April 15, 2010 Leave a comment
Image from the trailer for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
January 27, 1921(1921-01-27)
Denison, Iowa, U.S.
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Tony Owen (1945-1971) (divorced) 4 children
Grover Asmus (1974-1986) (her death)
Donna Reed (January 27, 1921 – January 14, 1986) was an American film and television actress.She received the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Lorene, a prostitute, in From Here to Eternity, and received the 1963 Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star – Female for her performance as Donna Stone, an American middle class wife and mother, in The Donna Reed Show. In 1984, she replaced Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie in the television melodrama, Dallas, and sued the production company for breach of contract when she was abruptly fired upon Bel Geddes’s decision to return to the show.Reed was married three times and the mother of four children. She died of pancreatic cancer.
Reed was born Donna Belle Mullenger on a farm near Denison, Iowa, the daughter of Hazel Jane Shives (1899–1975) and William Richard Mullenger (1893–1981). The eldest of five children, she was raised as a Methodist. After graduating from Denison High School, Reed planned to become a teacher, but was unable to pay for college. She decided to move to California to attend Los Angeles City College on the advice of her aunt. While attending college, she performed in various stage productions but had no plans to become an actress. After receiving several offers to screen test for studios, Reed eventually signed with MGM, but insisted on finishing her education first.
Reed in Shadow of the Thin Man, (1941)After signing with MGM in 1941, Reed made her film debut that same year in The Get-Away, opposite Robert Sterling. Billed in her first feature as Donna Adams, MGM decided against the name and changed it to Donna Reed. She starred in The Courtship of Andy Hardy and had a supporting role with Edward Arnold in Eyes in the Night (1942). In 1943, she appeared in The Human Comedy with Mickey Rooney, followed by roles in The Picture of Dorian Gray and They Were Expendable, both in 1945.Her “girl-next-door” good looks and warm on-stage personality made her a popular pin-up for many GIs during WWII. She personally answered letters from many GIs serving overseas.
Reed with James Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in It’s a Wonderful Life, (1946)In 1946, she was lent to RKO Pictures for the role of Mary Bailey in Frank Capra‘s It’s a Wonderful Life. The film has since been named as one of the 100 best American films ever made by the American Film Institute and is regularly aired on television during the Christmas season.Following the release of It’s a Wonderful Life, Reed appeared in Green Dolphin Street (1947) with Lana Turner and Van Heflin, and Scandal Sheet (1952). In 1953, she played the role of Alma “Lorene” Burke, a prostitute and mistress of Montgomery Clift‘s character in the World War II drama From Here to Eternity. The role earned Reed an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 1953.Beginning in 1958, she starred in The Donna Reed Show, a television situation-comedy series that featured her as Donna Stone, the idealized housewife of pediatrician Dr. Alex Stone (Carl Betz) and mother of Jeff (Paul Petersen) and Mary Stone (Shelley Fabares). It ran for eight seasons on ABC. Reed won a Golden Globe Award and earned four Emmy Award nominations for her work on the series.
Reed with the regular cast of The Donna Reed Show, (1958)After The Donna Reed Show ended its run in 1966, Reed took time off from acting and helped form the advocacy group, Another Mother For Peace in 1967. Reed also became an opponent of the Vietnam War and the use of nuclear weapons. She returned to acting in the 1970s, appearing in various guest spots in television series and television movies.In 1984, she temporarily replaced Barbara Bel Geddes, who had decided to step down from her role as “Miss Ellie” in the television series Dallas in the 1984-85 season. When Bel Geddes agreed to return to the role for the 1985-86 season, Reed was abruptly fired. She sued the show’s production company for breach of contract and later settled out of court for over $1 million.
From 1943 to 1945, Reed was married to make up artist William Tuttle. In 1945, she married producer Tony Owen (1907–1984) with whom she had four children: Penny Jane, Anthony, Timothy, and Mary Anne (the two oldest children were adopted). Reed and Owen divorced in 1971, and three years later, she married retired U. S. Army Colonel Grover W. Asmus (1926–2003).On January 8, 1945, Reed went to Juarez, Mexico to obtain a divorce from Bill Tuttle. Ret
ning home on the night of January 9, 1945, Reed boarded a plane in El Paso, Texas for a flight back to Los Angeles. Just as the plane was about to take off, Reed was bumped from the flight to make room for a military officer. The airliner crashed on approach to Lockheed Air Terminal (now called Bob Hope Airport) in Burbank, California killing everyone on board.
