Constance Dowling

Constance Dowling

Andrea Checchi and Costance Dowling in Stormbound (1950)
Born (1920-07-24)July 24, 1920
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 28, 1969(1969-10-28) (aged 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1944-1955
Spouse(s) Ivan Tors (m.1955-1969)
(her death) (4 children)

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

Early life and career

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 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]

Tribute to Constance Dowling and Cesare Pavese, an installation exhibited at Cesare Pavese Sculpture/Installation Prize, Santo Stefano Belbo, 2016


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 some unmemorable Italian films. Dowling returned to Hollywood in the 1950s and landed a part in the sci-fi film Gog, her last film.

Personal life

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 Italian poet/novelist Cesare Pavese who committed suicide in 1950 after being rejected by Dowling. One of his last poems is entitled "Death will come and she'll have your eyes".[12][13]

In 1955, Dowling married film producer Ivan Tors, writer and producer of her last film. (Another source, published two years earlier, refers to Downling and Tors as "honeymooning.")[14] 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.[15] (An obituary listed Ndwego as an adopted son, rather than a foster son and spelled his last name Ndewga.)[16]


On October 28, 1969, Dowling died at the age of 49 of a heart attack[15] at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[17] She was survived by her husband and four sons.[16]


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 Addio Mimí! Student Alternative title: Her Wonderful Lie
Blind Spot Evelyn Green
The Flame Helen Anderson
1948 City of Pain Lubitza Alternative title: La città dolente
1949 Duello Senza Onore Olga Alternative title: Duel Without Honor
Mad About Opera Margaret Jones Alternative title: Follie per l'opera
Una Voce nel tuo Cuore Dolly Alternative title: A Voice in your Heart
1950 My Beautiful Daughter Lilly
La Strada finisce sul fiume Barbara Alternative title: Stormbound
1951 Nash Airflyte Theatre TV, 1 episode
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse TV, 1 episode
The Adventures of Ellery Queen TV, 1 episode
Cosmopolitan Theatre TV, 1 episode
1951–1952 Lights Out TV, 2 episodes
1953–1954 City Detective TV, 2 episodes
1954 Gog Joanna Merritt
1955 Fireside Theater Betty TV, 1 episode


  1. Chapman, Frank (January 20, 1946). "Bad Girl -- but Good!". New York, Syracuse. The Post-Standard. p. 49. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  2. Carroll, Harrison (December 14, 1943). "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood". Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. The Wilkes-Barre Record. p. 15. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  3. Saxon, Wolfgang (2004-06-28). "Doris Dowling, 81, Is Dead; Known for Classic Films of 40's". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Johnson, Erskine (July 3, 1943). "Screen Chats". Pennsylvania, Shamokin. Shamokin News-Dispatch. p. 5. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  5. "Miss Dowling Is Signed for Film Lead in Picture". Texas, Waco. Waco Tribune-Herald. 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. 1969-10-29. p. 52. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  7. Graham, Sheilah (June 3, 1943). "Marx Brothers Plan Return To Movies". Canada, Winnepeg, Manitoba. The Winnepeg Tribune. p. 8. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  8. Johnson, Erskine (October 18, 1943). "In Hollywood". Michigan, Ironwood. Ironwood Daily Globe. p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  9. Hopper, Hedda (August 10, 1946). "Looking at Hollywood". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 19. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  10. "Hollywood Notes". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 19, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  11. Schickel, Richard (1988-05-09). "Incaution on A Grand Scale Elia Kazan: A Life". Time. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  12. di Vincenzo, Ludovica (2014). "Death will come and she'll have your eyes - The Times Stephen Spender Prize 2013 (commended)". Stephen Spender Trust. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  13. Williamson, Alan (1997-09-10). "Pavese's late love poems". The American Poetry Review. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  14. Gwynn, Edith (February 27, 1953). "Hollywood". Pennsylvania, Pottstown. Pottstown Mercury. p. 29. Retrieved April 20, 2016 via
  15. 1 2 "The Private Life and Times of Constance Dowling". Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  16. 1 2 "Death Claims Actress". Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The Ottawa Journal. October 30, 1969. p. 28. Retrieved April 21, 2016 via
  17. "Notable Deaths From Everywhere". Pennsylvania, Kittanning. Simpson's Leader-Times. October 29, 1969. p. 19. Retrieved April 21, 2016 via

External links

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