Born 1921 in Denison, Iowa, American film, television actress and producer Donna Reed had her career spanned more than 40 years, with performances in more than 40 films. She is well known for her role as Mary Hatch Bailey in Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life.
In 1953, Reed received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Lorene Burke in the war drama From Here to Eternity.
Reed is known for her work in television, notably as Donna Stone, a middle-class American mother and housewife in the sitcom The Donna Reed Show (1958–66), in which her character was more assertive than most other television mothers of the era. She received numerous Emmy Award nominations for this role and the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star in 1963.
Later in her career, Reed replaced Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow in the 1984–85 season of the television melodrama Dallas; she sued the production company for breach of contract when she was abruptly fired upon Bel Geddes’ decision to return to the show.
Reed died of pancreatic cancer in Beverly Hills, California in 1986, 13 days shy of her 65th birthday. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of young Donna Reed in the 1940s and 1950s.