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Q: Birth Name ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Birth Name
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Celebrities
Asked by: rhwanderer-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 02 Apr 2003 10:33 PST
Expires: 02 May 2003 11:33 PDT
Question ID: 184966
What was the birth name of actress Arlene Dahl?

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 02 Apr 2003 12:13 PST
rhwanderer --

I have found some genealogical information written in Norwegian (!)
which seems to indicate that Arlene Dahl is her birth name.  I have
written e-mails to two people who should be able to confirm this.  I
hope to be able to post this information as an answer soon.


Clarification of Question by rhwanderer-ga on 02 Apr 2003 12:39 PST
I have reason to beleive that her last name at birth was Olson. I'm
trying to verify that she's who I think she is, that's the reason for
the question.

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 02 Apr 2003 15:25 PST
rhwanderer -- 

Thanks for the added information.  After trying hard, I still have
found no online evidence that Ms. Dahl adopted a stage name. (This is
consistent with the thesis that she did not adopt one, since the birth
names of celebrities with stage names are typically easy to find.)

I still await answers to my e-mails, but I will share with you what I
have so far.  Here is a link to the page I mentioned, which is written
in Norwegian, that relates to Ms. Dahl's Norwegian ancestry: Trandelag-L Archives: Arlene Dahl's Norwegian Ancestors

And here is the text of the promising excerpt from that page:

"I det norske miljøet i Minneapolis traff Ingeborg, som ung dame,
Dahl. Hanhadde slekta si fra Bergenskanten. Han var handverker.
1920 ble de to gift. Noen år senere fikk det unge paret dattera
Arlene. Hun
ble født i Minneapolis 11 aug 1926. På et bilde som ble tatt av henne
morfaren, Johan Svangrønning da Arlene var en fem-seks år, og som ble
heim til slektningene i Trøndelag,ser vi ei kjekk lita jente som trygt
holder morfars hand. Arnenes mor, Ingeborg ble syk og døde tidlig, før
dattera Arlene nådde voksen alder."

Using on online Norwegian-English dictionary at the following link, I
got enough of the sense of the paragraph to suspect that Dahl's father
was named Rudolf Dahl:
Free Dictionary

I am posting this as a clarification instead of as an answer because I
still have hope of getting some input from the participants in the
genealogy thread that will confirm my sense that the actress was born
as "Arlene Dahl."


Clarification of Question by rhwanderer-ga on 04 Apr 2003 13:41 PST
I am a member of an alumni foundation for one of the high schools in
the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Recently I was told by an alumnus of
that school that Mz. Dahl had attened there. Previously I was of the
opinion that she had attened one of the other schools in the area.
Trying to verify the information I was given I did a web search.
Didn't find any information on where Mz. Dahl attended high school but
did find her bith date, or at least three different birth dates, same
day different years. General consensus was that she was born in 1924
so I started checking alumni records for the years around 1942 when
she would have reached the age of 18. Found a 1942 alumnus by the name
of Beverly Arlene Olson who's married name was given as Barker. Arlene
Dahl's first husband was Lex Barker. I was not able to find any other
information and that's when I turned the question of her birth name
over to you.
Subject: Re: Birth Name
Answered By: luciaphile-ga on 04 Apr 2003 16:47 PST
Hi rhwanderer-ga,

According to several reputable reference sources, Arlene Dahl's name
is indeed Arlene Dahl.

She was born Arlene Carol Dahl on August 11, 1928 in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, the daughter of Rudolph S. and Idelle (maiden name Swan)
Dahl. Rudolph was a dealer and later an executive for Ford Motor Co.

You mentioned her marriages. Arlene Dahl's husbands were in order:

1. Alexander Chrichlow Barber (divorced)[aka Lex Barker]
2. Fernando Lamas (divorced)
3. Christian R. Holmes III (divorced)
4. Alexis Lichine (divorced)
5. Rounsevelle W. Schaum (divorced)
6. Marc A. Rosen (a vice president in corporate design)

"Arlene Dahl." Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 2.
Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1985.


Contemporary Authors. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Group, 1985, vol. 105.

A few online sites and a number of reference sources give alternate
years of birth (ranging from 1924 to 1928) for Dahl, but given her
career as an actress, this isn't surprising.

In an article in People Weekly in 1985, she was claiming to have been
born in 1929. However, there is this and it relates directly to your

"In 1947 Warner Bros. brought Dahl to Hollywood, where she resisted
attempts to have her name changed. 'I was going to be Andrea Lord,'
relates Dahl in a story that sounds apocryphal yet isn't, 'but before
I left New York, I gave it to my roommate. I felt she needed it worse
than I did. Her name was Ethel Czap.'"

According to this article, Dahl left Minnesota at 15 for Chicago and
then for New York.

"Arlene Takes Her Sixth Husband Or: It's So Nice to Have a Young Man
Around the House, Dahl-ling," by John Stark. People Weekly. January
21, 1985, pp. 74-79.

Google search: "Arlene Dahl"
Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Several news article indices

I hope this answers your question. If you need additional information,
please ask for clarification before rating my answer and I'll do my
best to assist you.

Subject: Re: Birth Name
From: justaskscott-ga on 04 Apr 2003 14:10 PST
I have seen another site that lists her name as Arlene Dahl with a
middle name.  This might be further evidence that her name was Arlene
Dahl, with the middle name, at birth.
Subject: Re: Birth Name
From: markj-ga on 04 Apr 2003 14:55 PST
rhwanderer --

Thanks for your latest question clarification.  I will use the new
clues you have provided and look further for information which may
eliminate from consideration the Mrs. Barker you have uncovered.

Also, I still await replies to my e-mails from the amateur
genealogists who corresponded about Ms. Dahl's Norwegian ancestry and
quoted a source (in Norwegian) about a Rudolf Dahl who may well be
Arlene's father.

You are right about the various birth dates given for Ms. Dahl.  Most
of the references I have seen are to 1926, but it is certainly
plausible that 1924 (the earliest I have seen) is the correct one.
Subject: Re: Birth Name
From: markj-ga on 04 Apr 2003 15:18 PST
rhwanderer -- 

I have found some information that, I think, is very strong
circumstantial evidence that the Beverly Arlene Olson that you
referred to in your question clarification is not Arlene Dahl.

I just searched in the Social Security Death Index for the name
"Beverly Barker" and found a Beverly A. Barker who was born in 1924
and died in 1996 in Hennepin, MN.  As we know, the "real" Arlene Dahl
is alive in New York City.

Here is the link to the Social Security Death Index search form.  Just
insert Beverly A. Barker in the appropriate name fields, and you will
see the record I mentioned: Social Security Death Index.

This new information makes me tantalizingly close to very confident
that Arlene Dahl was indeed born Arlene Dahl.  However, I will wait a
while more to get some clarification of the Norwegian correspondence
unless you tell me that you are fully satisfied with my conclusion, in
which case I would be happy to post it as an answer.

Subject: Re: Birth Name
From: markj-ga on 05 Apr 2003 10:00 PST
rhwanderer --

Just to close the circle, I have just received e-mail confirmation
from the Norwegian genealogist interested in Ms. Dahl's ancestry that
her birth name is indeed Arlene Dahl.


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