Constance Dowling

Constance Dowling (July 24, 1920 – October 28, 1969) was an American model turned actress of the 1940s and 1950s.

Constance Dowling
Andrea Checchi e Costance Dowling.jpg
Andrea Checchi and Constance Dowling in Stormbound (1950)
Born(1920-07-24)July 24, 1920
New York City, U.S.
DiedOctober 28, 1969(1969-10-28) (aged 49)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1944–1955
Spouse(s)Ivan Tors (m.1955–1969) (her death) (4 children)

Early life and careerEdit

Born in New York City, Dowling was a model and chorus girl before moving to California in 1943. She had two brothers, Richard Dowling[1] and Robert Smith Dowling,[2] and was the elder sister of actress Doris Dowling.[3] She attended Wadleigh High School for Girls in New York City.[4]

Dowling was a dancer at the Paradise nightclub in New York City,[5] a job that she obtained by lying about her age to her employer and lying about the job to her mother.[4]


Prior to her move to Hollywood, she appeared in several Broadway productions, including Quiet City, Liliom,[4] Panama Hattie (with sister Doris), Hold On To Your Hats, and The Strings, My Lord, Are False.[6]


Dowling—promoted by press agents of producer Samuel Goldwyn as three-dimensional ("she can sing, she can dance and she can act")[4]—began her screen career appearing in Up in Arms (1944) for Samuel Goldwyn. At the time, newspaper columnist Sheilah Graham reported that Danny Kaye "was hoping for a big movie name to star opposite him ... but boss Sam Goldwyn thinks otherwise and has signed" Dowling.[7] In the same year, she appeared opposite Nelson Eddy in Knickerbocker Holiday,[8]

In 1946, newspaper columnist Hedda Hopper reported that Dowling had signed a long-term contract with Eagle-Lion Films.[9] Soon after having appeared in The Well-Groomed Bride (1946) and Black Angel (1946), she was loaned to Columbia Pictures to appear in Boston Blackie and the Law.[10]

Dowling lived in Italy in 1947 through 1950 and appeared in several Italian films. Dowling returned to Hollywood in the 1950s and landed a part in the sci-fi film Gog, her last film.

Personal lifeEdit

Dowling had been involved in a long affair with married director Elia Kazan in New York. He couldn't bring himself to leave his wife and the affair ended when Dowling went to Hollywood under contract to Goldwyn.[11] She was later linked with the famous Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese who committed suicide in 1950 after a lifelong depression aggravated, at one point, by having been rejected by Dowling who, in Pavese's poetry, is often linked to spring ("face of springtime").[12] One of his last poems is entitled "Death will come and she'll have your eyes".[13][14]

In 1955, Dowling married film producer Ivan Tors, writer and producer of her last film. (Another source, published two years earlier, refers to Dowling and Tors as "honeymooning.")[15] She then retired from acting, going on to have three sons and a foster child with Tors: Steven, David, Peter and foster son Alfred Ndwego of Kenya.[16] (An obituary listed Ndwego as an adopted son rather than a foster son and spelled his last name Ndewga.)[17]


On October 28, 1969, Dowling died at the age of 49 of a heart attack[16] at UCLA Medical Center.[18][17] Her burial was at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[19]


Year Title Role Other notes
1944 Up in Arms Nurse Lt. Mary Morgan
Knickerbocker Holiday Tina Tienhoven
1946 The Well-Groomed Bride Rita Sloane
Black Angel Mavis Marlowe
Boston Blackie and the Law Dinah Moran Alternative title: Blackie and the Law
1947 Blind Spot Evelyn Green
The Flame Helen Anderson
1948 Mad About Opera Margaret Jones Alternative title: Follie per l'opera
1949 City of Pain Lubitza Alternative title: La città dolente
Addio Mimí! Student Alternative title: Her Wonderful Lie
Una Voce nel tuo Cuore Dolly Alternative title: A Voice in your Heart
1950 My Beautiful Daughter Lilly
1951 Nash Airflyte Theatre Episode: "Pearls Are a Nuisance"
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse Episode: "The Haunted House"
Duello Senza Onore Olga Alternative title: Duel Without Honor
The Adventures of Ellery Queen 1 episode
Cosmopolitan Theatre Episode: "Mr. Pratt and the Triple Horror Bill"
La Strada finisce sul fiume Barbara Alternative title: Stormbound
1951–1952 Lights Out Adele Bryan 2 episodes
1953–1954 City Detective Karen / Sheila / Blonde Mrs. Nato 2 episodes
1954 Gog Joanna Merritt
1955 Fireside Theater Betty Episode: "Cheese Champion", (final film role)


  1. ^ Chapman, Frank (January 20, 1946). "Bad Girl -- but Good!". The Post-Standard. New York, Syracuse. p. 49. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  2. ^ Carroll, Harrison (December 14, 1943). "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood". The Wilkes-Barre Record. Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. p. 15. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  3. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (June 28, 2004). "Doris Dowling, 81, Is Dead; Known for Classic Films of 40's". New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Johnson, Erskine (July 3, 1943). "Screen Chats". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. p. 5. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  5. ^ "Miss Dowling Is Signed for Film Lead in Picture". Waco Tribune-Herald. Texas, Waco. June 6, 1943. p. 19. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  6. ^ "Constance Dowling, 49, Is Dead; Acted on Broadway and in Films". The New York Times. Reuters. October 29, 1969. p. 52. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  7. ^ Graham, Sheilah (June 3, 1943). "Marx Brothers Plan Return To Movies". The Winnipeg Tribune. Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 8. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  8. ^ Johnson, Erskine (October 18, 1943). "In Hollywood". Ironwood Daily Globe. Michigan, Ironwood. p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  9. ^ Hopper, Hedda (August 10, 1946). "Looking at Hollywood". Harrisburg Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. p. 19. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  10. ^ "Hollywood Notes". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. August 19, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  11. ^ Schickel, Richard (May 9, 1988). "Incaution on A Grand Scale Elia Kazan: A Life". Time. p. 2. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  12. ^ Pavese, Cesare (1950). The cats will know. Einaudi.
  13. ^ di Vincenzo, Ludovica (2014). "Death will come and she'll have your eyes - The Times Stephen Spender Prize 2013 (commended)". Stephen Spender Trust. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  14. ^ Williamson, Alan (September 10, 1997). "Pavese's late love poems". The American Poetry Review. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  15. ^ Gwynn, Edith (February 27, 1953). "Hollywood". Pottstown Mercury. Pennsylvania, Pottstown. p. 29. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via  
  16. ^ a b "The Private Life and Times of Constance Dowling". Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  17. ^ a b "Death Claims Actress". The Ottawa Journal. Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. October 30, 1969. p. 28. Retrieved April 21, 2016 – via  
  18. ^ "Notable Deaths From Everywhere". Simpson's Leader-Times. Pennsylvania, Kittanning. October 29, 1969. p. 19. Retrieved April 21, 2016 – via  
  19. ^ Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries

External linksEdit