Dorothy Anne "Dottie" Mach, 66, entertainer

October 18, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dorothy Anne "Dottie" Mach, a widely lauded leading lady who danced on Baltimore stages for nearly five decades, died of cancer Monday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Dundalk resident was 66.

Born Dorothy Anne Baker in Richmond, Va., she moved to Dundalk with her parents as a child. She attended Baltimore County public schools and took dancing lessons from local teachers.

As a teen, she performed in musical comedies put on by local schools and social organizations, friends said. In November 1962, she landed a chorus role in the Baltimore Actors' Theater production of The Wizard of Oz at the old Ford's Theatre on West Fayette Street. The production, which featured Ms. Mach in the jitterbug segment, did so well that it was brought back for added performances at Christmas.

"She loved to dance. It was her greatest joy. She stole the show in whatever she did because she had that charisma," said F. Scott Black, chairman of the fine, performing and communications arts department at the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. "She was amazing. She had long legs and until just a couple of years ago, she was kicking shoulder-high."

Friends recalled her ability to charm an audience using her animated dance steps.

"She was just a phenomenal dancer. She had a real rapport with an audience," said Tricia Ellis, a friend who performed with her. "She was tall and slender and had a sense of rhythm. She was in demand as a choreographer, too."

When Ms. Mach appeared as Charity in the musical Sweet Charity at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre on St. Paul Street, many theater patrons and critics felt she bore a resemblance to actress Shirley MacLaine. She also appeared as Roxy Hart in Chicago and in the title role in Mame.

Over the years, Ms. Mach also performed at Goucher College, Dundalk and Essex community colleges, as well as at Towsontown, Limestone and Toby's dinner theaters. She also founded The Golden Girls Revue at Lorenzo's Timonium Dinner Theatre.

"She entertained with her high kicks, belting voice and her personal warmth," said Marge Kurdle, an actress and friend who lives in Towson. "She was the sweetest person. She wasn't a diva except when it came to her costumes. She was a perfectionist. Even in Nunsense, she'd get annoyed if the folds in her nun's habit weren't exactly right."

For a 30th anniversary gala at Cockpit in Court two years ago, Ms. Mach danced to George M. Cohan's song, "You're a Grand Old Flag."

"Most of the theater community there knew Dottie was fighting cancer. She gave the song everything she had. It was a night I won't forget. She was spectacular," said Mr. Black.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 25 at St. Rita Roman Catholic Church, 2903 Dunleer Road, Dundalk.

Survivors include a son, Steve Mach, of New York City. A marriage ended in divorce.

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