Marie McDonald (September 8, 1944 issue of Yank magazine)
|Born||Cora Marie Frye
July 6, 1923
Burgin, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||October 21, 1965
Calabasas, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Richard Allord (m. 1940–40)
Victor M. Orsatti (m. 1943–47)
Harry Karl (m. 1947–54)
Harry Karl (m. 1955–58)
Louis Bass (m. 1959–60)
Edward F. Callahan (m. 1962–63)
Donald F. Taylor (m. 1963–65)
Marie McDonald (July 6, 1923 – October 21, 1965) was an American singer and actress known as "The Body Beautiful" and later nicknamed "The Body".
Born Cora Marie Frye in Burgin, Kentucky, she was the daughter of a Ziegfeld Follies girl. After her parents divorced, she eventually moved with her mother and stepfather to Yonkers, New York. At the age of 15, McDonald began modeling and competed in numerous beauty pageants. At 17, she landed a showgirl role in a 1940 Broadway production at the Earl Carroll Theatre called Earl Carroll's Vanities. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Hollywood hoping to develop a career in show business. She continued to work for the owner of the Broadway theatre as a showgirl at his Sunset Boulevard nightclub.
Marie McDonald's singing voice brought work with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra on his radio show and she later performed with other big bands. In 1942, she was put under contract by Universal Studios and immediately appeared in several minor roles. That year, she appeared in three motion pictures, most notably, Pardon My Sarong, which earned her the nickname "The Body" for her shapely physique. The following year she co-starred in A Scream in the Dark, a "B" detective mystery for Republic Pictures that met with reasonable success. Her next starring role came when she worked for independent producer Edward Small as the title character in the 1945 screwball comedy Getting Gertie's Garter. She co-starred with Gene Kelly in MGM's Living in a Big Way (1947). Despite her talent she would become more known for her publicity than for any of her film roles.
Despite various personal problems, McDonald recorded an LP for RCA Victor in 1957, The Body Sings, backed by Hal Borne and His Orchestra, which consisted of twelve standard ballads. She also toured the world in a very successful nightclub act. Between 1945 and 1950 she appeared in only two films and then again not until 1958 when she was cast as actress Lola Livingston in a slapstick comedy opposite Jerry Lewis in The Geisha Boy. In 1963, she made her last appearance in the film, Promises! Promises!, opposite a naked Jayne Mansfield.
McDonald had married for the first time in 1940 but this marriage quickly ended. Her second marriage, to her agent Victor Orsatti, lasted four years. She was also one of Bugsy Siegel's mistresses at the time. In all, she married seven times, including twice to millionaire Harry Karl, who later married Debbie Reynolds. There were also romances with Eddie Fisher and Michael Wilding, both ex-husbands of Elizabeth Taylor. She suffered multiple miscarriages before adopting two children and giving birth to a daughter, Tina Marie, in 1956. McDonald's tumultuous personal life soon overshadowed her career. Tabloids regularly reported on her rocky romances, car accidents, and an escape from an Australian psychiatric clinic. She also made headlines when, in 1957, she claimed she was kidnapped by two men.
Three months after McDonald's death, in January 1966, her sixth husband, Donald F. Taylor, who was a producer who had occasionally acted under the name Don Taylor, committed suicide. McDonald's three surviving children were raised by Harry Karl and his wife, Debbie Reynolds. Her father (Ed Frye) committed suicide the next day in his back yard by self-inflicted gun shot to the head.
|1941||It Started with Eve||Cigarette girl||Uncredited|
|1942||You're Telling Me||Girl||Uncredited|
|1942||Pardon My Sarong||Ferna|
|1942||Lucky Jordan||Pearl (Secretary)|
|1943||A Scream in the Dark||Joan Allen|
|1943||Riding High||Bit part||Uncredited
Alternative title: Melody Inn
|1943||Caribbean Romance||Alternative title: Musical Parade: Caribbean Romance|
|1944||Standing Room Only||Opal||Uncredited|
|1944||I Love a Soldier||Gracie|
|1944||Our Hearts Were Young and Gay||Blonde||Uncredited|
|1944||Guest in the House||Miriam||Alternative title: Satan in Skirts|
|1945||Getting Gertie's Garter||Gertie|
|1945||It's a Pleasure||Gale Fletcher|
|1947||Living in a Big Way||Margo Morgan|
|1949||Tell It to the Judge||Ginger Simmons|
|1950||Once a Thief||Flo|
|1950||Hit Parade of 1951||Michele|
|1954||The Danny Thomas Show||Episode: "Pittsburgh"|
|1958||The Geisha Boy||Lola Livingston|
|1959||The Red Skelton Show||Lil||Episode: "Clem the Mailman"|
|1963||Promises! Promises!||Claire Banner|
- Lowe, Barry; Van Doren, Mamie (2008). Atomic Blonde: The Films of Mamie Van Doren. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 0-7864-3138-5.
- Ayto, John; Cobham, Ebenezer; Crofton, Ian (2006). Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 96. ISBN 0-304-36809-1.
- "The Private Life and Times of Vic Orsatti". glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- Parish, James Robert; Bowers, Ronald L. (1973). The MGM Stock Company: The Golden Era. Arlington House. p. 607. ISBN 0-7110-0501-X.
- Marie McDonald The Body
- "Milestones". Time. 1965-10-29. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- Harnisch, Larry (2007-08-23). "Fuzzy Pink Nightgown". latimesblogs.latimes.com. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- Hollywood's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Lucky Breaks, Prima Donnas, Box Office Bombs, and Other Oddities. Potomac Books Inc. 2002. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-57488-480-7.
- Willis, John (1966). Screen World, 1966. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 239. ISBN 0-8196-0307-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marie McDonald.|
- Marie McDonald at the Internet Movie Database
- Marie McDonald at the Internet Broadway Database
- Marie McDonald at AllRovi