|Playboy centerfold appearance|
|Preceded by||Teri Hope|
|Succeeded by||Joan Staley|
|Born||Marilyn Joan Watts|
January 3, 1930
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
The Giant Claw
The Man from Bitter Ridge
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. 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.
One of Corday's first professional jobs was as a dancer in the Earl Carroll Revue in Hollywood. Accompanied by her mother, Corday auditioned when she was 15 years old. During the 2½ years that she was in the show, she advanced "from showgirl to actress in the sketches". 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 Corday was working as an usher at the Mayan Theater; the name Corday was lifted from a bottle of perfume.
Corday signed with Universal-International Pictures (UI) as a contract player, where she was given small roles in various B-movies and television series. In 1954, while on the set of Playgirl, she met actor and future husband Richard Long.
Her acting roles were small until 1955, when she was cast opposite John Agar and Leo G. Carroll in the successful science-fiction film Tarantula, which has Clint Eastwood in a very brief role as a jet fighter pilot. She had two other co-starring roles in the genre, The Black Scorpion and The Giant Claw (both 1957), as well as in a number of Western films, including 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 old friend Eastwood offered her a chance to return to films with a role in his 1977 film The Gauntlet. She also had a brief but significant role in Sudden Impact (1983), where she played the waitress who dumped sugar into the coffee of Det. Harry Callahan in that film's iconic "Go ahead, make my day" sequence. She acted with Eastwood again in his 1989 film Pink Cadillac, as well as in her last film, 1990's The Rookie.
In 1956, Corday had a recurring role in the ABC television series Combat Sergeant. From 1959 to early 1961, Corday worked exclusively doing guest spots on various television series, such as Peter Gunn in the episode, “Keep Smiling”. She also guest starred with Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead or Alive in April 1960.
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 had three children with Long during their 17-year marriage: Valerie, Carey, and Gregory. Corday has also been a lifelong friend of actor Clint Eastwood, whom she met while working for Universal Pictures.
- Two Tickets to Broadway (1951) - Showgirl / Passerby on Sidewalk (uncredited)
- Sea Tiger (1952) - Lola, Hotel Proprietress
- Son of Ali Baba (1952) - Girl on Balcony (uncredited)
- Toughest Man in Arizona (1952) - Bit Role (uncredited)
- The Lady Wants Mink (1953) - Model
- Problem Girls (1953) - Dorothy Childers
- Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) - Locopo Woman (uncredited)
- Sweethearts on Parade (1953) - Belle
- Money from Home (1953) - Waitress (uncredited)
- Yankee Pasha (1954) - Harem Girl (uncredited)
- Playgirl (1954) - Pam
- Drums Across the River (1954) - Sue
- Francis Joins the WACS (1954) - Kate
- Dawn at Socorro (1954) - Letty Diamond
- So This Is Paris (1954) - Yvonne
- Man Without a Star (1955) - Moccasin Mary
- The Man from Bitter Ridge (1955) - Holly Kenton
- Tarantula (1955) - Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton
- Foxfire (1955) - Maria - Hugh Slater's Nurse
- Raw Edge (1956) - Paca
- A Day of Fury (1956) - Sharman Fulton
- Naked Gun (1956) - Louisa Jackson / Morales
- The Quiet Gun (1957) - Irene
- The Giant Claw (1957) - Sally Caldwell
- Undersea Girl (1957) - Valerie Hudson
- The Black Scorpion (1957) - Teresa Alvarez
- Girls on the Loose (1958) - Vera Parkinson
- The Restless Gun (1959) Episode "Shadow of a Gunfighter"
- The Gauntlet (1977) - Jail Matron
- Sudden Impact (1983) - Loretta - Coffee Shop Waitress
- Pink Cadillac (1989) - Stick Lady
- The Rookie (1990) - Interrogator #2 (final film role)
- Weaver, Tom (April 2017). "The Sci-Fi Stalwarts: Mara Corday". Classic Images (502): 73.
- Henniger, Paul (February 1, 1976). "Undaunted, Mara Corday returns to TV". The Journal News. Ohio, Hamilton. The Journal News. p. 25. Retrieved March 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Thomas, Bob (October 6, 1954). "Dreams Help Mara Corday Make Decisions on Career". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. p. 25. Retrieved March 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Weaver, Tom (2004). It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the Sf and Horror Tradition. McFarland & Company. p. 67. ISBN 9780786420698.
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- 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.
- Petersen, James R. (2005). Playboy Redheads. Chronicle Books. p. 16. ISBN 978-0811848589.
- Terrace, Vincent (2009). Encyclopedia of television shows, 1925 through 2007. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 9780786433056. Retrieved May 12, 2012.