(1/28/17 UPDATE: See bottom of this post for a fun update on this earlier story.)
Knoxville-born actress Dale Dickey was in town from Los Angeles recently to take care of a few issues surrounding the estate of her late mother, Missy Dickey. While she was here, she was guest of honor at a small cocktail party with colleagues and friends of the Clarence Brown Theatre.
Dickey, who is busy working on television shows, films and commercials in California, is a huge supporter of her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, and Clarence Brown Theatre, in particular. She’s starred in Clarence Brown performances of Steel Magnolias and Sweeney Todd, among others. But my favorite role of hers here was a few years ago when she played Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
At the cocktail party, Dickey was friendly and approachable, relating stories of parking a car for Jack Nicholson and accidentally setting a garbage can on fire in a hotel conference room while waiting to audition for Sean Penn. She was just trying to be helpful by emptying the overflowing ashtrays that were on the table, not realizing one contained a lit cigarette. “From my years of being a waitress, I just couldn’t stand to see the dirty ashtrays,” she laughed. “I thought I should tidy up the place.”
Dickey plays many downtrodden characters: addicts, prostitutes, criminals. She played Patty, the daytime hooker, in My Name is Earl. She’s been in True Blood, Breaking Bad and Justified. She won an award for her role as a matriarch in the independent film Winter’s Bone.
She has made peace with the fact that her appearance lends itself to these types of roles. At the party she related how she’s always been reluctant to give a big, wide open smile because of her “little hillbilly teeth.” But yet, when a dentist friend told her he could give her a beautiful smile, she turned him down. “Are you kidding? I’d never get a role again!” she told him.
If you want to see Dickey in her latest work, you may be able to catch her in a Super Bowl ad. She’s not sure it will run then, but she suspects it will. Interestingly, the “talent” in commercials has to sign a confidentiality agreement saying they won’t disclose info about the ad. So here’s all she would say. The ad features a celebrity (other than her), and it contains motorcycles. So, if you are going to watch the Super Bowl (and who isn’t?), keep your eye out for our hometown girl.
UPDATE: Ad Age magazine reports that Dale Dickey will be in a Mercedes ad starring Peter Fonda to air in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Here’s link to the story and an early version of the ad: http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/mercedes-super-bowl-ad-coen-brothers/307705/