Donna Reed didn’t seem like the kind of person that followed so much as led. In her career she was always very opinionated it seems and did her best to follow through with everything she said and tried to do. That level of ethics and determination is still around but it seems to have been drowned out by the drama that continually goes on these days as actors have more issues than even the tabloids can keep up with at times. Those that can recall having seen Reed in her prime no doubt remember her as a great actress and someone that didn’t take a lot of nonsense if she didn’t have to. Her opinions were her own but she also had a way of expressing them that likely upset some people. Whether she let that bother her or not isn’t really known but she did express herself all the same and she was proven to be a stronger person for it.
Here a few things you might not have known about her however.
10. She was a Vietnam War protester.
Reed did not believe in the war but she wasn’t among the violent and sometimes very controversial protesters that are commonly seen in movie and news clips. She didn’t believe that war was good for children or families and did her best to stand her ground and speak against it. Obviously this didn’t hurt her career so badly that she found herself on the streets, but it’s likely that her views weren’t too popular with some people.
9. She was an accomplished softball player in high school.
This has some relevance largely because of her role in It’s A Wonderful Life. During the scene in which she and her costar were seen throwing rocks at a house the director wanted to use a stand-in for her, but Reed was adamant about performing the action herself and made it quite clear that she could hurl a rock just as well as a baseball. No matter what she was a tough and very determined woman.
8. She was fired from a show on her way to Paris for a vacation.
Seeing as how she was hired on for the show Dallas, which was a big deal back in the day, this was supposed to one of her most notable roles. However when the person she was replacing suddenly decided to come back she was dropped without even a hint as to what was going on. When she found out she was primed and ready to sue the producers of the show for breach of contract, but she passed away before the suit could be concluded.
7. She won her Oscar after playing the part of a prostitute.
Donna won her Oscar for this role but it’s ironic since for most of her career she’d been the squeaky-clean actress that had never taken up a role such as this. Back in the day this was still seen as something scandalous despite the fact that it was fiction. Needless to say however some people no doubt swallowed a lot of crow when the role won her the award.
6. She’s given mention in a Rob Zombie song.
The line goes “Thinks that Donna Reed eats dollar bills”. Maybe it’s alluding to her role in From Here to Eternity? It’s hard to know with Zombie unless you’ve been a diehard fan of his for years, but it seemed interesting enough to mention.
5. She had her own show at one point.
The Donna Reed Show featured her as the good wife Donna Stone and explored the family dynamic that was so popular back in that era. It ran from 1958 to 1966 and enjoyed a very big fan base for the time. In fact Donna went on to win a few different awards for this show during its run. Now it’s not even remembered by a lot of people
4. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It kind of makes you wonder just how many actors there really are on the Walk of Fame, and how many are remembered to this date. It takes me back to a saying that I heard in a movie that makes a lot of sense. It goes something like “We die twice in this life, once when the last breath leaves our body, and the last time when someone speaks our name for the last time.”
3. She had plans to be a teacher early on.
Sadly she didn’t have the money to attend school, which is too bad really since she might have made a great educator.
2. Reed wanted to finish her education before going into acting.
At the very least she wanted to finish high school before jumping right into acting since studios were already offering her auditions.
1. There is and has been a Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts.
The foundation is all about commemorating Donna’s legacy and continuing her beliefs when it comes to education and the performing arts.
One downfall of belonging to our generation is that we came just a little too late to enjoy some of the greatest actors in history.
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