Dorothy Kilgallen

Recent Role:

Regular Panelist (1950-1965) on What's My Line?

Born:

7/13/1913, Chicago, IL

Died:

11/8/1965

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Married to Richard Kollmar, 3 Children
    Father: James "Jim" Lawrence Kilgallen Mother: Mae
    Sister: Eleanor

    Married: Richard Tomkins Kollmar (Actor) on April 6, 1940

    Children: Jill Ellen Elizabeth Kollmar
    Richard "Dickie" Tomkins Kollmar II
    Kerry Ardan Kollmar


    Education: Erasmus Hall High School, Chicago
    College of New Rochelle (Sept. 1930) attended one year.

    Began work at the Evening-Journal after one year in college. The paper was part of the William Randolph Hearst syndicate. It did not hurt that her father, Jim was an important reporter for the International News Service also owned by Hearst. Covered crime stories for the paper.

    In September 1936 took part in a "race around the world" against fellow newsmen Bud Ekins of the World-Telegram and Leo Kieran of the New York Times. Dorothy left at 11pm on the Hindenburg, hoping to make it round in 21 days. During that time she covered her travels with a laptop typewriter. Dorothy made it in a little over 24 days, coming in second to Ekins. This "race" launched her as a celebrity. Every house on her block was decorated with American Flags and her picture. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to congratulate her. Her reports were put together in book form as Girl Around the World. A song was also written about her: "Hats off to Dorothy".

    The book was turned into a screenplay entitled "Fly Away Baby". She went to Hollywood with the screenplay and also appeared briefly in MGM "Sinner Take All" in 1936.

    In November 1938, Dorothy was moved to another Hearst paper, the New York Journal-American in order to take over the column she would write until her death, "The Voice of Broadway". Here she covered the comings and goings of shows, celebrities, etc. in New York. This column represented the social elite, the famous people, the ones who ate at the fanciest restaurants, saw the greatest shows and cocktailed the night away. Also information she deemed appropriate would be passed to J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI in Washington.

    800 guests, among them; Thomas Dewey, Tyrone Powers, Ethel Merman and Milton Berle attended her marriage to actor, Richard Kollmar in 1940. "Reuben's Restaurant" in New York named a sandwich after her. The Dorothy Kilgallen was $1.10.

    In April 1945 WOR Radio brought Dorothy and her husband on board to do a daily morning radio show. "Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick" aired live Monday through Saturday from 8.15am until 8.55am. The show was prerecorded for Sunday's broadcast from 11.30am till Noon. The show was live from their own apartment dining room. Here they would discuss news items, have coffee, talk with the children and mention shows or performers in the area.

    February of 1950 saw the beginning of one of TV's longest running shows, "What's My Line?" The first episode featured John Daly as the host and a panel consisting of: Dorothy, Louis Untermeyer (who later left the show because of rumored Communist connections), Harold Hoffman, and Dr. Richard Hoffman.

    In 1953, Dorothy covered the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for Hearst. Dorothy also reported on the Dr. Sam Sheppard murder trial (on which The Fugitive is based).

    In 1956, at the age of 43 she began an affair with singer Johnnie Ray, age 29.

    Jack Ruby requested Dorothy for an interview; there she began her file on the President Kennedy asassination. She wrote several articles on the murder and pointed out inconsistencies about the whole affair.

    Dorothy was last seen alive at 1am. She was found around noon, sitting up in bed dead. The large file she had accumulated (and was planning a book on) was not found in her apartment. Officially she died of an overdose. The conspiracy theorist in me says it was something else. Apparently, Dorothy had something of importance in that file.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Dorothy Mae Kilgallen

    Gender:

    Female

    Birth Place:

    Chicago, IL

    Also Known As

    Dolly Mae Kilgallen

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Trivia (1)

    • Dorothy's last appearance on television was not on What's My Line? Her final show was To Tell the Truth which was taped with Arlene Francis and Joan Crawford the week she died and was shown the day after she died.