Angie Dickinson Reveals How She Stays so Healthy at 91: Clean Eating and ‘Staying Out of Trouble’
Angie Dickinson jokes that she would be working at See’s Confections in the event that she wasn’t recruited for her job in 1959’s Rio Bravo. In addition to John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson, the well-known director Howard Hawks helmed the western that made Angie famous. Today, it’s viewed as a western magnum opus. ” Angie, 91, tells Closer, “I knew it was going to be an extraordinary experience, but I didn’t know how extraordinary.”
Why do you think Rio Bravo remains a classic of its genre?
“Because of Howard Hawks. He was a great moviemaker. There’s also a warmth to this movie. Everybody helped each other.”
What do you remember about starting production on Rio Bravo?
“It was extra scary. They all were already there and had a dinner party [to welcome] me. It was John Wayne, Howard Hawks and the cameramen, everybody. It hit me how big a movie this was. I hadn’t realized it until I got there. We used to film in a place called Old Tucson, outside of Tucson [Arizona], oddly enough. All the western movies came to shoot there.”
What did you think of John Wayne?
“He was so generous. This was John Wayne! This is his 300th movie! He was such a pro. And such a gentleman. He would just quietly lean on his rifle and just wait for me to get the scene right, which was very difficult. I was quite fresh to show business.”
Sounds like John was a favorite co-star.
“The Duke is close to number one. Not because of his fame, but because he was so patient with me. And nobody called him John. If you called him John, he wouldn’t answer. It was Duke all the way.”
Did you have a crush on him?
“Duke was awfully special — but he was married. I really didn’t get a good whack at him. I think if he hadn’t been attached, we might have gone out and had a good time of it. He was divine.”
What was working with Dean Martin like?
“I had only one scene with him where I shaved him. And of course he was a delight. He became a great friend. Jeanne, his wife, was also so incredible. We were so close I was in the family car at his funeral.”
What was Frank like as a boyfriend?
“He was generous, wonderful, sweet, handsome, warm and cuddly. My mother baked cookies for me to give to Frank Sinatra. I cherish that moment so much. When I gave them to him, he laughed and sent her flowers.”
Do you have any favorite memories of shooting the series?
The thing I remember the most was saying goodbye. It was four years of up at 5 a.m. and home at 7 p.m. — long days. It was really torture physically. I did, I think, 91 shows. They were all interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend doing a series to anyone. It’s slave labor. ”