The actress’s pioneering career in Hollywood inspired a whole generation of women to join the police force thanks to her most prominent role.
She is 91 years old, and it’s time to learn about her current life.
Dickinson was not just an actress but a wife and mother who ended her schedule at 6 p.m. to be home to make dinner for her family.
Angeline Dickinson, best known as Angie, is an American actress, and her television career spanned several decades. She started appearing on anthology shows in the early ’50s and finally landed a role in “Gun the Man Down.” You might also recognize her from “Rio Bravo,” which landed a Golden Globe award.
Some of her best films include “Jessica,” “The Chase,” “The Outside Man,” “The Art of Love,” “The Killers,” “Ocean’s 11” (the original from 1964 where Frank Sinatra played Danny Ocean), “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” and many others, as Dickinson was busy through the ’60s and the ’70s.
However, her most significant role of all time was as Sgt. Pepper Anderson in “Police Woman.” She was the first female actress to play the leading role in a TV drama. It was a huge hit, and her character inspired a whole generation of girls who decided to become cops.
The actress said that in the early ’70s, it was “unique” to see a woman using a uniform. You must remember that they didn’t have all the fantastic female characters from today on shows like “Law & Order” and “CSI.”
But Dickinson proved that a woman was strong enough for the part, and real-life women wanted to become just like her character. In the PBS series, “Pioneers of Television,” the actress talked about her involvement, and the love audiences have for crime shows.
However, Angie never saw herself as a “feminist.” She never competed against men and believed that that competitive drive started the movement. While they might be debatable, the actress explained how she balanced her femininity while maintaining her strong self. Dickinson added:
“When I was up for a role, I didn’t compete with men; it was a role for a woman.”
When asked about the pay gap that has always existed between men and women in entertainment and many other industries, Dickinson only commented that she was “content” with the salary she was offered for some of the projects. Then again, that was a different time.
Dickinson also said that “Police Woman” didn’t have a chance to show more. The actress felt like the series was “too clean.” Looking back, she doesn’t like how every episode ended perfectly and how little violence there was.
She wanted to show more consequences for the bad guys, so clearly, Dickinson was not afraid of gore, blood, or pushing envelopes. She believes that shows today, like “Southland” and “Detroit 1-8-7,” do better with those plots. During the show’s height, Dickinson received many letters from fans, who told the actress they wanted to become police officers because of her. Angie was not just an inspiration for future female cops. She was an icon for Hollywood actresses.
Dickinson was over 40 years old during “Police Woman” and worked harder than younger actresses of the era. Furthermore, her attractiveness never faded, even as she aged later.
People were always intrigued by her, and that’s why she was the gal pal of the Rat Pack. It has been said that she had a 10-year affair with Frank Sinatra after starring with him on “Ocean’s 11.” It’s also been speculated that she had a relationship with Dean Martin and former president John F. Kennedy.
You might remember her iconic cameo in 2001’s “Ocean’s 11” with George Clooney. That’s why she is still known as a legend among Hollywood actresses.
Sadly, there are a few things Dickinson regrets about her biggest role. In 2020, she appeared on “CBS Sunday Morning Show” and was asked about her time on “Police Woman.” When Angie was first offered the part, she wanted “to throw up.”
According to the actress, it was a “horrendous undertaking.” Back then, they were filming 20 or 21 episodes each season, which was draining. The actress told the showrunners that she would give them four years but no more than that.
She worked for four years, but the actress revealed she wasn’t paid much and has come to regret doing it. Angie said that it “sapped” years of her life and that it “wasn’t worth it.”
When asked why she took the role, Dickinson revealed that David Gerber told her it could make her a household name. The actress wanted it back then, but things change over time as people gain perspective.
The 91-Year-Old Actress Was Married and Had a Daughter
Angie Dickinson was married twice. Her first husband was Gene Dickinson, and their marriage lasted from 1952 to 1960. The actress moved on to Burt Bacharach. She and the legendary composer were together between 1965 and 1981. It was also Bacharach’s second marriage.
They welcomed their daughter Nikki – the first child for both of them. Unfortunately, she was born prematurely, around three months early in 1966. Years later, Bacharach revealed that Nikki had Asperger’s syndrome, a kind of autism often referred to as “high-functioning autism.”
Nikki studied geology at Cal Lutheran University, but her eyesight was not great, so she couldn’t continue to have a career. Unfortunately, her parents had to take her to a treatment center at some point, where she lived for ten years.
Sadly, she died in 2007 due to suicide in her condo in Thousand Oaks. Nikki was 40 years old. The statement released to the public said she did it to “escape the ravages” in her mind.
Unfortunately, Burt Bacharach passed away on February 8, 2023, at 94. While the composer had four kids, Nikki was Angie’s only child. They were not together anymore for many reasons, including the composer’s infidelity.
In an autobiography, Burt confessed to cheating on the actress. Angie once admitted that he never loved her like others tend to love. He had a unique way of loving people, which was not the best. “So, he had no respect for me.” When asked if she loved him, she said yes.
Nowadays, Dickinson is not seen much outside her home. She’s living her golden years peacefully and away from the limelight. However, on the rare occasions when she’s spotted, paparazzi have captured a healthy and calm woman. That’s remarkable for her age. Some photographers spotted her getting her mail outside her house right before she turned 90 a few years ago. Her last film role was “Elvis Has Left The Building” in 2004, but Angie was last seen on television in “Mending Fences” in 2009.
