Angie Dickinson was one of the most celebrated actresses of her generation. She won awards for her amazing roles and would be praised for her skills as a performer.
But years on, at 92 years old, it seems the glamor of the actress’ heyday has long faded. To find out what her life looks like now, keep reading…
Angeline Dickinson who is more widely known as Angie is an American actress who has had a tremendous television career. She started out by appearing on anthology shows in the early ’50s. Then she finally landed a role in “Gun the Man Down,” but you may also remember her from her sow “Rio Bravo,” which earned her a Golden Globe award.
Apart from television, she also did a lot of work in films. She had roles in movies like “Jessica,” “The Chase,” “The Outside Man,” “The Art of Love,” “The Killers,” “Ocean’s 11 (1964),” “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” and many more. She was a highly booked actress throughout the ’60s and ’70s.
But perhaps her most impactful role was as Seargent Pepper Anderson in “Police Woman.” This was the first time an actress was the lead in a television show and she was a smash hit. Her role also inspired several young girls to join the police force.
The actress herself acknowledged how “unique” it was to see a woman in uniform on television. While it is common to see women as cops on television today in shows such as CSI or Law and Order, at the time it was a unique experience.
In a PBS series titled “Pioneers of Television,” the actress discussed her involvement with the role and how positively audiences responded to crime shows even at the time.
But the actress never considered herself a “feminist.” She believed she had to compete with men. While she was not a feminist herself, her role did empower a lot of women to make certain decisions.
As for herself, the actress said, “when I was up for a role, I didn’t compete with men; it was a role for a woman.”
And when she was asked about the pay gap which actresses still struggle with, she revealed that it did not bother her. The actress said she was “content” with the salary she had been offered at the time.
She also lamented at the missed opportunity she had with “Police Woman.” She said that the show did not show more. She said she felt the show was “too clean.” She did not appreciate how each episode ended perfectly and how little violence there was in them.
The actress said she wished her show had depicted worse consequences for bad guys. She appreciated current shows like “Southland” and “Detroit 1-8-7,” which do better with depicting such circumstances than her show did.
When the show was at its most popular, the actress revealed she would often get letters from fans who told her how she had inspired them to become join the police force.
The actress was in her 40s when “Police Woman” and she worked incredibly hard to deliver a stellar performance. She worked twice as hard as actresses younger than her and even with age, her beauty seemed to get even more enhanced rather than just fade.
She was captivating for a lot of people. Which is why it is rumored she was incredibly close to the Rat Pack. It was famously rumored that the actress had a 10 year long affair with Frank Sinatra after the two of them starred in the original Ocean’s 11 together. There were also rumors that Angie was involved with Dean Martin and former president John F. Kennedy as well.
The actress also made her famous cameo in 2001’s “Ocean’s 11” with George Clooney. She is still regarded as a Hollywood legend who is praised by the entire industry even today.
In 2020, the actress made a startling revelation in an interview. She appeared on “CBS Sunday Morning Show” where she was asked about her time on “Police Woman.” She revealed that when she was first offered the role, she had wanted “to throw up.”
She said at the time it was a “horrendous undertaking.” She revealed the show shot 20 to 21 episodes each season which would be a grueling task. She told the showrunners she would give them four years but no more than that!
She worked on the show for four years and now revealed that she had not been paid much for it. In the end she says it “sapped” years of her life and that it “wasn’t worth it.”
When she was asked what prompted her to accept the role, the actress simply replied that David Gerber had told her it would turn her into a household name. But she revealed how at the time it was something she had wanted but things people want change all the time.
In her life, the actress has been married twice. She married her first husband Gene Dickinson in 1952 and their marriage ended in 1960. The actress later met and married Burt Bacharach. She was with him from 1965 to 1981. It was also Bacharach’s second marriage.
The couple had a daughter together – the first child for them both. They named their daughter Nikki. She was born prematurely about 3 months earlier than her due date in 1966. Years later, Angie revealed that her daughter had Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum and often referred to as a type of “high-functioning autism.”
Nikki studied geology at Cal Lutheran University. Unfortunately, her eyesight became worse and worse which prevented her from having a career. Her parents then took her to a specialized facility where she lived for ten years.
Sadly Nikki died by suicide in 2007 in her condo in Thousand Oaks. She was 40 years old at the time and a statement released to the public read that she had taken her life to “escape the ravages” in her mind.
Angie later said of her daughter, “She was very smart and funny and wonderful. Yeah, so all my memories of her are my best memories.”
When Angie got together with Bacharach, he was still unknown in the industry while she was a major name. But soon Bacharach wrote songs for Dionne Warwick and Butch Cassidy which helped him gain a lot of popularity.
