Credits roll for Dorothy Lamour, queen of the silver screen

Film world in mourning over death of `wonderful actress' who played sidekick in Hope and Crosby `road' movies

The sultry sarong queen who took to the highways in the film world's best-loved road movies, accompanied by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, has died aged 81.

Dorothy Lamour had been ill for some time at her home in north Hollywood.

She was remembered as one of the most glamorous sidekicks of the silver screen and a fine comedienne yesterday.

Lamour appeared in a total of eight top-ranking films in the 1940s that took the trio to Singapore, Zanzibar, Morocco, Utopia and Rio and made millions for Paramount.

The slick, wise-cracking movies were once described by Hope as "like a tennis game with Dottie in the middle watching."

Lamour in turn said of the films, in which she famously wore a sarong: "I was the happiest and highest-paid straight woman in the business."

Hope said in a statement that was released yesterday: "She was a grand lady on screen as in life. She was a lady of quality, beauty and class, which always made me look good.

"She was a wonderful actress, a great performer and a dear friend."

Lamour began her career singing in nightclubs and on the radio, and although the road movies including Road to Rio and Road to Morocco were a huge success, she never achieved stardom alone, always acting as a foil to the bigger names.

At the end of the 1940s, she settled down to life as a housewife in Baltimore, before making a brief comeback in 1952 with two films - DeMille's box- office hit The Greatest Show on Earth and another "road" movie, this time en route to Bali.

Michael Winner, who directed her in a cameo role in 1975 in Won Ton Ton the dog which saved Hollywood, was among those who paid tribute. "I had grown up with her in the sense that I had her as a pin-up wearing her sarong on the wall in my room at school," he said.

"Then years later I met a very dignified and sweet lady and she became a friend of mine."

He added: "You could describe her as the Pamela Anderson of the 1940s, but with great dignity, and she was loved by everyone, young and old. But she was far from being just a good-looking girl in a sarong and was actually a very good comedienne as well. She will be sorely missed, she was a real lady and I have very fond memories of her."

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