Since then, she has been in documentaries and news, including a PBS doc about Sammy Davis, Jr., “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” A few years ago, at 79, the actress said she was “lucky,” adding:
“I came along at the right time for so many great things. I met some great stars and stayed friends with many and lovers with some. It was a fantastic life, really. And it still is.”
When the actress was asked about retirement since her last role was in 2009, Angie said she didn’t want any “grandmother parts.” She said that being home is better. Dickinson considered several things, such as theater or doing a one-woman show.
However, traveling can be challenging for a woman because it takes a lot “to look good.” Additionally, making films is too complicated to do something you won’t enjoy. The actress told the Daily News of Los Angeles:
“Even at my age, I am still into the glamour-girl syndrome: You know, she has great legs, but she can’t act.”
At an event in Beverly Hills in 2008, she sat next to Clint Eastwood, and he laughed about the fact that makeup artists no longer fussed over him at his age. At the time, Dickinson told him that you get so used to being in makeup and having stylists that you feel naked without it. She added:
“You end up obsessed with your looks. If an elevator doesn’t have a mirror in it, I’m finished. I don’t care who you are, when you get to be past 50, it all changes.”
The actress had a reputation for speaking honestly and being a little naughty. However, she was also mysterious. She never revealed too many personal details and said that it’s probably why publishers are not interested in a memoir. Angie said:
“But I won’t do warts-and-all, you know? That’s not my nature. If I get up the energy one day, maybe I’ll go out and do a one-woman show.”
Her life now seems peaceful in a beautiful home in Beverly Hills. Alexandra Becket, an author for LA Magazine, revealed that she was Dickinson’s cat sitter because she grew up in a neighborhood full of celebrities. She called Angie “the sweetest neighbor I could ask for.”
When asked if she were to critique her career and life, the actress responded, “Oh my God, that’s one lucky b***h.” The actress loves her house and says that the view of Beverly Hills, Rocca is beautiful.
At 79, Angie revealed that she didn’t feel her age. She loves to walk and cycle around the neighborhood. However, she added that she doesn’t feel sexy anymore. The definition of sexy has changed so much over the years for her.
Furthermore, she always hated being compared to the late Betty White, who worked until her passing in 2021, and was never jealous of her constant roles. Dickinson was not interested. She added:
“I am not looking for work, I don’t really care. I’ve had my day in the sun, and I am very content.”
Her Happy Years With Burt and Their Separation
Despite her daughter’s tragic passing and her separation from Burt Bacharach, Angie had many wonderful years with them. When asked about her daughter later, she revealed:
“She was very smart and funny and wonderful. Yeah, so all my memories of her are my best memories.”
Interestingly, when Angie and Burt got together in 1965, she was famous in the industry while Bacharach was still unknown. Eventually, he wrote songs for Dionne Warwick and Butch Cassidy, which changed things for the couple.
He became busier, and Angie had to take a backseat. However, she wasn’t resentful because she wanted to be a good mother and wife. She often refused to do roles if they were too far from home and rejected a couple of TV shows until “Police Woman.”
For that contract, she negotiated a steady schedule, which had to end at 6 p.m. so she could go home to her family. However, it didn’t always work out that well. Angie had to do her best to be a “supermom.”
The actress had to pick up Italian takeout on her way home so they could eat on time. Bacharach apparently told her she was angry way too much back then. Dickinson didn’t understand what he meant until years later.
She felt like every tiny mistake was a huge problem and blamed herself. Unfortunately, that hurt their marriage too. Years late, Angie changed, but it was too late for their family. Dickinson still wonders if being a working Hollywood mom was worth it or if her husband could’ve loved her more if she was just a housewife.
Unfortunately, that’s a double standard because men don’t have to worry about that issue. They can work tirelessly and be away from home all the time. Dickinson struggled to be a mother, wife, and actress.
Eventually, that led to a significant separation where they both saw other people for five years but were still technically married. They finally divorced and moved on. However, Dickinson always had pictures of him in her home. After all, he was her daughter’s father, so he could never entirely disappear from her life.
Her Happy Times With Nikki
Nikki loved music just like Burt and used to play the drums. Angie admired her strength and independence. They had a few differences, especially when Nikki briefly joined a religious cult at 14, but they worked out their issues.
Additionally, Nikki was the complete opposite of her mother. She didn’t wear makeup and told her she would “never be as feminine” as the actress was. Still, they had a beautiful bond, and Angie always wanted her close.
That’s why she took Nikkie to Hawaii for “Pearl.” However, while swimming in Diamond Head, they got caught in a riptide and collided with a coral reef. At the time, the actress thought they would die.
Luckily, she kept her daughter above water and finally got her to safety. From then on, she lived with a scar on her leg. Dickinson said the experience was horrifying and that she’ll “never forget it.”
Sadly, Nikki had many problems as a premature baby, such as her eyesight troubles and autism. Sometimes, she got physical with her mother. But Angie understood her frustration. That’s why her daughter decided to end her life. The actress said:
“She was a wonderful, wonderful gift.”
People with Asperger’s syndrome are often highly well-spoken, and Nikki once said that her father’s songs were like “going to heaven on a velvet slide.” But as Nikki’s needs became more demanding, Angie had to step away from grueling schedules. She explained:
“It wasn’t a sacrifice. Would I have been out working? Yes, I would have been doing plays in Chicago or something like that, if I hadn’t had a daughter who needed me. But I did. I didn’t have the gift of free time.”
When Nikki passed, Angie found support in her friends, including Gregory Peck’s widow, Veronique, who knew Tony Kushner. The actress found solace in one of the playwright’s pieces about losing someone in his family.