Reed died of pancreatic cancer in Beverly Hills, California on January 14, 1986, thirteen days short of her 65th birthday. She had been diagnosed with the terminal illness three months prior. She is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
In 1987, Grover Asmus (Reed’s widower), actresses Shelley Fabares and Norma Connolly, and numerous friends, associates, and family members created the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts. Based in Reed’s hometown of Denison, the non-profit organization grants scholarships for performing arts students, runs an annual festival of performing arts workshops, and operates “The Donna Reed Center for the Performing Arts”.Reed’s hometown of Denison, Iowa, hosts the annual Donna Reed Festival. Reed’s childhood home was located on Donna Reed Drive in Denison but was destroyed by a fire in 1983.Reed’s Academy Award is on display at W.A. McHenry museum house in Denison, Iowa.For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Donna Reed has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.In May 2010 Turner Classic Movies honored Donna as their star of the month which saw Mary Owen pay a special tribute to her mother.
|1941||The Get-Away||Maria Theresa ‘Terry’ O’Reilly||Alternative title: The Getaway|
|Shadow of the Thin Man||Molly|
|Babes on Broadway||Jonesy’s Secretary||Uncredited|
|The Bugle Sounds||Sally Hanson|
|The Courtship of Andy Hardy||Melodie Eunice Nesbit|
|Calling Dr. Gillespie||Marcia Bradburn|
|Apache Trail||Rosalia Martinez|
|Eyes in the Night||Barbara Lawry|
|1943||The Human Comedy||Bess Macauley|
|Dr. Gillespie’s Criminal Case||Marcia Bradburn||Alternative title: Crazy to Kill|
|The Man from Down Under||Mary Wilson|
|Thousands Cheer||Customer in Red Skelton Skit|
|1944||See Here, Private Hargrove||Carol Holliday|
|Gentle Annie||Mary Lingen|
|1945||The Picture of Dorian Gray||Gladys Hallward|
|They Were Expendable||Lt. Sandy Davyss|
|1946||Faithful in My Fashion||Jean Kendrick|
|It’s a Wonderful Life||Mary Hatch Bailey||Alternative title: Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life|
|1947||Green Dolphin Street||Marguerite Patourel|
|1948||Beyond Glory||Ann Daniels|
|1949||Chicago Deadline||Rosita Jean D’Ur|
|1951||Saturday’s Hero||Melissa||Alternative title: Idols in the Dust|
|1952||Scandal Sheet||Julie Allison||Alternative title: The Dark Page|
|Hangman’s Knot||Molly Hull|
|1953||Trouble Along the Way||Alice Singleton||Alternative title: Alma Mater|
|Raiders of the Seven Seas||Alida|
|From Here to Eternity||Alma “Lorene” Burke||Winner: Best Supporting Actress Academy Award|
|The Caddy||Kathy Taylor|
|Gun Fury||Jennifer Ballard|
|1954||They Rode West||Laurie MacKaye|
|Three Hours to Kill||Laurie Mastin|
|The Last Time I Saw Paris||Marion Ellswirth/Matine|
|1955||The Far Horizons||Sacajawea||Alternative title: The Untamed West|
|The Benny Goodman Story||Alice Hammond|
|1956||Ransom!||Edith Stannard||Alternative title: Fearful Decision|
|Beyond Mombasa||Ann Wilson|
|1958||The Whole Truth||Carol Poulton|
|1954||The Ford Television Theatre||Lydia Campbell||1 episode|
|1955||Tales of Hans Anderson||1 episode|
|1957||General Electric Theater||Rayna||1 episode|
|Suspicion||Letty Jason||1 episode|
|1958–1966||The Donna Reed Show||Donna Stone||275 episodes|
|1979||The Best Place to Be||Sheila Callahan||Television movie|
|1983||Deadly Lessons||Miss Wade||Television movie|
|1984||The Love Boat||2 episodes|
|1984–1985||Dallas||Eleanor “Miss Ellie” Southworth Ewing Farlow||24 episodes|
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Film or series|
|1953||Academy Award||Won||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||From Here to Eternity|
|1963||Golden Globe Award||Best TV Star – Female||The Donna Reed Show|
|1964||Golden Apple Awards||Most Cooperative Actress||–|
|1959||Emmy Award||Nominated||Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series||The Donna Reed Show|
|1960||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead or Support)||The Donna Reed Show|
|1961||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead)||The Donna Reed Show|
|1962||Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead)||The Donna Reed Show|
|2004||TV Land Awards||The Most Irreplaceable Replacement||Dallas|
|2006||The Most Irreplaceable Replacement||Dallas|
- Fultz, Jay (1998). In Search of Donna Reed. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 0877456259.
