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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:||Cast ... actor|
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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