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Dorothy McNulty


(1908-2003) Dorothy McNulty gained notice on Broadway for being able to do 40 cartwheels a minute on stage, a feat she accomplished nightly in 1925's 'Sky High.' She died aged 95 remember under her film name, Penny Singleton, as the voice of Jane Jetson and for her 25 cinematic incarnations of the comic strip heroine Blondie in the film series that extended from 1938 to 1950. An acrobatic dancer with a disingenuous charm, 'Dot' McNulty was promoted by Jake Schubert in the later 1920s after her saw her ad-lib when she accidentally cart wheeled off the stage into a bass drum. She was featured in the 1926 Winter Garden Show, 'Great Temptations,' and used as a replacement in the 1927 smash hit, 'Good News.' She was slotted for a place in Ruth Selwyn's 'The Nine Fifteen Revue' in 1930 when she decamped for Hollywood. M.G.M. gave her a contract, advertising her age as 17. She had the misfortune to appear in a botched film adaptation of 'Good News' done on the cheap. In 1932 she was back on Broadway, having undergone a 2 year suspension from Actor's Equity for breaking the contract with Selwyn. The Schuberts welcomed her back with 'Hey Nonny Nonny,' and 'aggressively informal' summer revue in which McNulty performed 'tomboy antics.' Later in the year she was featured in 'Walk a Little Faster.' Worried that her abilities were being typed and that she would never become a dramatic actress on Broadway or Hollywood, she left the stage in early 1934 and joined a touring stock company to perfect her craft. In 1936, she was rediscovered by studio scouts while acting in a production in Ivoryton, Connecticut. Signed to Metro, she appeared in 'After the Thin Man.' In 1937 she married Dr. Lawrence Scroggs Singleton, a dentist, and adopted a new film name, Penny Singleton. The new name was linked to a revised persona, as Singleton advertised herself as the new kind of movie actress, 'sans glamour, diamonds, custom-built car, or expensive perfume.' In the next year she played that woman in her iconic film and radio role, 'Blondie.' Atlanta Constitution 8-1-1925, 6. NYT 10-24, 1926, X:4. NYT 2-23-1930, 113. NYT 4-6-1932, 22. 'Summer Show,' NYT 6-7-1932, 22. NYT 12-4-1936. 'Penny makes a few out of her new Name,' Washington Post 11-23-1938. 'Penny Singleton,' Chicago Tribune 7-11-1948, C:19. David S. Shields