Can Vanessa Williams fill the high heels of Dorothy Dandridge?
Yes, according to the co-producers of "Dottie," a movie musical "inspired" by the life of Dandridge, the glamorous Oscar-nominated black singer-dancer-actress of the '40s and '50s who died of a drug overdose in 1965 at age 42.
Kathryn Yarnell and Faye Schwab (exec producer on Jane Fonda's now-filming "The Morning After") have offered the part to the 23-year-old dethroned Miss America, and hope to film this fall.
Williams (who's also in the aforementioned "Pick-Up Artist") told us the role is "a great opportunity" to "sing and dance and wear fabulous clothes." She said she's been researching Dandridge's life, "and there are lots of parallels that I could identify with. She was an exotic woman that whites fell in love with . . . a trailblazer who had trouble with her own identity--something that I've had."
But if "Dottie" comes together, it won't be a downer docudrama. Yarnell describes the Sydney A. Glass script as a "sanitized version" of Dandridge's life story that ends when she's in her late 30s--an "upscale, glamorous, entertaining and uplifting movie for a mass audience."