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Donna Reed

Donna Reed

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Also Known As: Donna Adams, Donna Belle Mullenger Died: January 14, 1986
Born: January 27, 1921 Cause of Death: pancreatic cancer
Birth Place: Denison, Iowa, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As the star of her own ABC sitcom between 1958 and 1966, Donna Reed epitomized selfless American motherhood, but her crowning achievement had been winning an Academy Award for playing a prostitute. Reed specialized in girl-next-door types after signing with MGM in 1941. Her role as a courageous Navy nurse in John Ford's "They Were Expendable" (1945) brought her to the attention of Frank Capra, who paired her with James Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). Long before it was canonized as a holiday classic, Capra's paean to small-town American life was written off as a failure, prompting the producers of the baseball biopic "The Stratton Story" (1949) to drop Reed from the cast when Stewart signed on. Reed rebounded with a role in Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" (1953) and took home an Oscar for playing a hooker entangled in a tortured relationship with army private Montgomery Clift. Disappearing from public life after the cancelation of "The Donna Reed Show," the actress returned in 1984 to replace Barbara Bel Geddes for a season on the prime time ABC soap opera "Dallas" (1978-1991). Fired a year later with the return of Bel Geddes, Reed won a hefty settlement from the series' producers...

As the star of her own ABC sitcom between 1958 and 1966, Donna Reed epitomized selfless American motherhood, but her crowning achievement had been winning an Academy Award for playing a prostitute. Reed specialized in girl-next-door types after signing with MGM in 1941. Her role as a courageous Navy nurse in John Ford's "They Were Expendable" (1945) brought her to the attention of Frank Capra, who paired her with James Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). Long before it was canonized as a holiday classic, Capra's paean to small-town American life was written off as a failure, prompting the producers of the baseball biopic "The Stratton Story" (1949) to drop Reed from the cast when Stewart signed on. Reed rebounded with a role in Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" (1953) and took home an Oscar for playing a hooker entangled in a tortured relationship with army private Montgomery Clift. Disappearing from public life after the cancelation of "The Donna Reed Show," the actress returned in 1984 to replace Barbara Bel Geddes for a season on the prime time ABC soap opera "Dallas" (1978-1991). Fired a year later with the return of Bel Geddes, Reed won a hefty settlement from the series' producers for breach of contract but succumbed to pancreatic cancer early in 1986. The revaluation of "It's a Wonderful Life" boosted Reed's posthumous Hollywood stock, drawing new fans to her signature roles and to an appreciation of her unique blend of beauty, intelligence and unflappable poise.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Deadly Lessons (1983) Miss Wade
2.
 Pepe (1961)
3.
 The Whole Truth (1958) Carol Poulton
4.
 Beyond Mombasa (1957) Ann Wilson
5.
 Backlash (1956) Karyl Orton
6.
 Ransom! (1956) Edith Stannard
7.
 The Benny Goodman Story (1956) Alice Hammond
8.
 The Far Horizons (1955) Sacajawea
9.
 They Rode West (1954) Laurie MacKaye
10.
 The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954) Marion Ellswirth
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1941:
Made first feature film appearances
1958:
Played last leading role in a feature, "The Whole Truth"
1958:
Played Donna Stone on the long-running ABC sitcom, "The Donna Reed Show"
1960:
Last feature film appearance, a cameo in the star-studded box office bomb, "Pepe"
:
Returned to series TV when she replaced an ailing Barbara Bel Geddes for a season in the role of Miss Ellie on the long-running CBS primetime serial drama, "Dallas"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Los Angeles City College: Los Angeles , California - 1938

Notes

Co-chaired the anti-Vietnam organization Another Mother for Peace in 1970.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
William Tuttle. Makeup man.
husband:
Tony Owen. Producer. Second husband, produced "The Donna Reed Show," married 1945, divorced 1972.
husband:
Grover Asmus. Army colonel. Married 1975.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Penny Jane Owen. Adopted.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Donna Reed: A Bio-Bibliography" Greenwood Press
"In Search of Donna Reed" University of Iowa Press

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