Donna Reed was born Donnabelle Mullenger in Denison, Iowa, on January
27, 1921. At age 16,
she left Denison by train for Los Angeles to complete her formal education
and to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Her dream became a reality
as she captivated the country with her sensitive portrayals in films like
the great American classic It's a Wonderful Life and From Here
to Eternity for which she won the coveted Academy Award® for Best
Donna is perhaps best remembered for her work on her own television
series, The Donna Reed Show, which aired from 1958 through 1966.
She played the role of an honest, humorous, and nurturing mother much like
her real self. Behind the cameras, she was the uncredited producer and
director of the show, studying and mastering both lighting and cinematography--roles
rarely handled by women of that time. She also raised four children and
was the co-founder of Another Mother for Peace.
Notwithstanding the fame and fortune she found in Hollywood, Donna never
forgot her hometown of Denison. She was proud of being an Iowa farm girl.
She returned to Denison often throughout her career. Following her death
in 1986, her Oscar® was left to the City of Denison to be displayed
at the historic McHenry House. Family, friends, and communities turned
out to honor her and from that gathering the Donna Reed Foundation for
the Performing Arts was born. It has continued ever since to perpetuate
her legacy of helping other young artists and developing a cultural heritage
Here is a brief listing of her awards, films,
and television work.