Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Centennial Tribute to Donna Reed

Today marks the centennial of the birth of actress Donna Reed.

Reed was born 100 years ago today, on January 27, 1921, in Denison, Iowa.  Iowa's governor, Kim Reynolds, proclaimed today "Donna Reed Day."

Reed, whose long career included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) and starring in the long-running THE DONNA REED SHOW (1958-66), continues to be celebrated in other ways in her hometown. There is a Donna Reed Center and Heritage Museum and Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Reed's wholesome looks and personality made her a favorite of GI's in World War II. One of the nicest stories about Reed was that she corresponded with some of the soldiers; after her passing her children found a shoebox she'd saved for decades containing over 340 letters she'd saved from G.I.'s.

A gallery of Reed photos, starting with THE HUMAN COMEDY (1943):

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery:

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) with James Stewart:


FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) with Montgomery Clift:

Donna Reed passed away in Beverly Hills on January 14, 1986, just a couple of weeks before her 65th birthday. She is buried at Westwood Memorial Park.

A biography of Donna Reed is available, IN SEARCH OF DONNA REED by Jay Fultz.

Reviews of Donna Reed films at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: CALLING DR. GILLESPIE (1942), EYES IN THE NIGHT (1942), MOKEY (1942), GENTLE ANNIE (1944), THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945), THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) (also here), CHICAGO DEADLINE (1949), BACKLASH (1956), and THE WHOLE TRUTH (1958).

Additional notable films starring Donna Reed not already mentioned above include SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN (1941), THE COURTSHIP OF ANDY HARDY (1942), SEE HERE, PRIVATE HARGROVE (1944), BEYOND GLORY (1948), SCANDAL SHEET (1952), TROUBLE ALONG THE WAY (1953) (below, with John Wayne and Sherry Jackson), THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (1954), and RANSOM! (1956).

I particularly want to mention Donna Reed's additional work in a genre near to my heart, Westerns: APACHE TRAIL (1942), HANGMAN'S KNOT (1952), GUN FURY (1953) (below, with Rock Hudson), THREE HOURS TO KILL (1954), THEY RODE WEST (1954), and THE FAR HORIZONS (1955).


Blogger barrylane said...

She was wonderful, looking and in front of the camera.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Seth said...

Thanks for the link to the article about Gov. Reynolds' proclamation. I asked my parents and brother, who all still live in Iowa, how they celebrated! :)

I've visited both the Glenn Miller Birthplace and the John Wayne Birthplace (twice), but I still need to get to the Donna Reed Center (not to mention Music Man Square) on a future trip to Iowa.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Hamlette (Rachel) said...

What a lovely tribute! I've only seen a handful of her films, but I've always liked her a great deal.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts on Donna Reed. I'm so glad that her work continues to be appreciated today, including by all of you. I'm happy the tribute was enjoyed!

Seth, I clearly need to visit Iowa as all of the places you mention would be of great interest to me to visit!

Best wishes,

6:16 PM  

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