Dolores Rosedale, Sidekick on ‘Beat the Clock,’ Dies at 95


Dolores Rosedale, a model known as Roxanne whose burst of fame in the early 1950s as the hostess of the wacky game show “Beat the Clock” led to the creation of a doll in her image and to appearances on the covers of magazines like Life and TV Guide, died on May 2 in Spring Park, Minn., near Minneapolis. She was 95.

Her daughter Ann Roddy confirmed the death, at an assisted living facility.

Roxanne joined “Beat the Clock” in 1950 when it made its transition to television from radio. Bud Collyer, the host, presided over the weekly program, in which contestants raced to finish stunts against time limits.

Roxanne’s role didn’t require her to say much at first. She posed with the prizes and took pictures of contestants as they carried out their stunts. She later gave introductions of the contestants.

But her poise and glamour — and, perhaps, the polka-dot ballet costume she sometimes wore — helped her break out.

In 1951, she donned a costume for a Life magazine cover story about chorus girls. Inside, a photograph that identified her as the show’s “stunt mistress” showed her guiding a blindfolded Boy Scout as he tried to identify an elephant.

She was on at least two Look magazine covers, one of which showed her posing on Jones Beach, on Long Island, N.Y.; two TV Guide covers, including one with Mr. Collyer; and one cover of Tempo, a celebrity magazine, with the headline: “Secrets of Roxanne — TV Sensation.”

Commenting on her popularity, The Bangor Daily News in Maine declared that she was “batting 1.000 in the pinup league.”

She reached a pop culture pinnacle of sorts in 1952 with the appearance of the 18-inch Roxanne doll. It was made of “lifelike latex with vinyl head, sleeping eyes and washable ‘platinum’ Saran hair,” according to a newspaper ad for the Abraham & Straus department store in Brooklyn.

“Have your picture taken with TV’s beauteous blonde!” the ad said, promoting Roxanne’s appearance with the doll at A & S Toyland in November 1952. A tiny camera hung around the doll’s neck.

An ad from Valentine, the doll’s manufacturer, published in a business trade magazine, crowed: “Profit from the impact of Roxanne’s following! Now on more TV stations than ever before.”

Dolores Evelyn Rosedale was born on March 20, 1929, in Minneapolis. Her father, Kenneth, was a civil engineer. Her mother, Thyra, was in charge of receiving and processing evidence at a local courthouse.

As a teenager, she worked as a dental assistant, took courses in fashion design at the Minnesota School of Fine Arts and was a top contender in the Miss Minnesota pageant in 1947.

She left for New York City in late 1949, signed with the Conover modeling agency and quickly found work.

By then, she had adopted the single name Roxanne, and eventually made the change legal. Ms. Roddy, her daughter, said in a phone interview that her mother disliked her original name: “She’d say, ‘How could anyone give someone such an ugly name?’”

In 1954, Roxanne married Thomas Roddy and gave birth to Ann the next year, when her time on “Beat the Clock” had expired. That year, she had a small role in Billy Wilder’s comedy “The Seven Year Itch,” starring Marilyn Monroe. In the film, Roxanne and Tom Ewell parodied the famous romantic beach scene in “From Here to Eternity” with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.

Two years later, she had another small part in a drama, “The Young Don’t Cry,” with Sal Mineo and James Whitmore.

She also studied acting with the influential teacher Sanford Meisner.

She appeared once on Broadway, in 1956, as a prostitute in “A Hatful of Rain,” a drama about a man with a drug addiction. She told The Daily News of New York that it was the “most exciting experience to date” in her career.

She felt that it was important to advance her career as an actress. As she told The Daily News, she wondered if working on a game show had given viewers “the impression that I was just another dumb blonde because I was given so little to say.”

In 1957, she starred in a summer stock production of George Axelrod’s comedy “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” She played the same role, a bombshell actress named Rita Marlowe, that Jayne Mansfield did on Broadway in 1955 and in the film adaptation two years later.

But as Roxanne’s family grew — she would have five children — she shifted from acting. She continued to model; commented on fashion shows; designed clothing; operated a fashion boutique; and sold furs in Minneapolis.

She and Mr. Roddy divorced in 1979. She married Stanley Shanedling in 1981; he died in 1997. She was at various times known as Roxanne Roddy and Roxanne Shanedling.

In addition to her daughter Ann, she is survived by another daughter, Elizabeth Roddy; her sons, Thomas, David and Michael; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Kitty Torrentore.

Roxanne encountered Ms. Monroe well before appearing with her in “The Seven Year Itch.”

“It was my first week in New York,” she told Earl Wilson, the syndicated gossip columnist, in 1953. “I’d gone to a wholesale house to model dresses. This girl walked in and started taking off her clothes. She was wearing just a dress, stockings and garter belt, and that’s ALL! I said, ‘Oh, this girl doesn’t know what underwear is.’”



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