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The Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show

Another popular 1950's sitcom about a close family. The Stones consist of loving homemaker Donna, her pediatrician husband Alex, and their children Mary and Jeff. Many situations arise like when they found a baby on their doorstep or take in a rebellious youth or when Donna tries to patch up marital spats among friends.

The Donna Reed Show

Donna Reed

Born: Donnabelle Mullenger January 27, 1921(1921-01-27) Denison, Iowa USA

Died: January 14, 1986 (aged 64)Beverly Hills, California

Occupation: actress

Years active: 1941 - 1985

Spouse(s) William Tuttle (1943-1945) Tony Owen (1945-1971) Grover Asmus (1974-1986)

Awards won

Academy Awards

Best Supporting Actress 1953 From Here to Eternity

Golden Globe Awards

Best TV Star - Female 1962 The Donna Reed Show Donna Reed (January 27, 1921 - January 14, 1986) was an Academy Award-winning American actress.


The Donna Reed Show


Personal life

Reed was born Donnabelle Mullenger on a farm near Denison, Iowa. Denison Iowa now hosts the Donna Reed Festival every year. The trees that Reed's father planted still stand and the route to their home, southeast of Denison, is named Donna Reed Drive. This route is now paved to the north corner of the old Mullenger farm. Reed was the daughter of Hazel Jane (née Shives) and William Richard Mullenger. She was the eldest of five children. and was reared as a Methodist. Reed was the mother of four children with husband, producer Tony Owen (1907-1984), two of whom the couple adopted at The Cradle in Evanston, Illinois. She and Owen divorced in 1972, and four years later, Reed married retired U. S. Army Colonel Grover W. Asmus (1926-2003).

She was committed to both motherhood and gender equality. In 1967, in opposition to the Vietnam War, she co-founded the interest group, Another Mother for Peace.

Reed attended Denison High School and graduated in the top ten of a class of eighty-five. After high school, in 1938, she left for Los Angeles to live with her Aunt Mildred. Reed was ecstatic to discover that for five dollars a semester she could enroll in radio and secretarial courses at Los Angeles City College.

Career Reed in It's a Wonderful LifeReed is probably best remembered for her roles as the wholesome housewife Donna Stone on television's The Donna Reed Show and as Mary Bailey in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). However, early in her career, she posed topless for a series of cheesecake glamour photographs and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a prostitute in From Here to Eternity (1953). In later years Reed sometimes complained that she was denied more challenging roles similar to her Oscar-winning part in From Here to Eternity.

In her later years she temporarily replaced Barbara Bel Geddes who had decided to step down from her role as "Miss Ellie" in the television series Dallas in the 1984-85 season. When Bel Geddes agreed to return to the role for the 1985-86 season, Reed was fired. She sued the show's production company for breach of contract and received an undisclosed seven-figure settlement shortly before her death from cancer. During a 2007 TV special, "Bring Back...Dallas", on the UK's Channel 4 it was revealed that Larry Hagman got Bel Geddes back, an action which left Reed jobless.


Reed died at the age of sixty-four in Beverly Hills, California from pancreatic cancer and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Reed was survived by her four children; Mary Owen, Timothy Owen, Penny Owen Stigers, and Tony Owen Jr.

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts, based in Reed's hometown of Denison, was organized after Reed's death in 1987 by her husband, Grover Asmus, actresses Shelley Fabares and Norma Connolly, and numerous friends, associates, and family members. The non-profit organization grants scholarships for performing arts students, runs an annual festival of performing arts workshops, and operates "The Donna Reed Center for the Performing Arts". Some of the workshops offered include theater performance, children's musical theater, methods of theater arts coaching, private coaching, and writing for screen and stage. The performing arts center was formerly an opera house built in 1914, and later renovated into the Ritz Movie Theater where the young Reed first fell in love with movies.


Year/Title/Role/Other notes

1941 The Get-Away Maria Theresa 'Terry' O'Reilly Alternative title: The Getaway Shadow of the Thin Man Molly Babes on Broadway Jonesy's Secretary Uncredited

1942 Personalities Uncredited The Bugle Sounds Sally Hanson The Courtship of Andy Hardy Melodie Eunice Nesbit Mokey Anthea Delano Calling Dr. Gillespie Marcia Bradburn Apache Trail Rosalia Martinez Eyes in the Night Barbara Lawry

1943 The Human Comedy Bess Macauley Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case Marcia Bradburn Alternative title: Crazy to Kill The Man from Down Under Mary Wilson Thousands Cheer Customer in Red Skelton Skit

1944 See Here, Private Hargrove Carol Holliday Gentle Annie Mary Lingen

1945 The Picture of Dorian Gray Gladys Hallward They Were Expendable Lt. Sandy Davyss

1946 Faithful in My Fashion Jean Kendrick It's a Wonderful Life Mary Hatch Bailey Alternative title: Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life

