Born 1923 in Long Beach, California, American actress Mari Blanchard was a polio victim at age nine. Blanchard’s health eventually improved enough that she ran away from home and joined a circus in her teens. She then attended the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara State College.
In the late 1940s, Blanchard became a successful print model and film extra; however, after a producer saw her in an advertisement for bubble bath, she began to have some limited success as an actress on the “big screen.”
In 1952, Blanchard was signed by Universal-International. Her first film at Universal was Back at the Front, followed by the 1953 romantic adventure The Veils of Bagdad. One of Blanchard’s more memorable film roles, however, was her portrayal of a Venusian queen, Allura, in the 1953 comedy Abbott and Costello Go to Mars. She then starred in 1954 in Destry.
Some other films of the 1950s in which Blanchard is featured include Son of Sinbad (1955), The Cruel Tower (1956), Stagecoach to Fury (1956), She Devil (1957), Jungle Heat (1957), No Place to Land (1958), Machete (1958), and Karasu (1959).
Retiring from film work after the release of McLintock! in 1963, Blanchard continued to perform on a few television series until her failing health finally forced her to end her career in 1968 after playing the part of Madame Gamar on the series It Takes a Thief.
Blanchard died in Woodland Hills, California in 1970, aged 47.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of Mari Blanchard in the 1950s.