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Thread: Dorothy Hamill, America's "Sweetheart"

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    Dorothy Hamill, America's "Sweetheart"

    One of my fondest memories as a figure skating fan was watching 19-year old Dorothy Hamill of Riverside, Connecticut win the gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She had finished second in the school figures and won both the short and long programs. Wearing a lovely American beauty rose-colored dress, Dorothy skated a brilliant long program and finished to loud acclaim from the audience. Bouquets rained down on her. She received all 5.8s and 5.9s and won the title convincingly.

    Hamill proved herself to be a tough competitor at the 1974 Worlds, her first appearance as US champion. As she waited for her turn to skate her long program, the marks for the previous skater, a West German, were displayed. The hometown audience (Munich) booed and screamed its disapproval over the low marks – marks which were fair, considering that the skater wasn’t highly ranked. Dorothy was extremely shaken by the commotion, as she thought the audience was booing her, and after circling around the boards for a few minutes, she fled off the ice, sobbing into the arms of her father. Hamill was asked if she would like to have a rest period to regain her composure, and she said, “No, I don’t need special consideration”. She marched onto the ice, took her position, and skated an outstanding long program. Dorothy won the silver medal at Worlds that year.

    After her Olympic win, Dorothy was a headliner with Ice Capades for many years and starred in several network television specials. I saw her skate with Ice Capades several times, and each time she gave a beautiful performance.

    I remember Dorothy’s attractive wedge haircut as a memorable fashion statement of the 1970s. Many of us rushed to the beauty parlor to get a “Dorothy Do”.

    Dorothy and her then-husband Kenneth Forsythe, purchased Ice Capades in the early 1990s, and they tried to turn this show into a more theatrical, artistic venture. Dorothy starred in “Cinderella on Ice”, which I saw. It was a wonderful show, the costumes were stunning, and the choreography more inventive and intricate than what was typically shown with the “old” Ice Capades. Unfortunately, Hamill’s venture was not financially successful, and she sold Ice Capades after a few years.

    Hamill had a long, successful stint as a competitive skater at the World Professional Figure Skating Championships, which were held for many years in December in Landover, Maryland. Her programs included “Sugar Plum Fairy” from “Nutcracker”, “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera”, and “One Rock and Roll Too Many”. Dorothy retained her double jumps as a pro competitor, and her crisp, fast, beautifully centered spins were highlights of her routines. She always wore gorgeous costumes.

    A few years ago Hamill announced that she had osteoarthritis. She’s on medication that enables her to live a normal life; and she has continued to skate in shows, although less frequently. It’s hard to believe that she will turn 50 next year!

    IMHO, Dorothy Hamill is truly a special skater. Her radiant smile reached the top row of every arena, and she skated with joy and athletic grace. She became an even better skater after she turned professional, as she explored new avenues with her skating. Hats off to you, Dorothy!

  2. #2
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    Does anyone know if Dorothy Hamill is touring with SOI or with another ice show this upcoming season? If so, would you share this information with us, please?
    Thanks!

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    I watched Dorothy only as an 'over the hill' pro, and was so impressed with her basic skating skills. Later I watched a few of her earlier pro performances. She does everything so well. It is enjoyable to watch a simple spiral, a simple scratch spin, and just a double jump, when they are done so well. Her only amateur performance I have watched is from the magic memories tape (first one). As a pro she has developed so much! Even at her advanced age (as a skater) she can truly perform and hold an audience, with her personality, charm, and of course her wonderful edges.

    Vash

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    She's the best!

    I think Dorothy Hamill is the best to ever put on skates. Her effortless flow and glide across the ice is unmatched. She appears as one with the ice as no one else can, a true artist who touches the audience with her true spirit. No attempts at character or pouts, she has the package that requires absolutely nothing at all. I could watch her skate all day.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    I watched Dorothy only as an 'over the hill' pro, and was so impressed with her basic skating skills. Later I watched a few of her earlier pro performances. She does everything so well. It is enjoyable to watch a simple spiral, a simple scratch spin, and just a double jump, when they are done so well. Her only amateur performance I have watched is from the magic memories tape (first one). As a pro she has developed so much! Even at her advanced age (as a skater) she can truly perform and hold an audience, with her personality, charm, and of course her wonderful edges.

