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Born Burnu Acquanetta or Mildred Davenport
(1921-07-17)July 17, 1921
Cheyenne, Wyoming, US
Died August 16, 2004(2004-08-16) (aged 83)
Ahwatukee, Arizona, US
Occupation Actress
Years active 1942–1953
Spouse(s) Jack Ross

Acquanetta (July 17, 1921 – August 16, 2004), nicknamed "The Venezuelan Volcano," was a B-movie actress known for her exotic beauty.

Early years[edit]

Although accounts differ (some giving her birth-name as Mildred Davenport),[1][2] Acquanetta claimed she was born Burnu Acquanetta in Ozone, Wyoming. Orphaned from her Arapaho parents when she was two, she lived briefly with another family before being taken in by an artistic couple with whom she remained until she made the choice to live independently at the age of fifteen.[3]


Acquanetta started her career as a model in New York City with Harry Conover. She signed with Universal Studios in 1942 and acted mostly in B-movies, including Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, Arabian Nights, The Sword of Monte Cristo, and Captive Wild Woman,[4] in which Universal attempted to create a female monster movie franchise with Acquanetta as an ape. She retired from movies in the 1950s after marrying Jack Ross, a car dealer. They settled in Mesa, Arizona, and she returned to a degree of celebrity by appearing with Ross in his local television advertisements,[4] and also by hosting a local television show called Acqua's Corner that accompanied the Friday late-night movies. She and Ross had four children, and divorced in the 1980s.

Acquanetta also wrote a book of poetry, The Audible Silence, illustrated by Emilie Touraine (Flagstaff, Arizona): Northland Press, 1974. In 1987, the all-girl band The Aquanettas adopted (and adapted) their name from hers.

Personal life[edit]

Acquanetta succumbed to complications of Alzheimer's disease on August 16, 2004, at Hawthorn Court in Ahwatukee, Arizona. She was 83.[5]


Year Film Role Notes
1942 Arabian Nights Ishya (uncredited)
1943 Rhythm of the Islands Luani as Burnu Acquanetta
Captive Wild Woman Paula Dupree – the Ape Woman
1944 Jungle Woman Paula Dupree – the Ape Woman
Dead Man's Eyes Tanya Czoraki
1946 Tarzan and the Leopard Woman Lea, the High Priestess
1951 The Sword of Monte Cristo Felice
Lost Continent Native Girl
Callaway Went Thataway Native Girl with Smoky (uncredited)
1953 Take the High Ground! Bar Girl (uncredited)
1990 The Legend of Grizzly Adams


  1. ^ "Acqua Blues". Phoenix New Times. September 2, 2004. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Hollywood Jungle Girl - The Actress Aquanetta". Jet Magazine. February 14, 1952. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Billed As Venezuela Beauty,' Indian Girl Hoaxed Filmdom". The Milwaukee Journal. July 20, 1942. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Acquanetta, Movie Actress". Beaver Country Times. August 18, 2004. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Acquanetta, 83, A Star of B Movies". The New York Times. August 23, 2004. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 

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