b. Joseph Nelson Goucher, 11 December 1895, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, USA, d. 18 February 1976, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA. Dowling’s Broadway career began as a performer and he appeared in musicals such as The Velvet Lady (1919) and Ziegfeld Follies Of 1919. He married Ray Dooley (b. Rachel Rice Dooley, 30 October 1896, Glasgow, Scotland, d. 28 January 1984, East Hampton, New York, USA), when both were in their teens. She appeared in Ziegfeld Follies Of 1919 and also in editions of the show in 1920 and 1921. Also, she appeared in some of her husband’s shows. In the 20s Dowling was in Sally, Irene And Mary (1922, revived 1925), for which he also wrote the book, and was a replacement cast member in Eddie Cantor’s long-running starring vehicle Kid Boots, which had opened in December 1923. He was in Tell Me More (1925), then wrote the book, music and lyrics for both Honeymoon Lane and Sidewalks Of New York (both 1927); his wife appeared in the latter.
From the late 20s, Dowling was more often a producer, mostly of non-musicals, such as Stepping Out (1929), Big Hearted Herbert (1934), but also the occasional musical, Thumbs Up (1934), in which both he and his wife appeared. It was back to drama for the late 30s, including Shakespeare, Shadow And Substance, Here Come The Clowns (1938) and The Time Of Your Life (1939), in both of which he also appeared. He directed the revue, Sons O’ Fun (1941) and produced and/or directed other dramas, including Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie (1945), in which he also performed, and Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (1946). He supervised production of the musical Heaven On Earth, a one-week flop in 1948, then joined the cast of Paint Your Wagon during its long run that had begun on 12 November 1951. One of his last Broadway productions, which he also directed, was The Righteous Are Bold (1955).