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Angie Dickinson: The Police Woman Who Stole Hearts

Icons | November 10, 2017

Left: Angie Dickinson and Burt Reynolds in 'Sam Whisky' (1969). Right: Angie Dickinson in 'Police Woman.' Source: IMDB; Getty Images

Sultry actress Angie Dickinson, whose Police Woman TV series was a hit in the mid-'70s, has had a long career in Hollywood as an in-demand performer and, let's face it, a really cool chick. If Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack had ever officially allowed girls in their club, Angie would have been at the top of the list -- she and Ol' Blue Eyes were lifelong friends, and it's no wonder she was cast as his wife in Ocean's Eleven (1960).  Apart from Police Woman, Dickinson's memorable roles came in such memorable films as Rio Bravo (1959), The Killers (1964), The Chase (1966), Point Blank (1967), Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), Big Bad Mama (1974), and Dressed To Kill (1980).

Angie Dickinson played her fair share of "sex kitten" roles, particularly early on -- if a movie wanted that extra dollop of sex appeal, casting Angie Dickinson was a sure bet. But on Police Woman, she provided something rare on TV at the time -- a strong, heroic female lead. Between Angie Dickinson and Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter, mid-'70s TV was trending toward female empowerment for the first time, well, ever.

A Beauty With Hollywood In Her Future

Angie Dickinson Angie Dickinson and Dean Martin filming 'Rio Bravo' (1959). Source: IMDB

Angie Dickinson was the total package with her brains, talent and stunning good looks. Early on, she aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a writer but threw that idea out the window after she began to be noticed for her sex appeal. She was quite a “looker” and did well in a few beauty pageants including a local Miss America contest. That’s all the acknowledgement she needed.

A Fresh New Star

Source: Pinterest

One of the beauty pageants she entered was sponsored by the television network, NBC. Because of her exposure in this pageant, she was offered an appearance on several television variety shows, which she gladly accepted. After that, her career jump-started, and she appeared on the 1955 series The Millionaire. From there, her career went through the glass ceiling! She received the Golden Globe Award for “New Star of the Year” in 1959. At that point, her acting career continued to skyrocket until she was known as one of America’s top movie stars and an American sex symbol to boot.

From 'Rio Bravo' To Superstardom

John Wayne and Angie Dickinson in 'Rio Bravo' (1959). Source: IMDB.

Dickinson was born Angela Brown, and married football player Gene Dickinson in her early 20s. She kept the name of Dickinson after they divorced. As a young actress, Dickinson was known as one of Hollywood’s most alluring starlets, and was connected romantically with  prominent public figures including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and John F. Kennedy. (She denies having dated JFK.) Angie Dickinson worked hard to establish herself on TV and in small movie roles in the '50s, then made her breakthrough on the silver screen in Rio Bravo (1959), alongside John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson.

A Leading Lady And Sex Symbol

Left: Dickinson in the 'Police Woman' era. Right: Publicity photo of Dickinson on a scooter, 1960s. Source: eBay

In the years that followed, she appeared in countless big-screen projects with other notable stars including Marlon Brando, Roger Moore, Richard Burton and Gregory Peck. Countless movies, some of them classic, featured Dickinson. Her looks were striking but were also conducive to a variety of character identities. In 1965, she married songwriter Burt Bacharach.

A Tough Cop

Source: Pinterest

The television series Police Woman is how most of us probably remember Angie Dickinson. She was the blond and beautiful Sgt. Pepper Anderson of the Los Angeles Police Department, Criminal Conspiracy Unit Officer. She worked undercover to expose the bad guys and bring them to justice. Police Woman was the first television show about cops to feature a woman.

In her role in Police Woman, Dickinson empowered women. She had given hope to female actresses that they could stand on their own merits. A woman didn’t need to play opposite a male actor… she was able to carry the show on her own! By her example, women also realized that they could also be valuable in the law enforcement arena. During this time, police departments across America experienced a surge of female applicants for law enforcement officers.

Angie Dickinson Will Always Be A Sex Symbol

Source: Reddit

Angie Dickinson has always been epically beautiful as well as the crush of plenty of men, young and old alike, over the years. She has never stopped being the object of male attention with her flirty eyes, sensual mouth and undeniable sex appeal. Dickinson had many films, movies and televisions successes to her credit. Above all, though, she was known for her class and her brains. Even now, at the age of 80 plus… she still had that that classic beauty she was always known for and remains the subject of public interest.

Tags: Angie Dickinson | Frank Sinatra | JFK | John Wayne | Models | What They Are Known For

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.