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Doe Avedon

Performer
( b. Apr 07, 1925 Westbury, New York, USA - d. Dec 18, 2011 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Female
Avedon was a bookish beauty reluctantly transformed into a high-fashion model at the hands of a visionary photographer, Richard Avedon — a story that inspired the 1957 musical “Funny Face,” about a bookish beauty (Audrey Hepburn) reluctantly transformed into a high-fashion model at the hands of a visionary photographer (Fred Astaire.)

Ms. Avedon’s career has a “Pygmalion” aspect that befits midcentury Hollywood, the milieu into which her dark good looks eventually propelled her. For after meeting her by chance in the 1940s, Mr. Avedon set about transforming her, changing not only her profession (she had worked in uninspiring office jobs that gave her time to read) but also her name.

He changed her first name to Doe because of her soft wide eyes — and because it made up in glamour what her given name, Dorcas, seemed to lack. He changed her last name by marrying her.

Although the marriage lasted just five years, her work as his muse and frequent subject led Ms. Avedon into a career, equally unanticipated, as a stage, film and television actress.

Ms. Avedon, who later married the director Don Siegel and was known in private life as Doe Avedon Siegel, had roles in a handful of pictures, including “The High and the Mighty” (1954), starring John Wayne, and “Deep in My Heart” (1954), starring José Ferrer. She returned to the screen in 1984 in “Love Streams,” directed by John Cassavetes.

On television, she had a recurring role in “Big Town,” a noirish newspaper drama broadcast from 1950 to 1956.

On Broadway, she won a Theater World Award in 1949 for The Young and Fair, a drama by N. Richard Nash, in which she played the mean girl at a college for young ladies. She also appeared that year in the short-lived comedy My Name Is Aquilon.

Dorcas Marie Nowell was born on April 7, 1925, in Old Westbury, N.Y., on Long Island, where her father was butler to a wealthy lawyer. Her mother died when she was 3, her father when she was 12, and she was reared by his employer’s family.

As a young woman in New York, she held various jobs, including working in a bank. The precise circumstances of her meeting Mr. Avedon varied in the telling, her daughter said: in one version, he walked into the bank, took one look at her and the plot flowed cinematically from there.

They married in 1944, and Ms. Avedon was soon posing for other major photographers, including Karl Bissinger, and rubbing elbows with Noël Coward and his glittering ilk. Through her friendship with Leonard Gershe, who would write the screenplay for “Funny Face,” the film was conceived.

Source: The New York Times



Productions Date of Productions
My Name Is Aquilon
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Doe Avedon [Denise]
Feb 09, 1949 - Mar 07, 1949
The Young and Fair
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Doe Avedon [Drucilla Eldridge]
Nov 22, 1948 - Jan 08, 1949
1949 Theatre World Award
winnerThe Young and Fair [winner]
Performer: Doe Avedon
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