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Donna Reed Biography and Filmography
Donna Reed
Birthday: January 27, 1921
Birth Place: Denison, Iowa, USA
Height: 5' 7"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Donna Reed.
If you have any corrections or additions, please email us.
We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Donna Reed was born in the midwestern town of Denison, Iowa, on January 27, 1921, as Donna Belle Mullenger. A small town - a population of less than 3,000 people - Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young girls in western Iowa, except for one thing - Donna was very beautiful. That wasn't to say that others weren't as pretty, it's just that Donna's beauty stood out from all the other local girls, so much so that she won a beauty contest in Denison. Upon graduation from high school Donna left for college in Los Angeles, in the hopes of eventually entering movies. While at Los Angeles City College, she pursued her dream by participating in several college stage productions. In addition to the plays, she also won the title of Campus Queen. At one of those stage plays Donna was spotted by an MGM talent scout and was signed to a contract. Her first film was a minor role in MGM's The Get-Away (1941). That was followed by a small part in Babes on Broadway (1941), with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as a secretary. Afterwards, MGM began giving her better parts, in films such as The Bugle Sounds (1942), The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942) and The Man from Down Under (1943). In 1944 she received second billing playing Carol Halliday in See Here, Private Hargrove (1944), a comedy about a reporter drafted into the army who eventually meets up with Donna's character as a worker in the canteen. The following year Donna starred in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), her best role to date. It was a love story set in London in 1890. It got mixed critical reviews but did well at the box-office. Donna was now one of the leading ladies of Hollywood. In 1946 she starred in what is probably her best-known role, as the wife of James Stewart in the classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946). This timeless story is a holiday staple to this day. The film also starred Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell. The next year Donna starred as Ann Daniels in Paramount's Beyond Glory (1948) with Alan Ladd, which did well at the box-office. Her next role was the strongest she had had yet--Chicago Deadline (1949), again with Ladd. It was one of the best mystery dramas to come out of Hollywood in a long time, and did very well at the box office. As the 1940s faded out and the 1950s stormed in, Donna's roles got bigger but were mainly of the wholesome, girl-next-door type. In 1953, however, she starred as the prostitute Alma in the widely acclaimed From Here to Eternity (1953). She was so good in that film she was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, beating out such veterans as Thelma Ritter and Marjorie Rambeau. The film itself won for Best Picture and remains a classic to this day. Later that year Donna starred in The Caddy (1953), a comedy with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Three years later she landed the role of Sacajawea in The Far Horizons (1955), the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, starring Charlton Heston and Fred MacMurray. After finishing The Whole Truth (1958), Donna began her own TV series (produced by her husband), "The Donna Reed Show" (1958), a hit that ran for eight years. She was so effective in the show that she was nominated for TV's prestigious Emmy Award as Best Actress every year from 1959-1962. She was far more popular in TV than on the screen. After the run of the program, Donna took some time away from show business before coming back in a couple of made-for-TV movies (in 1974, she had made a feature called Yellow-Headed Summer (1974), but it was never released). She did get the role of Ellie Ewing Farlow in the hit TV series "Dallas" (1978) during the 1984-85 season. It was to be her final public performance. On January 14, 1986, less than two weeks before her 65th birthday, she died of pancreatic cancer in Beverly Hills, California. Grover Asmus, her husband, created the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts in her hometown of Denison. The foundation helps others who desire a career in the arts. Donna never forgot her roots. She was still a farm girl at heart.
Polly's Poker Palace/Shop Ahoy/Double Date/The Hong Kong Affair/Two Tales of a City: Part 2 (1984)
[ Eva Marie Saint ][ Yvette Mimeux ][ Brenda Vaccaro ][ Pamela Hensley ]
Deadly Lessons (1983)
[ Ally Sheedy ][ Nancy Cartwright ][ Diane Franklin ][ Krista Errickson ]
The Best Place to Be (1979)
[ Betty White ][ Gloria Stuart ][ Stephanie Zimbalist ]
Yellow-Headed Summer (1974)
Donna's Bank Account (1964)
Pepe (1960)
[ Janet Leigh ][ Debbie Reynolds ][ Kim Novak ][ Zsa Zsa Gabor ][ Shirley Jones ]
The Whole Truth (1958)
Beyond Mombasa (1956)
Backlash (1956)
Ransom! (1956)
[ Juanita Moore ]
The Benny Goodman Story (1955)
The Far Horizons (1955)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
[ Elizabeth Taylor ]
Three Hours to Kill (1954)
[ Carol Baker ]
They Rode West (1954)
Gun Fury (1953)
The Caddy (1953)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
[ Deborah Kerr ]
Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)
Trouble Along the Way (1953)
[ Sherry Jackson ]
Hangman's Knot (1952)
Scandal Sheet (1952)
Saturday's Hero (1951)
Chicago Deadline (1949)
[ Jo Kennedy ]
Beyond Glory (1948)
Green Dolphin Street (1947)
[ Lana Turner ]
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
[ Gloria Grahame ]
Faithful in My Fashion (1946)
[ Margaret Hamilton ][ Barbara Billingsley ]
They Were Expendable (1945)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
[ Angela Lansbury ]
See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
Gentle Annie (1944)
Thousands Cheer (1943)
[ Cyd Charisse ]
The Man from Down Under (1943)
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943)
The Human Comedy (1943)
[ Elaine Reynolds ]
Eyes in the Night (1942)
Apache Trail (1942)
Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Mokey (1942)
The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942)
The Bugle Sounds (1942)
Personalities (1942)
[ Esther Williams ]
Babes on Broadway (1941)
[ Judy Garland ]
Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
[ Myrna Loy ][ Elaine Reynolds ]
The Get-Away (1941)
  • Despite her association with the squeaky-clean and conservative 1950s, Reed became an anti-nuclear activist and anti-Vietnam protester. She also founded the group Another Mother for Peace.
  • Her last husband Grover Asmus started a program called the Donna Reed Foundation that led to the Donna Reed festival held yearly in Denison, IA. It's a celebration of Donna, and includes classes, performances. Many stars attend such as Shelly Faberes, Debbie Reynolds, and Loren Janes
  • In the scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" where she and James Stewart throw rocks at the old Granville house, director Frank Capra had originally planned to use a double in Donna's place to throw the rock. Miss Reed, however, was an accomplished baseball player in high school and threw very well, as evidenced by her toss in the movie.
  • Measurements: 34B-24-34 (measured in 1954), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Four children by husband/producer 'Tony Owen' (III) : Penny, Tony, Timothy, and Mary. Two were adopted. Mary, their last child, was born to them in 1957, a year before the start of Donna's classic TV show, which Tony executive produced.
  • Learned of her firing from "Dallas" from a reporter while on a vacation to Paris. She was in the process of suing the shows producers before her death in January, 1986.
  • The woman on the cover of Rush's 'Permanent Waves' album is modeled after her.

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