Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Late Jim Dolen

I found this photograph online today and I thought I would share it with you, because I find it touching. Fans of Sixties Italian cinema may remember Jim Dolen as the fortyish, prematurely white-haired actor who played a number of small roles in beloved films of the early 1960s. The IMDb tells us that he was in TOTO NELLA LUNA ("Totò on the Moon," 1958), Margheriti's BATTLE OF THE WORLDS (1961), and Richard Fleischer's BARABBAS (1962); I remember him primarily as a priest in Bava's THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, a nosy FBI agent in Margheriti's THE VIRGIN OF NUREMBERG (1963), and a UN spokesman in GIDGET GOES TO ROME (1963). The IMDb lists a final role in the Disney produced THE BALLAD OF HECTOR THE STOWAWAY DOG (1964), filmed in Lisbon. When Dolen spoke in GIDGET GOES TO ROME, perhaps his only live sound performance, I recognized a voice I'd heard many times before in the English dubbing of Italian pictures.

I never knew why Jim Dolen vanished from movies just as he was becoming a conspicuous screen presence, but this stone explains it... at least in part. We don't have his cause of death, or the relevant dates, but this monument tells us that he took great pride in his career, that he predeceased at least one of his parents, and died looking forward to his wedding day. It stands somewhere on the south side of Rome's Protestant Cemetery, whose directory lists Jim Dolen as being a English citizen (not an American, as I've always surmised).

Rest in peace, Jim. You're still remembered.

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