In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers –Part 1

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For over a year or maybe even two, a good friend in Arizona has been a caring friend for a woman named Dottie. Dottie has been in a senior’s hospice, and I have been following her health for a long time even though I didn’t know her. I had seen pictures of her and heard so much about her I felt like I knew her personally.

Sadly, Dottie died a few months ago, and I felt the same way as if my neighbour had died. Today, I asked my friend when her ashes were going to be scattered, and wondered if  there would be anyone there– as in reality she had no family left.

To my surprise this is what she told me:

“Dottie’s former neighbor, myself, her hospice nurse & pastor will be there. That will be it because Dottie had no family.  However, a woman discovered her on IMDB and would love to attend if she weren’t so ill.

“Dottie was actually Dorothy Ann Seese, a child star with the potential of Shirley Temple, but her parents yanked her movie career after she starred in the Five Little Peppers series of 4 or 5 movies in the late 30’s and early 40’s.  The woman that found her is a huge Peppers fan and owns all the movies.  Dottie was the last of the Peppers.  I have some pictures of her, thanks to her of Dottie when she was 5 & 6 playing Phronzie.  Too bad royalties weren’t available then. She died penniless”.

I stopped typing and almost fell out of my chair as I had watched those movies as a child and felt so bad. If had not been for the kindness of my very dedicated friend visiting her she would have died alone after giving so much joy to others.

In later years Dorothy Ann Seese obtained a liberal arts degree from UCLA in 1955 and became a business systems analyst for fifteen years. She then switched to the legal field and worked the next 25 years as a legal secretary, legal assistant and paralegal. In 1997 she became disabled from a spinal injury, retired, and lived in Sun City, Arizona.

In memory of Dottie-Dorothy Ann Seese– The last of The Five Little Peppers.

READ part 2–

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers Part 2 — Dorothy Ann “Dottie” Seese

comments

Penny Lane
Watching “Five Little Peppers” right now, for the first time ever. There is a marathon on TCM. That’s what brought me here. May Dottie rest in peace.
James
Thanks for posting that she had passed, I know it was a few years ago, but again I just started watching again.
You are doing a great, great service to this woman and her family that pass on or are still alive. THANK YOU.
Anne Siels
I was working at Ventana Winds in Youngtown, AZ., as a Certified Caregiver helping to take care of her in December 2015. Early Friday morning, Dec. 11, two other caregivers and I were with her when she took her last breathes. We were glad that someone could be with her in her last moments as we knew she had no family. The only picture she had in her room was of her at her desk as a paralegal in the 1970’s.
Louis Gonzales
The recent marathon on TCM led me here and I just wanted to say thank you for this beautifully written remembrance of her. I’m shocked that she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page given the level of talent that I just saw. Would you happen to know if she has a memorial marker of remembrance present near her ashes? If not, I would most definitely be willing to pay for one. Once again, thank you so much and may God bless you!
David
I watched that marathon as well. I am pretty sure she was the cutest little girl ever in the history of the world. I loved watching the adults interact with her – they just smiled. little moments where you can sense there isn’t very much acting going on, just big smiles of affection for a little tiny precocious girl.

COMPLETE FILMOGRAPHY WITH SYNOPSIS

CAST (feature film)

1.
The Long Gray Line (1955) as
An Irish immigrant becomes one of West Point””s most beloved officers.
2.
The Virginian (1946) as Jane Woods
Best friends become enemies when one signs on with a rustler.
3.
Let’s Have Fun (1943) as Toni Gilbert
4.
Blondie’s Blessed Event (1942) as Little girl
5.
Blondie in Society (1941) as Little girl
Dagwood brings home a pedigreed Great Dane which an important company client wants and which Blondie enters in the big dog show. A highlight of this film is the canine burping display.
6.
Out West with the Peppers (1940) as Phronsie Pepper
A working class family moves West in search of better fortune.
7.
Five Little Peppers in Trouble (1940) as Phronsie Pepper
Five siblings face boarding school when their working mother can””t hold a job and care for them.
8.
Five Little Peppers at Home (1940) as Phronsie Pepper
Five siblings enlist a crusty old businessman to help save their mother from bankruptcy.
9.
The Doctor Takes A Wife (1940) as Girl
A man-hating author and a woman-hating doctor have to pretend they’re married.
10.
Meet the Missus (1940) as Millie Lou
11.
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1939) as Phronsie Pepper
A case of measles gets a working class family mixed up with a blustering businessman””s clan.
Update: Dottie was laid rest January, 2015. It was a sparse attendance, and the church secretary, plus the pastor of course was in attendance.  It was a cold, overcast day and rather gloomy, but Pastor Blau gave Dottie a very good send-off.  Her ashes were placed and it was all over in 15 minutes. May she rest in peace!

