Mara Corday

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Mara Corday
Playboy centerfold appearance
October 1958
Preceded byTeri Hope
Succeeded byJoan Staley
Personal details
BornMarilyn Joan Watts
(1930-01-03) January 3, 1930 (age 88)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
MeasurementsBust: 35 in (89 cm)
Waist: 24 in (61 cm)
Hips: 35 in (89 cm)
Height5 ft 5 in (165 cm)
Weight118 lb (54 kg)

Official website

Mara Corday (born Marilyn Joan Watts; January 3, 1930) is a showgirl, model, actress, Playboy Playmate and 1950s cult figure.

Early life[edit]

Corday was born in Santa Monica, California. Wanting a career in films, she came to Hollywood while still in her teens and found work as a showgirl at the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard.[1] Her physical beauty brought jobs as a photographer's model that led to a bit part as a showgirl in the 1951 film Two Tickets to Broadway.

Dancing[edit]

One of Corday's first professional jobs was being a dancer in Earl Carroll's Vanities.[2] Accompanied by her mother, Corday auditioned when she was 15 years old. During the two and a half years that she was in the show, she advanced "from showgirl to actress in the sketches."[3] This was also when she adopted the stage name Mara Corday, because it made her seem more exotic. The name Mara came from a bongo player who called her Marita when she was working as an usher at the Mayan Theater, while Corday was lifted from a perfume bottle.[4]

Film[edit]

Corday signed on as a Universal International Pictures (UI) contract player. With UI, Corday was given small roles in various B-movies and television series. In 1954 on the set of Playgirl she met actor Richard Long.[5]

Her roles were small until 1955 when she was cast opposite John Agar and Leo G. Carroll in Tarantula,[6][7] a science-fiction film that proved successful (with Clint Eastwood in a brief role). She had two other co-starring roles in that genre with The Black Scorpion and The Giant Claw (both 1957), as well as in a number of Western films such as Man Without a Star and Raw Edge. Film critic Leonard Maltin said Corday had "more acting ability than she was permitted to exhibit."

A few years after her husband's death in 1974, Corday's friend Eastwood offered her a chance to return to filmmaking with a role in his 1977 film The Gauntlet. She had a brief-but-significant role in Sudden Impact (1983), where she played the waitress dumping sugar into Harry Callahan's coffee in that movie's iconic "Go ahead, make my day" sequence.[8] And she acted with Eastwood again in Pink Cadillac (1989) as well as in her last film, 1990's The Rookie.

Modeling[edit]

Corday appeared as a pinup girl in numerous men's magazines during the 1950s and was the Playmate of the October 1958 issue of Playboy, along with famous model and showgirl Pat Sheehan.[9][10][11]

Television[edit]

In 1956, Corday had a recurring role in the ABC television series Combat Sergeant.[12] From 1959 to early 1961, Corday worked exclusively doing guest spots on various television series.

Personal life[edit]

Following the 1955 death of Suzan Ball, the first wife of actor Richard Long, Corday began dating Long, and they married in 1957. Through Long's sister Barbara, Corday was a sister-in-law of actor Marshall Thompson. In the early 1960s, Corday gave up her career to devote herself to raising a family. Widowed in 1974, she and Long had three children during their 17-year marriage: Valerie, Carey, and Gregory.[2] Corday has also been a lifelong friend of actor Clint Eastwood, whom she met while working for Universal Pictures.[8]

Partial filmography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weaver, Tom (April 2017). "The Sci-Fi Stalwarts: Mara Corday". Classic Images (502): 73.
  2. ^ a b Henniger, Paul (February 1, 1976). "Undaunted, Mara Corday returns to TV". Ohio, Hamilton. The Journal News. p. 25. Retrieved March 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Thomas, Bob (October 6, 1954). "Dreams Help Mara Corday Make Decisions on Career". Texas, Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. p. 25. Retrieved March 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Weaver, Tom (2004). It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the Sf and Horror Tradition. McFarland & Company. p. 67. ISBN 9780786420698.
  5. ^ Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004-07-31). Westerns Women: Interviews With 50 Leading Ladies Of Movie And Television Westerns From The 1930s To The 1960s. McFarland & Company. pp. 62–. ISBN 9780786420285. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom; Brunas, John; Brunas, Michael (2006-09-30). Interviews With B Science Fiction And Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup. McFarland. pp. 2–. ISBN 9780786428588. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  7. ^ Williams, Tony (November 1985). "Female Oppression in "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" (L'oppression des femmes dans "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman")". Science Fiction Studies. 12 (3): 264–273. JSTOR 4239701.
  8. ^ a b O'Brien, Daniel (1996-08-08). Clint Eastwood: film-maker. B.T. Batsford. p. 153. ISBN 9780713478396. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  9. ^ Connors, Martin; Craddock, James, eds. (1996). VideoHound's golden movie retriever. Visible Ink Press. p. cxcviii. ISBN 978-0787607807.
  10. ^ Lisanti, Tom (2001). Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies. McFarland & Company. p. 12. ISBN 978-0786408689.
  11. ^ Petersen, James R. (2005). Playboy Redheads. Chronicle Books. p. 16. ISBN 978-0811848589.
  12. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2009). Encyclopedia of television shows, 1925 through 2007. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 9780786433056. Retrieved 12 May 2012.

External links[edit]