Dorothy Bellesiles, of Ventura, California, passed away on Saturday, July 13 after a brief illness.
Dorothy was born September 5, 1931 to Rev. Stanley Bailes and Hazel Bailes, in Southern California. She graduated from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles and followed her dream to become an actor by joining the Orchard Gables Repertory Theater Group in Hollywood. There she met and fell in love with Anthony (Tony) J. Lorea, whom she married in 1950.They went on to act, together and separately, through the 1950s on stage and television. Dorothy, as “Penny Nichols,” hosted the “Penny Nichols Show,” a daytime talk show on channel KVVG. She also performed with the Pasadena Playhouse and the Hideaway Theater in Glendale.
In 1959, Dorothy and Tony divorced, and Dorothy ended her acting career. She and Jacques Bellesiles were wed in 1964 and they settled in Glendale, where they lived for over 30 years. They also maintained a vacation home in the Pierpont Beach area of Ventura, where Dorothy moved permanently in 1994.
A woman of uncommon wit, beauty and intelligence, Dorothy had many interests and pursuits. She worked as a children’s book editor for Golden Gate Publishing and was editor-inchief at Ward Ritchie Press in the late 1960s and 1970s. She studied and became an accomplished astrologer, casting charts with uncanny insight. Dorothy traveled extensively,
returning often to England, her favorite destination.
Most of all she devoted herself to her children and stepchildren with a loving and supportive heart, encouraging them to be the best they could be and instilling in them a love of education and the arts.
Finally, it must be said that Dorothy was one of the funniest and most elegant people in the world; her dinner parties were legendary both for her amazing cooking and the laughter shared around the table. The kind of adjectives that attached to Noel Coward attached to Dorothy.
Dorothy is survived by her children Lisa Lorea, Steven Bellesiles, Matthew Bellesiles and his wife Jaqueline McMahon, Mark Bellesiles and his wife Marjorie, Michael Bellesiles and his wife Nina Martin, and Kathleen Bellesiles; and her grandchildren Anna Perttu, Jeffrey Bellesiles, Lilith Dornhuber Bellesiles, and Cierra and Mackenzie McMahon; her niece Virginia Holloway, and her brothers Donald and John Bailes.
Thanks to Jennifer Schooler and the wonderful staff at Community Memorial Cardiac Care Unit for Dorothy’s recent care. She will be greatly missed.