    Vash
    Absolutely! Dorothy had such great carriage, with a perfectly straight back. Her spins were textbook perfect, IMHO, and her sitspins were amazing. No slouching shoulders, no rounded backs - just beautiful posture.

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    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    I sure doubt D Hamill would be with SOI. She and Scott kind of don't really get real friendly. Something about her wanting to be the star when she was going to be with SOI and he wouldn't go along with it. Not sure but it I think was her hubby that was trying to push that. It's in Scott's book but don't remember exactly how it was worded.

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    In the past, Dorothy has toured with COI, especially the winter tour. Either last year or two years ago, there was another show called "Legends on Ice", with Dorothy (and Elvis and Rudy and what seemed to be a lot of the COI-pros), but I don't know if that was a tour, or if it will be on this season, also.

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    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Yes, I think she had skated with them in the earlier days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    In the past, Dorothy has toured with COI, especially the winter tour. Either last year or two years ago, there was another show called "Legends on Ice", with Dorothy (and Elvis and Rudy and what seemed to be a lot of the COI-pros), but I don't know if that was a tour, or if it will be on this season, also.
    Dorothy skated with the Ice Theatre of New York some years ago. I've seen tapes of her with this troupe in practice. It was purely ensemble skating, and you would never have known that it was Dorothy Hamill, World and Olympic champion, skating with the troupe. They were all dressed alike - the women in knee-length black practice dresses and black tights, and the men with black short sleeved shirts and black pants. Just pure, simple skating. And it was wonderful.

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    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    When we lived in Maine for a year, we went down to Boston to see her skate in an old, old theatre. I remember tears almost the whole show, I was so happy to be able to see it and that my husband was so great to take me there. We also had gone down to see Scott Hamilton the last time he skated with some show that let him go. I think it was something like Ice Capades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grgranny
    When we lived in Maine for a year, we went down to Boston to see her skate in an old, old theatre. I remember tears almost the whole show, I was so happy to be able to see it and that my husband was so great to take me there. We also had gone down to see Scott Hamilton the last time he skated with some show that let him go. I think it was something like Ice Capades.
    What a lovely memory concerning Dorothy!

    Yes, Scott Hamilton was "fired" from Ice Capades in the mid 1980s because IC felt that male stars (even three-time World champions and Olympic gold medalists) could not attract audiences. Scott had the last laugh, however, as he proceeded to create his own tour - Stars on Ice. Go, Scott !!

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    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Yes, I have laughed and laughed at that. Now, we can be thankful for it since that's when he started thinking about starting his own show.

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    Granny - I think you might remember this. Wasn't Dorothy married to the older son of Dean Martin. The young man's plane crashed into a mountain, but that was after they divorced. If this is correct, did Dorothy ever send condolences to Martin? And what was the divorce all about?

    I know the death of his son sent Martin's career downhill.

    Joe

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Granny - I think you might remember this. Wasn't Dorothy married to the older son of Dean Martin. The young man's plane crashed into a mountain, but that was after they divorced. If this is correct, did Dorothy ever send condolences to Martin? And what was the divorce all about?

    I know the death of his son sent Martin's career downhill.

    Joe
    Forgive me for chiming in on this, Joe and Granny, but I'll respond. Yes, Dorothy's first husband was Dean Paul Martin, Dean Martin's son. They were married in 1982 after dating for five or six years. They divorced in 1985 or 1986, I think. If I recall this correctly (and please correct me if I'm wrong about this) it was just a matter of them drifting apart. They remained friends until Dean was killed in a plane crash a few years after the divorce.

    When Dorothy and Dean got married, his father quipped, "I love the girl (Dorothy). Look how close she stays to the ice!"

  15. #15
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Yes, that's right. I don't remember why they separated but I know she still had deep feelings for him. I've always thought it was really too bad she didn't find that special one that would treat her well. I'd like another one too.

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