The One M… Mamie Van Doren

MAMIELadies and Gentlemen, Mamie Van Doren

Believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, the woman in this picture is 81 years young. Yes, that’s right, we have discovered the owner of the only known Fountain of Youth in the world – Mamie Van Doren!

I have had the undoubtable pleasure and luck to be able to chat to Mamie over the past three years, and by God is she one hell of a woman. And to say that is an understatement. What we have here is a legend. A survivor, one of only few remaining stars of the golden age of cinema and movie making, Mamie epitomises the glamour, the beauty and the iconic status of the stars of the time.

In 1950’s Hollywood there were “The Three M’s”. These were the three grande dames of the silver screen, the three blonde bombshells who could secure box office success and secure the hearts of men across the world. 20th Century Fox had Marilyn Monroe. Warner Brothers had Jayne Mansfield. And Universal had Mamie Van Doren.

Above: Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren – The Three M’s.

Mamie is “The Survivor”. During a time in the 50’s the three women would swap and share film roles, each one replacing the other at some point or another during their careers and battling it out to breakthrough into the ever-changing world at the time. Mamie succeeded by becoming the first actress to sing Rock N’ Roll music in an American musical film, “Untamed Youth”. At the time this was groundbreaking, and lead to Mamie being known as the bad girl of these youth films that were aimed at the American teenage generation – the bee-boppers and the doo-wop-sha-waddy-waddy-bing-bangers…

But then times changed…

In 1962 M #1 was found dead in her home. She was 36 and it seemed she had taken her own life.
In 1967 M #2 was killed instantly after smashing into the rear of a tractor-trailer. She was 32.

Since then the surviving M has lead an untamed life, growing old disgracefully (what other way is there?) and living life to the full. She has successfully built an online Mamie world, running her own website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube feeds – managing her own involvement and interaction with her masses of fans and posting naughty photos of herself and outspoken political views. She has entertained the troops during the Vietnam war, released her own brand of fine wines, and frolicked around Hollywood with her dogs and loving husband Thomas Dixon. Although I’m sure there are more wacky film performances left in her, Mamie’s last big screen appearance, to date, was as the topless former-whore who appreciates a good sponge bath in the 2002 teen flick “Slackers” – a modern day version of the shocking teen films that made her famous in the 1950’s.

My own experience with Mamie began when I stumbled upon the artwork of David Nimitz and his series of “Famous Ladies” cartoons. Nimitz has drawn some of the most famous over a certain age actresses around the world and has his own unique style of caricaturing and capturing the essence of many of these women.

Above: Maggie Smith

Above: Michael Learned (The Waltons)

As it is I cannot find the David Nimitz cartoon of Mamie Van Doren, but trust me I was very taken by it and had to find out who this woman was. I hate to admit it but I had never heard of Mamie at the time, but on that day I researched her and looked through her website and spent the best part of a day watching old clips of her films and interviews with her. She had that star quality to her that instantly made me fall in love with her – that and she had such a lovely personality.

I got in touch with Mamie through her website, writing to let her know I was a fan of hers and letting her know that after discovering her I had gone out and bought all of her films I could just to enjoy her work. Within in a day she replied with a lovely message, letting me know her ancestors were also Scottish and that she appreciated me writing to her. We kept in touch through several emails, we discussed life and I asked questions about her life and what it was like to be THE Mamie Van Doren. She is hugely loyal and kind to her fans as I have experienced and her smile, her words and her naughty side shine through with everything she does.

When I vacationed in California with my family we had a day excursion to Hollywood. I was very excited to see and explore this city of dreams and could not wait to get off the coach that had parked on Hollywood Boulevard. I took two steps off the bus and spotted a star on the ground. And who did this star belong to…?

Above: My photo of Mamie’s star, taken two seconds after I got off the coach. ©Pip Petrie

“Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. I hope you sell a million! Much Love M xoxoxo”
Above: Mamie Reading “The Walls of Wintermoore”

Mamie’s website is HERE!

Mamie’s book, “Atomic Blonde: The Films of Mamie Van Doren” is available HERE!

The book Mamie is reading is available HERE!

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