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

46 responses »

  1. Thank you for writing this. We did not know Dottie died and this resolved that for us. We didn’t know anything about the Peppers until Dorothy told us a few years after we met, which was in 2001. We’re also happy you included the Five Little Peppers. Dottie was extremely proud of her film past.

    We are also saddened we could not attend the funeral. I hope Rev. Ronald Blau was able to perform the service but it was probably done by Rev. Anderson. Regardless, thank you for your attendance and also befriending Dorothy during her last time on earth.

    Diana and Morgan Fairlamb

    Liked by 1 person

      • My name is Danny & I had the pleasure meeting ms Seese when she lived in Sun city,az i have her autograph. I sat & we talked for over an hour more than once & she told me about her life & how she got into hollywood movies as a child actress & to me She was a great little actress. I’m so glad i had the greatest pleasure of meeting this great lady.I’ll never foreget the time we spent together talking. May u R I P MS. DOROTHY ANN SEESE THE WORLD WILL MISS U.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have just discovered the Pepper films by chance on you tube which led me to google which led me here. What a wonderful little girl she was, simply adorable to watch with the other children too. May Dottie know how much joy she brought . RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only recently came across the Pepper films on Youtube and loved little Dorothy. Only came across an article today to say she had sadly passed away. She was in my opinion better than Shirley Temple. Hopefully she is in a better place now.

    Christine (Dublin Ireland)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am really sorry to see this. I loved the Five Little Peppers movies and Dorothy Anne Seese was so cute as little Phronsie. I know she was loved by lots of fans of these films, I also seen her in two Blondie movies. She now rests in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was working at Ventana Winds in Youngtown, AZ., as a Certified Caregiver helping to take care of her in December 2015. Early Friday morning, Dec. 11, two other caregivers and I were with her when she took her last breathes. We were glad that someone could be with her in her last moments as we knew she had no family. The only picture she had in her room was of her at her desk as a paralegal in the 1970’s.

    Like

  6. That is so sad that this great talent died alone and penniless, unable to pursue an acting career. She would have been the next Shirley Temple. She was just as good an actress if not better than ST, a very bright little girl. Did she ever marry and have children? She did in life the same as me – legal secretary, legal assistant and then paralegal. Thank you for the update. Muahh!! xxxooo —Linda E.

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  7. I love watching those movies along with the Hardy movies, but didn’t start watching them again until this past two years after my children grew up. It is very said that there were no siblings or children or grandchildren. If I had know I might of made a special trip.
    Now soap box, and I tell my children and anyone, not all the time, I meet. You have to have children, as many as you can, and raise them knowing that family and friends are the most important. That means telling them that family is most important until the day you die, because people and especially kids, forget things told to them. She was there for her parents, I assume, and now she doesn’t have any children to see her off. My wife has five brothers and sisters and I have one. My uncle and aunt didn’t have any children but me and my sister and my parents were real close to them. So when my parents died and my uncle and Aunt they had their brothers and sisters and their kids there. When my dad died, and he was the last one, he had me and my sister and re spouses and ex-spouse there along with the grandchildren. So did my uncle and aunt. So if you have enough brothers and sisters and they have children and you have a relatively close family, well, then no matter what you do for a living you always have your family and close friends. And having a close family means not being selfish. Meaning, don’t say you need to live on the other side of the country or taking job where you can’t have a family or supplant a family with a career. Ask anyone that has saved lives or achieved some type of “greatness” and they will tell you that God (Or your church) and/or your family is the best thing ever and the most important thing in the world to them.
    Lastly, after ever pre-meal prayer I say with my family I end the prayer like this; “And Lord take care of those that are alone in their deathbed and are about to die and those that have recently died, please be there or let Mother Mary be there so that with there last hour on earth they see you and will be comforted and leave this earth with a smile on their face and take their place with you in the Kingdom of Heaven.” I say this at least 3 times a day, even if I eat by myself. Because my dad died an hour after I left the Hospice and my sister and family got there (I would go during the day and my sister would be at night because of our jobs) 15 minutes after he died and I curse myself for leaving the last 5 years and still hate that I left. I am welling up right now thinking about it. My wife and others say he waited till you left so you wouldn’t be hurt and see him die. I guess that is right but as for now I don’t believe that. So I always hope for people on their deathbed not to be alone and a large family will ensure that you are never alone.
    End of soap box.
    One thing, at my job there are Spanish and Indian (from india) people there and they all have kids and every weekend they say that 10 to 20 people are there eating and talking and doing whatever. Those people will never die alone. That’s how my apartment was growing up and we have some people today but not as many, but when they get older and we retire there will be many more.
    Sorry I wrote so much, but it hits me hard when I hear someone die without children or grandchildren and are lonely in their mind.
    God Bless
    James