- Tucker, David C. (2007). The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.. ISBN 0786429003.
- Donna Reed at the Internet Movie Database
- Donna Reed at the TCM Movie Database
- Donna Reed at Allmovie
- Donna Reed at TV.com
- Donna Reed TCM Star of the Month May 2010
- The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts
- The Donna Reed Show
- Donna Reed at Find a Grave
- Photographs and literature
|v • d • eAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Mary Astor (1941) · Teresa Wright (1942) · Katina Paxinou (1943) · Ethel Barrymore (1944) · Anne Revere (1945) · Anne Baxter (1946) · Celeste Holm (1947) · Claire Trevor (1948) · Mercedes McCambridge (1949) · Josephine Hull (1950) · Kim Hunter (1951) · Gloria Grahame (1952) · Donna Reed (1953) · Eva Marie Saint (1954) · Jo Van Fleet (1955) · Dorothy Malone (1956) · Miyoshi Umeki (1957) · Wendy Hiller (1958) · Shelley Winters (1959) · Shirley Jones (1960)Complete list · (1928–1940) · (1941–1960) · (1961–1980) · (1981–2000) · (2001-present)|
|v • d • eDallas|
|Main characters||Cliff Barnes · Pamela Barnes Ewing · Donna Culver Krebbs · Bobby Ewing · Eleanor “Miss Ellie” Ewing · Jack Ewing · Jock Ewing · J. R. Ewing · Lucy Ewing Cooper · Sue Ellen Ewing · Clayton Farlow · Cally Harper Ewing · Ray Krebbs · Carter McKay · April Stevens Ewing · Jenna Wade|
|Supporting characters||Willard “Digger” Barnes · James Richard Beaumont · Afton Cooper · Mitch Cooper · Gary Ewing · Valene Ewing · Christopher Ewing · Jamie Ewing Barnes · John Ross Ewing III · Dusty Farlow · Mark Graison · Peter Richards · Kristin Shepard · Michelle Stevens · Katherine Wentworth · Rebecca Wentworth · Mandy Winger|
|Main cast||Barbara Bel Geddes · Jim Davis · Lesley-Anne Down · Patrick Duffy · Linda Gray · Larry Hagman · Susan Howard · Steve Kanaly · Howard Keel · Ken Kercheval · George Kennedy · Sasha Mitchell · Cathy Podewell · Priscilla Presley · Victoria Principal · Dack Rambo · Donna Reed · Barbara Stock · Charlene Tilton · Sheree J. Wilson|
|Supporting cast||Christopher Atkins · John Beck · Morgan Brittany · Mary Crosby · Jenilee Harrison · Joshua Harris · Omri Katz · Audrey Landers · Jared Martin · Leigh McCloskey · Priscilla Pointer · Jack Scalia · Deborah Shelton · David Wayne · Keenan Wynn|
|Locations||Dallas · Southfork Ranch · Ewing Oil|
|Installments and spin-offs||Dallas Episodes (1978 – 1991) · Knots Landing (1979 – 1993) · Dallas Quest (1984) · Dallas: The Early Years (1986) · Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) · Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998) · Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (2004) ·|
|Key Crew||Philip Capice · Larry Hagman · David Jacobs · Leonard Katzman · Arthur Bernard Lewis · Camille Marchetta · David Paulsen · Lee Rich|