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Dora Mae on ‘Dallas’ Was 77

Dora Mae on ‘Dallas’ Was 77

Dora Mae on ‘Dallas’ Was 77

Pat Colbert, who portrayed the stylish Oil Baron’s Club host and manager Dora Mae on the final eight seasons of the CBS primetime soap Dallas, has died. She was 77.

Colbert died June 23 at her home in Compton, her sister Tami Colbert told The Hollywood Reporter. She had suffered three strokes over the past decade.

Colbert also played the wife of Bill Cosby’s character in the lamentable 1987 spy spoof Leonard Part 6 (1987) and showed up on episodes of Benson, The Fall Guy, Sisters and True Colors.

In 1980-81, Colbert was one of the working girls in the roadhouse run by Stella Stevens‘ Lute-Mae Sanders on the NBC primetime soap Flamingo Road, which like Dallas came from Lorimar Productions.

She appeared in the two-hour pilot and recurred throughout the first season, but her character was eliminated in season two when the network — pressured by Rev. Donald Wildmon, who as head of Coalition for Better Television called Flamingo Road “the rottenest show on TV” — turned the brothel into a respectable supper club.

Lorimar, however, would put Colbert back to work, and she would appear on 67 episodes of Dallas from 1983-91 — starting with an uncredited role in season six — as the host of the Oil Baron’s Club, an upscale restaurant located in a high-rise that was a favorite hangout of the Ewing family and their associates. (The place was inspired by the real-life, members-only Dallas Petroleum Club.)

“As the only recurring African American character on the series, Dora Mae never had a storyline, because Dallas never tried to pretend to be anything more than the saga of the Ewing family, but she played the role with elegance and intelligence,” Shaun Chang of the movie and TV blog Hill Place told THR.

“The leading characters, and the show itself, treated her with respect and without any sense of condescension. Dallas had many recurring supporting characters who helped create a sense of community for a show set in a major city, and Dora Mae was part of the fabric of the series.” 

Sandra Patricia Colbert was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 16, 1947. Her father, LeRoy, was in construction — he built the home that the family would live in — and her mother, Eula, was a homemaker who also worked in foster care.

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Colbert attended Centennial High School in Compton and then junior college and worked as a model for department-store print campaigns and as a fashion consultant before she became an actress.

Her résumé also included a turn as a nurse in Blake Edwards’ S.O.B. (1981) and work on Capitol, the Dallas spinoff Knots Landing, Thom & Dusty Go to Mexico: The Lost Treasure (2014) and If Not for His Grace (2015).

In addition to her sister, survivors include her other siblings, Aaron and Johnetta, and her son, Michael.

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