    P.S. thanks for posting that she had passed, I know it was a few years ago, but again I just started watching again.
    You are doing a great, great service to this woman and her family that past on or are still alive. THANK YOU.

    Like

  8. Watching “Five Little Peppers” right now, for the first time ever. There is a marathon on TCM. That’s what brought me here. May Dottie rest in peace.

    Like

  9. The recent marathon on TCM led me here and I just wanted to say thank you for this beautifully written remembrance of her. I’m shocked that she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page given the level of talent that I just saw. Would you happen to know if she has a memorial marker of remembrance present near her ashes? If not, I would most definitely be willing to pay for one. Once again, thank you so much and may God bless you!

    Like

  10. I watched that marathon as well. I am pretty sure she was the cutest little girl ever in the history of the world. I loved watching the adults interact with her – they just smiled. little moments where you can sense there isn’t very much acting going on, just big smiles of affection for a little tiny precocious girl.

    Like

  11. I saw the marathon on Ms. Dorothy on TCM Network and they were great. I would like to buy The movies of 5 Little Peppers Series. This little girl was the best little actress I’ve seen. So precious to watch and see how the family values were plus caring people. It is very rare now days to see that. Thank you TCM for showing us these movies with caring and values. To bad other networks don’t.

    Like

  12. I saw her recently and was amazed, too bad her parents did not let her continue in film. She was so gifted. There should have been people to look after the interests of child stars, to keep them from being mistreated or overworked and certainly to have their financial interests at heart. She may have passed penniless, but was still incredibly rich.

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  13. I’m a big classic movie fan and I caught the Pepper series too. That little girl Phronsie (Dorothy Ann Seese) I thought was a much much more talented child actress than Shirley Temple was at that age. Too bad she didn’t stay in the movies and give us some more great performances. Anyone in films of that era should be covered some way…..so they could have lived in comfort when they got much older. Someone mentioned purchasing these movies and I found a site that sells the whole set for only $24 dollars. That’s like $6.00 dollars a film. Here’s the link if your interested:
    https://www.shop.thomasfilmclassics.com/FIVE-LITTLE-PEPPERS-Family-Movies-Collectors-Series-NM6667.htm

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  14. I was her 1st cousin. Tryed to get in tough but she did not want visitors. I’m a Christian and so was she. Brilliant lady.

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  15. It is a shame that the movie industry does not take care of their own. After the millions or billions that the industry make off of their actors none of them should end up without any money.

    Like

  16. Hello…..I don’t know if you all realized it or not but I posted a way to purchase all these “Little Peppers” films through a website I found. You get all films for only $24.00….so that’s like $6.00 a film. I think that’s an affordable price. Here’s the website again:
    https://www.shop.thomasfilmclassics.com/FIVE-LITTLE-PEPPERS-Family-Movies-Collectors-Series-NM6667.htm
    Glad I found these films…..I really liked them.

    Sincerely,
    Troy Leong

    Like

  17. I just decided to go back to my childhood shows The five little peppers on YouTube and wanted to Google to see if anyone had been still amongst the living I thought Dorothy would be and sadly I was lead here and I cried to think someone so adorable that they would end up dying almost alone entirely! Life is odd I will say a prayer for them all . The entire cast is no longer with us! You would think someone would do a movie about these great actors and actresses to think those old movie companies made so much money off of so many and the actors most died penniless just sad!! God Bless her and the entire cast! Amen

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  18. After basically stumbling across these little movies I fell in love with the characters. It was so nice to watch wholesome shows. The character of Phronsie was breathtaking. Wish we had more shows like this to watch.

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  19. I’d never heard of the Peppers and wouldn’t have watch if I didn’t have a cold. I watch, I laughed… I cried and I had to find out who the baby Pepper was. She’s 4 years older than my dad, and she was a beautiful little girl. I am grateful to have watched this late Holiday season of 2019. And I wish she wasnt all alone. May God continue to bless her soul

    Like

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