1947 Green Dolphin Street Marguerite Patourel

1948 Beyond Glory Ann Daniels

1949 Chicago Deadline Rosita Jean D'Ur

1951 Saturday's Hero Melissa Alternative title: Idols in the Dust

1952 Scandal Sheet Julie Allison Alternative title: The Dark Page

Hangman's Knot Molly Hull

1953 Trouble Along the Way Alice Singleton Alternative title: Alma Mater

Raiders of the Seven Seas Alida

From Here to Eternity Alma "Lorene" Burke Won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

The Caddy Kathy Taylor

Gun Fury Jennifer Ballard

1954 They Rode West Laurie MacKaye

Three Hours to Kill Laurie Mastin

The Last Time I Saw Paris Marion Ellswirth/Matine

The Ford Television Theatre Lydia Campbell TV, 1 episode

1955 The Far Horizons Sacajawea Alternative title: The Untamed West

Tales of Hans Anderson TV, 1 episode

The Benny Goodman Story Alice Hammond

1956 Ransom! Edith Stannard Alternative title: Fearful Decision

Backlash Karyl Orton

Beyond Mombasa Ann Wilson

1957 General Electric Theater Rayna TV, 1 episode

Suspicion Letty Jason TV, 1 episode

1958 The Whole Truth Carol Poulton

1958-1966 The Donna Reed Show Donna Stone TV, 275 episodes, Won Best TV Star Golden Globe, Nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Series Emmy (1959-1962)

1974 Yellow-Headed Summer

1979 The Best Place to Be Sheila Callahan Television movie

1983 Deadly Lessons Miss Wade Television movie

1984 The Love Boat TV, 2 episodes

1984-1986 Dallas Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing TV, 24 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Film or series Result

1954 Academy Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role From Here to Eternity Won

1963 Golden Globe Award Best TV Star - Female The Donna Reed Show Won

1964 Golden Apple Award Most Cooperative Actress - Won

1959 Emmy Award Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series The Donna Reed Show Nominated

1960 Emmy Award Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead or Support) The Donna Reed Show Nominated

1961 Emmy Award Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead) The Donna Reed Show Nominated

1962 Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead) The Donna Reed Show Nominated

2004 TV Land Awards The Most Irreplaceable Replacement Dallas Nominated

2006 TV Land Awards The Most Irreplaceable Replacement Dallas Nominated

The Donna Reed Show

Genre: Sitcom

Starring: Donna Reed, Carl Betz, Shelley Fabares (she does a great job on Coach -- a more recent sitcom), Paul Petersen Patty Petersen, Bob Crane, Jimmy Hawkins Opening theme: "Happy Days"

Country of origin: United States

Language(s): English

No. of seasons: 8 No. of episodes: 275 Production

Producer(s): Tony Owen, Bill Robert

Running time: 30 min.


Original channel: ABC

Original run: September 24, 1958 – March 19, 1966

The Donna Reed Show is an American sitcom which aired on ABC from 1958 to 1966. It starred Donna Reed as Donna Stone, a housewife to pediatrician Alex Stone, played by Carl Betz. The couple had two children together, Mary and Jeff. Another series regular (from 1963-1965) was future Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane. For many years its main sponsor was the Campbell Soup Company with Johnson & Johnson as the principal alternate sponsor.


The show was a situation comedy, focusing on parenting problems and the love lives and activities of the children, distinctive in that Donna was deeply involved in the lives of the kids, helping them solve their problems while Dr. Alex had to see patients (a stark and refreshing contrast to Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy). The show was also unique in that Donna frequently worked as a nurse, at a time when most TV mothers were housewives.

Former "Mouseketeer" Paul Petersen portrayed the son Jeff. The character of Mary, played by Shelley Fabares, became very popular on Top 40 radio thanks to a single she recorded in 1962 called "Johnny Angel." It sold over a million copies, and Fabares left the show in 1963 to pursue other acting and singing opportunities. In the series, Mary Stone left to attend college away from home, while Petersen's real-life sister Patty Petersen joined the cast as Trisha. (Petersen had his own recording career, his biggest hit being the 1963 single "My Dad", for Colpix Records.)

Other actors had secondary roles on the series over the years, including Jimmy Hawkins as Mary Stone's persistent boyfriend Scotty and Bob Crane, who played a neighbor.

Syndication and DVD release

Reruns aired on Nick at Nite from 1985 through 1994 and on TV Land in 2002.

For a limited time in 2004, General Mills offered a DVD of two episodes inside boxes of Total and Oatmeal Crisp.[1]

In June 2008, Arts Alliance America announced a DVD set of the show's first season is scheduled for released on October 28, 2008.


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