While he got busier, Angie was more than happy to take a backseat so she could be a better mother and wife. She even rejected projects to make sure she was close to home at all times. She did not step out in the industry for a while till “Police Woman” came out.
When she got the job, she had a clause added to her contract that said she would be home by 6 p.m. but of course it did not work out the way she had wanted. She would often end up bringing Italian takeout on her way home from work so the family could eat on time. At the time Bacharach told her she was angry all the time, she did not understand what he meant till years later.
She understood much later that she would blame herself for the smallest thing which was hurting her marriage too. She later wondered whether being a Hollywood mom had been worth it and whether her husband would have loved her more had she been a housewife.
The couple separated for five years before their divorce. They saw other people during the time but Angie always kept pictures of Bacharach in her home because after all, he was her daughter’s father.
Her daughter was also a musician and played the drums. They had a rocky relationship which was strained especially when Nikki was 14 years old and had joined a religious cult.
Nikki was also not very feminine and said she would “never be as feminine” as her mother. Still, the women had a beautiful bond and Angie always wanted her daughter to be close to her.
When she was working on “Pearl,” she took Nikki with her to Hawaii. However, when the two of them were in the water, they met with a tide that led them to collide with a coral reef. Angie was convinced they would not survive. Luckily she was able to keep her daughter safe and above water.
Since Nikki was born premature she had certain health issues like ones with her eyesight. She was also on the autism spectrum. At times Nikki would get physical with her mother but Angie always understood her daughter’s frustrations.
As Nikki’s health demanded more attention, Angie stepped away from her career to focus on her daughter. She said about it, “It wasn’t a sacrifice. Would I have been out working? Yes, I would have been doing plays in Chicago or something like that, if I hadn’t had a daughter who needed me. But I did. I didn’t have the gift of free time.”
When her daughter took her own life, Angie sought support from her friends. This included Gregory Peck’s widow, Veronique, who also knew Tony Kushner. The actress found solace in one his his plays which had themes about losing someone in it.
Burt Bacharach also passed away earlier this year on February 8, 2023, at the age of 94 years old. While he had other children, Nikki had been Angie’s only child. The actress separated and divorced the famed composer for various reasons which also included his infidelity, he confessed to doing so in his autobiography as well.
Angie would often talk about how the composer did not love her the way people conventionally love others. She said, ” he had no respect for me.” When she was asked whether she loved him, she replied with a yes.
The actress now lives a reclusive but peaceful life in her own home in Beverly Hills. She is seldom seen outside which is understandable given her advanced age. Her last movie was in 2004 titled “Elvis Has Left The Building” and in 2009 she appeared on television “Mending Fences.”
But she has been on camera after that. She appeared on a PBS documentary about Sammy Davis, Jr., “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” When she was 79 years old, the actress said she was ‘lucky.’ She said, “I came along at the right time for so many great things. I met some great stars and stayed friends with many and lovers with some. It was a fantastic life, really. And it still is.”
When it came to reprising her career as an actress, she said she did not want to have to do “grandmother parts.” But she did consider doing ‘one-woman shows’ or theater instead.
At 92 years old, she says making films and working on television can be a task. She said she was still thinking about good looks, “Even at my age, I am still into the glamour-girl syndrome: You know, she has great legs, but she can’t act.”
In 2008, she sat next to Clint Eastwood who joked to the actress that at his age makeup artists had stopped fussing over him. The actress however revealed that it had not been that way for her. She revealed that she had gotten so used to hair and make-up that she felt naked without them.
She later said of it, “You end up obsessed with your looks. If an elevator doesn’t have a mirror in it, I’m finished. I don’t care who you are, when you get to be past 50, it all changes.”
The actress has been known to be close-lipped and reveal nothing about her personal life. She said that is probably why publishers are not interested in a tell-all from her. She said, “But I won’t do warts-and-all, you know? That’s not my nature. If I get up the energy one day, maybe I’ll go out and do a one-woman show.”
Alexandra Becket, a writer for LA Magazine revealed she often was a cat-sitter for Angie and that in a neighborhood filled with big Hollywood names, Angie was “the sweetest neighbor I could ask for.”
The actress lives alone reportedly. Hopefully, she is keeping well and does not feel lonely all by herself!
Makes me laugh, all these modern proclamations of “finally strong women”. Angie was kicking butt way before any of these so-called “firsts”, and she did it with grace and beauty and a take no prisoners attitude.
There were a lot of strong women in film and tv growing up, and they did it in a time where they were the pioneers. Everyone just seems to have forgotten.
Share this piece with other fans of Angie Dickinson so they can know what their beloved actress is up to these days as well.