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Published: Saturday, 9/16/2000

Acting, modeling provided livelihood, lively memories

Her maiden name was Marie Daoust, but professionally she was known as Dow. Four years ago, at the urging of a nephew and other relatives, she left Broadway and moved to the Toledo area. Her residence now is at West Park Place.

It was under the name of Dow that she worked as a commercial model and actress nearly all of her life.

Outstanding in her memory is the recollection of playing the only female role in the play No Time for Sergeants, which ran on Broadway for more than two years in the early 1950s.

Even after leaving the stage, in her heart Mrs. Daoust never gave up the profession. “If I were right for the part and something came along, I would take it,” she said.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Daoust devoted herself almost exclusively to the stage, but it was never possible to obtain uninterrupted bookings. So, though she never lost sight of her objective, she filled in with other work to keep active. She accepted many modeling assignments, she ushered at theaters, and for a time she worked for the New York Convention Bureau.

“Acting was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” she said. “As a child I always wanted to make up plays and acted in them.”

Mrs. Daoust, 85, recalled that she made her first attempt to land a stage job when she was 17, traveling from her Minneapolis home to New York City with a girlfriend. At that time, she had only a little more than $100 with which to cover expenses.

Living at a boarding house and conserving every penny, she made the rounds looking for a job.

“I was a good reader,” she said. “I anticipated that I would be given tryout readings for parts, but it wasn't done that way. You were judged on whether or not you looked the part.”

Frustrations were many, and on several occasions she became discouraged and returned home for brief periods. Gradually she adjusted to the different type of life and was able to obtain enough commercial work to live comfortably,

After appearing in No Time for Sergeants, she found it much easier to obtain bookings, and maintained a full program of off-Broadway productions,

She even found time to write six plays of her own, one of which, she said, came close to being produced.

After nearly a lifetime in New York, she came to the Toledo area to be closer to nieces and nephews.

Last year, she accompanied her nephew, John Daoust, as he made Santa Claus appearances at various schools. Marie contributed by entertaining with a little tap dance, jumping into the air and clicking her heels together.

“It was amazing at her age,” her nephew said. “She is very agile.”



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