Cleopatra Jones' Actress Tamara Dobson Died after Multiple Sclerosis and Pneumonia
Tamara Dobson, in her lifetime, was larger than life. She set a lot of trends but could not stop her body from betraying her and cutting short her existence.
In the ‘70s, there was a famous name, Tamara Dobson. It wasn't just because she was tall and leggy at 6'2", but Dobson set trends as an actress and model.
The leggy model became more popular when she scored the role of the first African-American woman to play a lead role in a Blaxploitation film "Cleopatra Jones" in 1973. And in 1975, she reprised the role in "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold."
Tamara Dobson, CLEOPATRA JONES (1973) — Dobson leapt off the pages of Vogue and right into the role of ass-kicking, crime-stopping, lewks-serving Cleopatra Jones. With poise and personality to spare, Dobson made this heroine into a real-deal Wonder Woman for the 1970s and beyond. pic.twitter.com/nONSOvV8gf— Tribeca (@Tribeca) February 9, 2018
Dobson learned karate for five weeks for the role and performed her stunts herself. She took up more characters after that, starring in movies like "Murder At The World Series," "Chained Heat," and "Come Back, Charleston Blue."
Life was good, and her career progressed both in the movie and modeling world, until the year 2000, when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
The diagnosis started her tale of woes, as life as she knew it ended. Six years later, in October 2006, her body gave up, and the cause of death read "Complications from Pneumonia and Multiple Sclerosis."
An ode to Tamara Dobson’s style in CLEOPATRA JONES (’73) pic.twitter.com/9W6N4MsgSo— FilmStruck (@FilmStruck) July 12, 2018
The actress was 59 at the time and had been living at the Keswick Multi-Care Center in the last years of her life. Her brother, Peter Dobson, said at the time that it was tough for Dobson when she got diagnosed as she was very athletic.
He added that as someone who had fought a lot of battles in her life, it was hard knowing that was one battle she could not win.
Tamara Dobson’s clothes in “Cleopatra Jones” is off the chain! pic.twitter.com/4b39lEeTKg— Gabriela 🍾 (@noir_or_never) April 26, 2019
Peter equally credited her as someone who was not afraid to set trends and used her degree in fashion and innate creativity to create clothing for tall women.
Dobson studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and started her modeling career there. She represented brands like "Fabergé," "Chanel," and "Revlon" and appeared on the cover of "Vogue" and "Ebony” magazines.
The late model was equally known for her elaborate afro hairstyle and costumes, and the "Guinness World Record" once named her as the "Tallest leading lady in film."
The year she died, "Muscle and Fitness Magazine" named her as one of the "Five Baddest Bodies from ‘70s Blaxploitation Films."
Dobson lived most of her adult life in New York but got buried in her native city, Baltimore. Dobson was not married at her death; she left behind her sister, Darilyn Dobson, and brother Peter.