Iowa History Daily: On January 27, 1921, Academy Award winning actress Donna Reed (Donna Belle Mullenger) was born on a farm near Dension. After high school graduation, Reed went on to truly live a wonderful life while starring on the silver screen.
Born the oldest child in a Crawford County farm family, Reed attended the local Methodist church and Denison public schools. Reed played the lead in a school play and was voted ‘Campus Queen’ during her senior year. Hoping to become a teacher but short on funds, the advice of an aunt carried Reed west to attend Los Angeles City College.
While in college, Reed enjoyed performing in several stage productions bud did not plan to make a career of acting. However, when MGM studios came calling after she graduated she signed. Changing her name from Mullenger as anti-German furor gripped America during World War II, a few minor roles continued the newly minted Donna Reed on the path toward success.
Over a career spanning 1941 to 1986, Reed endeared herself to audiences everywhere with many memorable roles. Playing opposite James Stewart as the unforgettable Mary Hatch Bailey in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” brought incredible fame, while her role in the 1953 film “From Here to Eternity” netted her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar