multitalented tv actress angela dorian -- now a budding screen star -- likes to sing, dance, sketch and drive racing cars
When Newton Minow, former FCC chairman, made the trenchant observation that TV was a wasteland, it's a cinch he wasn't thinking of Angela Dorian, our September Playmate. Though she agrees with Minow about the general banality of TV (she doesn't own a set), Angela's an established television actress, a veteran of 26 shows -- including Bonanza, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, Run for Your Life, Big Valley, Hogan's Heroes -- who doesn't even have to read for parts. Currently, though, Angela's in the process of making her transition to the larger screen: This past summer, she made her cinema debut as a co-star in Chuka, a rough-and-tumble Western featuring Rod Taylor and Ernest Borgnine. "In TV," the former coed avers, "you have to get things perfect in a hurry; but when you're making a film, you have more time -- and you get more attention. Acting for TV is great preparation for the movies." The articulate Miss Dorian is a well-rounded (36-21-35) artist -- a jazz and ballet dancer, a songwriter, singer and guitar player in the folk-rock bag (at presstime, negotiations for a recording contract were under way) and an occasional graphic artist, specializing in ink sketches. Miss September's songwriting, she told us, evolved from a prior interest in language, specifically that of poetry: "I just began setting my verses to music." She did her own singing -- a Spanish folk song -- on one Big Valley segment; early in her career, on her agent's advice, she declined to dub for Natalie Wood as Maria in West Side Story: "I auditioned for the part myself, but they didn't think I was box office -- and I didn't want to get hung up in a stand-by role." The nonsinging part of Lolita in the same-name motion picture was also considered -- and bypassed -- by Angela, who didn't feel ready to capitalize on herself as a nymphet. When Angela finds time to fill up a sketch pad, she calls on old Sol for inspiration: "I'm crazy about the sun. It's so impossibly ancient, warm and beautiful. I keep the wall over my fireplace covered with images and replicas of the sun. There's one that I carved out of wood and another that I made of papier-mache. It's a big joke among my friends." Sun worship isn't the only mystical preoccupation of this 22-year-old Thespian, who's steeped in star lore and who believes in reincarnation: "In one of my former lives, I must have been a cat, because when I purse my lips, I can pass for one. I also purr like a cat." A more prosaic side of Angela's many-splendored life is her career as a landlady. She owns and rents out a duplex in Burbank, whose tenants are blissfully unaware of her star status; but although she delights in such round-the-house chores as gardening ("Too many people today are afraid to bend over and touch the earth"), Angela plans to sell the property: "It gives me too many headaches." When she's not fussing over her building or pursuing one of her myriad muses, Angela digs burning up the road in her newly acquired Porsche or her second car, a Sprite ("I like to get behind the wheel and just travel -- to Monterey, Carmel or San Francisco"); she's had the experience, thanks to a friend who races at Santa Barbara, of winging around the track herself a few times. Her affection for life on wheels, however, doesn't embrace the antisocial aspects of motorcycling. Angela, whose idea of success includes being able to choose her own movie parts, recently refused a role in a motorcycle epic because she felt the character was too "hard." "Important as my career is to me," she explained, "I'm a woman first. I like to think of myself as being open to the world, brimming with love and music. Some aspiring actresses think only of their careers, and they're just setting themselves up for eventual disappointments." Angela, herself, matured under the spell of show business: Her mother, a native of Rome, is a former Broadway actress who's still active as a club singer in the Sunset Boulevard environs; her father, who was born in Sicily, is an L.A. restaurateur. Angela admits a desire to live and make films in Italy: "I'm fluent in Italian, so the language wouldn't be any problem. I also feel that European movies are generally better than Hollywood's offerings." We wish Angela the best in such enterprises, as well as in her search for the ideal male. "I don't really believe there is such a person, but I'm looking for him anyway," she declares -- an affirmation that we're sure will give heart to our readers.
Photography by Curt Gunther