Burgin, Kentucky, USA
Place of Death
Calabasas, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Profile Bio Text
Marie McDonald became one of the most popular pin-up girls of the 1940`s. She had a promising career but it was overshadowed by her numerous personal problems. Marie was born on July 6, 1923, in Burgin, Kentucky. Her real name was Cora Marie Frye. She attended grammar school in the small town of Hazard. When she was six years old her parents divorced. Marie`s mother took her to New York City where they lived with Marie`s grandparents. In 1935 her mother married a nightclub owner. Marie wanted to become a journalist but her mother encouraged her to go into show business. She dropped out of Roosevelt high school and turned down a scholarship to college. Marie signed with the prestigious John Robert Powers modeling agency. She won numerous beauty titles and competed in the Miss America pageant. Her overprotective mother traveled with her everywhere to make sure she didn`t get into trouble. Marie appeared on Broadway in George White`s Scandals Of 1939 and Earl Carroll`s Vanities. In 1940 she eloped with actor Richard Allord. She walked out on him a three weeks later when she discovered he gave her a fake diamond ring. Marie later had the marriage annulled. She started a relationship with Sir Charles Frederick Bernard, a theatrical entrepreneur. He paid for her to get the space between her two front teeth fixed. Marie moved to Hollywood in 1940 and found a job dancing at The Florentine Gardens. She decided to return to New York City but a chance encounter with bandleader Tommy Dorsey changed her plans. Tommy heard Marie singing and hired her to perform on his radio show. A job singing with the Charlie Barnett orchestra brought Marie back to New York City in 1941. To make extra money she worked as a cigarette girl at the Central Club. A talent scout saw her at the club and offered her a contract at Universal. Marie was given small roles in films like It Started With Eve and Pardon My Sarong. She had a serious romance with actor Bruce Cabot and the press reported that they were engaged. After being dropped by Universal she hired agent Vic Orsatti.
He helped her get a contract with Paramount in July 1942. Marie`s career really took off when she dyed her hair platinum blonde. She costarred with Paulette Goddard in I Love A Soldier and with Alan Ladd in Lucky Jordan. Marie dumped Bruce and started dating Vic. They eloped on January 10, 1943 in Reno, Nevada. When Paramount did not renew her contract she signed with producer Hunt Stromberg. He gave her a role in the 1944 drama Guest In The House. Although Marie`s part was small her performance earned rave reviews. The following year she was given her first leading role in the comedy Getting Gertie`s Garter. Marie was nicknamed "The Body" and posed for countless cheesecake pictures. She became one of the most popular pin-ups during World War 2. Marie divorced Vic in 1946 but he continued to ber her agent. She had short-lived romances with Cuban millionaire Jose Noval and mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. Unhappy with the roles she was getting Marie sued Hunt Stromberg. She claimed he stole money from her and failed to promote her career. Marie signed a lucrative contract with MGM in October 1946. She was cast opposite Gene Kelly in the musical Living In A Big Way. The movie was a critical and commercial flop. MGM blamed Marie for it`s failure and she bought out her contract. She began dating Harry Karl, a wealthy shoe tycoon. The couple was married on September 19, 1947. Marie tried to change her image by going back to her natural brown hair color but her career stalled. She could only get supporting roles in low budget movies like Tell It To The Judge and Once A Thief. Marie appeared on several television shows and starred in a Los Angeles stage production of Born Yesterday. She suffered from many health problems including ulcers and frequent fainting spells. Harry spent more than one million dollars trying to cure her. Marie desperately wanted to be a mother but she had six miscarriages. In early 1950 she convinced Harry to adopt a daughter they named Denise Susan. A few months later they adopted a son named Randolph Harrison.
Marie got pregnant in 1952 but sadly when she was six months pregnant the baby was stillborn. By this time she was struggling with a serious addiction to prescription drugs. On June 21, 1954 she was arrested for driving while under the influence of sedatives after she crashed into three parked cars. She agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving and was fined $50. Marie and Harry had a rocky marriage and they separated numerous times. They were divorced in November 1954. In court Marie told the judge that she was allergic to her husband. A few months after the divorce they rekindled their relationship and were remarried on June 14, 1955. The following year Marie was thrilled to discover she was pregnant again. During the fifth month of her pregnancy she got into a fight with Harry. He beat her so b
Roosevelt High School
Full Name at Birth
Cora Marie Frye
Has Detailed Data (New)
Ann Miller, Red Skelton, Audrey Totter, Gloria DeHaven, Jerry Mason, Keenan Wynn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr
Tommy Dorsey, Joan Blondell, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby
Marie McDonald (July 6, 1923 – October 21, 1965) was an American singer and actress known as "The Body Beautiful" and later nicknamed "The Body".
Couple Profile Source
Donald F. Taylor (husband)
Couple Profile Source
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