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(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Donna Martell

Real name: Irene De Mario



Donna Martell, initially using a screen name of Donna De Mario, began her Hollywood career around 1947, and her first major role was as the ingenue in APACHE ROSE (Republic, 1947) which starred Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  In addition to APACHE ROSE, Donna's western film credits include: HILLS OF UTAH and TWILIGHT ON THE RIO GRANDE with Gene Autry, TEN WANTED MEN with Randolph Scott, LAST OF THE DESPERADOES with James Craig, and ROBIN HOOD OF MONTEREY with Gilbert Roland (as the Cisco Kid).

Donna was offered a contract at Republic, but opted to sign with Universal.  During the late 1940s - early 1950s, she appeared in a variety of female leads, supporting roles and bits --- she was at Monogram with Johnny Sheffield in a Bomba, the Jungle Boy flick ... with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in a couple of their later comedies ... with western singer/musician Tex Williams at Universal ... at 20th Century Fox as the sister to Jennifer Jones in the big budget LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING (1955) ... and as the female lead in the low budget sci-fi PROJECT MOONBASE (1953).

While many remember Donna for those movie roles, I fondly recall her work in dozens of TV shows of the 1950s through early 1960s period, where she seemed to be one of the more prolific female performers (and durn pretty too).  She did work with Gene Barry in BAT MASTERSON, Jock Mahoney in THE RANGE RIDER, Clint Walker in CHEYENNE, Efrem Zimbalist on 77 SUNSET STRIP ... and lots more.

Donna was married to baseball player Gene Corso.  In later years, she did a variety of TV commercials.  And most recently, Donna has been attending some of the film festivals and conventions.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Donna Martell: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0551550/

There's an interview with Donna by Mike Fitzgerald at Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website: http://www.westernclippings.com/interview/donnamartell_interview.shtml

Rob Word has a variety of videos on YouTube relating to the western film and performers. Here's links to two of those videos with heroine Donna Martell as a guest at the Autry National Center:
Donna talks about her film career and working with Gene Autry and Pat Buttram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL5omMWUz2k
Donna talks about Jock Mahoney and Dick Jones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riVFcj3Faw4




(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)

Above are Donna and Jim Hamby at the Charlotte, NC Western Film Fair, July, 1997.
 

(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)



(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)
 

(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is Donna (billed as Donna De Mario) and Gilbert Roland in a crop from a lobby card from the Cisco Kid adventure ROBIN HOOD OF MONTEREY (Monogram, 1947).



(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)

Above, Donna with Gene Autry in HILLS OF UTAH (Columbia, 1951).




(Courtesy of Donna Martell and Jim Hamby)

Above, Donna during her contract days at Universal-International.  Still from SOUTH OF SANTE FE (U-I, 1949), one of the western musical shorts with Tex Williams (on the far right).  Thx to Les Adams for identifying the three other players on the left - beginning on the left are Forest Matthews, Deuce Spriggens, and Smokey Rogers.

Les also added that Donna did six of the Williams shorts which were released from 1949-1951.  But Universal-International didn't stop there.  They took most of the Williams musical featurettes, pasted two of them together, and sent them back out again as TALES OF THE WEST (No. 1-2-3-4).  Donna is in three of those.



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