“I actually turned down an opportunity for a private interview with Adolph Hitler.”
Spotlight: Dorothy Kilgallen
About ten years ago, Game Show Network began offering reruns of What’s My Line? very late at night. This is an old show that ran from 1950 to 1967. It may have been the greatest game show of all time with true celebrities on the panel and as guests. On one show you might see the established Orson Wells and on another an up-and-coming Woody Allen.
The show began with each panelist walking out to their chair and, still standing, they would introduce the next panelist. This is because the public wanted to see what they were wearing! These were stars, many on Broadway while also doing the show.
Watching the show, I was delighted and amazed at Dorothy Kilgallen. This had to be the smartest person that I’d ever seen! Funny, quick, sharp, smart and focused as she cut through the questions and answers to get the result.
Who was she?
She was a newspaper reporter. Her column, The Voice of Broadway, was syndicated to 140 newspapers. She was very well known. At first thought, it might be guessed that she was a gossip columnist but she also reported on politics and organized crime.
And she was brave.
In 1936 Kilgallen competed with two other New York newspaper reporters in a race around the world using only means of transportation available to the general public. She was the only woman to compete in the contest and came in second. She described the event in her book Girl Around The World, which is credited as the story idea for the 1937 movie Fly-Away Baby starring Glenda Farrell as a character partly inspired by Kilgallen.
She did very well, she lived on Park Avenue in Manhattan in a 16-room apartment.
Clearly an amazing person, I am a fan.
She died at the age of 52 and things must be said. It was of an “apparent” overdose that mirrors the death of Marilyn Monroe. She was investigating the assassination of JFK and had told her readers that she had some big news coming out soon.
The conspiracy guys love this but I don’t want it to distract me from relishing this amazing person who was truly a star.
One thought on “Spotlight: Dorothy Kilgallen”
This is great! I was want to know who those panelist were. And why they got picked. Who is Orson Bean? What about Kitty Carlisle? And all the gang. You could tell that everything was New York City based in those days.
Love this essay Kubla!
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