Dorothy Coburn
born: 07 June 1904
Great Falls, Montana,
United States of America
died: 15 May 1978
San Pedro Peninsula Hospital, San Pedro, California,
United States of America
(emphysema, age 73)
Feisty, red-headed, attractive silent screen actress, who entered pictures in May 1926. The daughter of western actor/producer Wallace D. Coburn (1872-1954), she was a popular opponent to Laurel and Hardy. Never afraid to get herself covered in mud, pies or paint; a real good sport! She was also an accomplished rider and a fit athlete, occasionally working as a stunt performer in westerns. After the advent of sound, she was sometimes engaged as a stand-in for Ginger Rogers at RKO. Her daily swim in Culver City Community pool led to her being sent to Hal Roach Studios to double Helene Chadwick in swimming and diving.
Dorothy's first (of two) husband was Gene Alsace, and was a real con artist. It is presumed he may have influenced her decision to leave the movie industry, though the termination of her contract with Hal Roach in 1928 may also have played a part in this. She is buried in Grand View Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles, California, USA.
(Plot: Section B, Lot 31, Grave 7.)

With regards to her exact date of birth, the Great Falls (Montana) Genealogical Society has posted the Cascade County MT Birth Records taken from the County Birth Registrations 1887-1944. The records, dated 22 June 1920 state she was born on June 7th, 1904. Other sources have listed June 8th, and even offer different years. Her birth certificate is posted below, which clearly states June 7, 1904. Her grave marker correctly states 1904. The 1910, 1920 and 1940 Census state 1905, and other sources say 1906: a passenger manifest from October 9th, 1917, on return with family from Hawaii states she was aged 11 and her date of birth being June 8th, 1906, Great Falls, Montana. The 1930 Census published on April 1st, indicates 1906 (age 24 last birthday), as does her marriage certificate from November 29th, 1930 which indicates 1906 (age 24 at last birthday).
Real name: Dorothy Morrow Coburn
Height: 5'4"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography;
plus 1 film with Charley Chase.


Should Men Walk Home
Kissing couple

Sugar Daddies
Girl in the Fun House

Sailors, Beware!
Bathing beauty/Lady in easy chair

The Second 100 Years

Hats Off
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -

The Way Of All Pants

[unidentified character]

Putting Pants On Philip
Girl chased by Philip

The Battle Of The Century
Pie victim getting into car

Playin' Hookey
Actress sitting at make-up table

Leave 'Em Laughing
Dental nurse

Dumb Daddies
Woman with cloche hat

Flying Elephants
Georgeous wrestler

The Finishing Touch

From Soup To Nuts
Party guest

Barnum & Ringling, Inc.
Woman who sits on egg

Their Purple Moment
Hat check girl

Should Married Men Go Home?
Muddy combatant
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -

Do Gentlemen Snore?
[unidentified character]

That Night
[unidentified character]

The Unkissed Man
[unidentified character]

Modern Love
Half and half


1920 Census Family residence is Los Angeles. DOROTHY is “student”.
1921 August - family apparently resides at Prescott AZ vicinity (Coburn Bros Ranch).
1921 September - attending Hollywood High School's Junior College program.
1930 November 29 - Los Angeles - her first Marriage to “rancher” GENE ALSACE
(aka VIVIEN GENE ALCES & ROCKFORD G. CAMRON, JEAN ALSAYCE) (actor). He is a liar, saying he is “widowed” and this "is his 2nd marriage.
This is actually his 3rd marriage in 8 years; supposedly his first wife died after 2 years marriage.
1935 April 1st - living with Mom & Dad at 198 S. Hoover, LA. (prob. Divorced).
1940 April 1st - Census states Dorothy is “divorced”, aged 35 and working as “receptionist for insurance agency” working full time and earning $1,020 per year.
1956 - she is living with her widowed mother in Montecito, California.
1964 - Dorothy's mother passes away.
1973 March 24th - Dorothy marries HARRY WELLS HEAP, she is 68 and he is 70 (Santa Barbara, CA). His 3rd marriage. (Death certificate)  (information relating to her marriages) (grave marker) (1910 Census) (Motion Picture News 1929)
Image credits: Peter Mikkelsen (set of posed photographs, plus Putting Pants On Philip shot with Babe);
Joe Davis (colorized still from "The Finishing Touch");
Richard Finegan (3 images, plus information on Dorothy's uncredited appearance in "The Unkissed Man", plus 2 stills from Leave 'Em Laughing)
Jesse Brisson, Jim Jarvis (detective information and help) *A special thanks to Jim for her birth certificate.

†The IMDb list Ms. Coburn as being the woman at a seance in "Shivering Spooks" (1926) and the pie vendor in the Our Gang comedy "Shivering Shakespeare" (1930).
This has been disputed by me and others and is clearly NOT Ms. Coburn, but Clara Guiol.

This page was last updated on: 24 April 2021