 via Note: Fraternity House is an alternate title of The Age of Consent.
  2. Louella Parsons (December 28, 1933). "Robinson Gets Coveted Role Of Little Corporal". The Fresno Bee via
  3. "Here They Are Together - Hollywood's Baby Stars". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Associated Press. December 24, 1932 via
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