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Mari Blanchard (born Mary E. Blanchard, April 13, 1923 – May 10, 1970) was an American film and television actress, known foremost for her roles as a B movie femme fatale in American productions of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Mari Blanchard
Actress Mari Blanchard on Rawhide 1959.jpg
Blanchard on the CBS television series Rawhide, 1959.
Born(1923-04-13)April 13, 1923
DiedMay 10, 1970(1970-05-10) (aged 47)
OccupationActress
Years active1947–1968
Spouse(s)Reese Hale Taylor, Jr. (1960-1961) (divorced)
George Shepard (1965-1966) (divorced)
Vincent J. Conti (1967-1970) (her death)[1]

Early life and careerEdit

Although some reference sources cite Mari Blanchard's birth year as 1927 or 1932, she was actually born on April 13, 1923, in Long Beach, California.[2] A polio victim at age nine,[3] Blanchard's health eventually improved enough that she ran away from home and joined a circus in her teens. She then attended the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara State College.[4]

In the late 1940s, Blanchard became a successful print model and film extra; however, after a producer saw her in an advertisement for bubble bath, she began to have some limited success as an actress on the "big screen." From 1950 to 1951, she took small roles in a number of films at MGM, RKO, and Paramount, until she was signed by Universal-International in 1952. Her first film at Universal was Back at the Front, followed by the 1953 romantic adventure The Veils of Bagdad in which she co-starred with Victor Mature.[5]

One of Blanchard's more memorable film roles, however, was her portrayal of a Venusian queen, Allura, in the 1953 comedy Abbott and Costello Go to Mars.[6] She then starred in 1954 in Destry, a Western with Audie Murphy, reprising a character whom Marlene Dietrich had played in the story's original 1939 version, Destry Rides Again, but changing the character's name from "Frenchy" to "Brandy." Some other films of the 1950s in which she is featured include Son of Sinbad (1955), The Cruel Tower (1956), Stagecoach to Fury (1956), She Devil (1957, Jungle Heat (1957), No Place to Land (1958), Machete (1958), and Karasu (1959). Following her work on these films, Blanchard began to focus increasingly on performing on television, although she did appear in a few other films in the 1960s, including a small but flamboyant role as Camille in McLintock! (1963), directed by Andrew MacLaglen and starring John Wayne.[7]

On television, in 1955, Blanchard appeared in "Escape From Fear", an episode of the series Climax!. In 1959 she co-starred with Cesar Romero on the series Rawhide in "Incident of the Stalking Death"[8] During the 1960-1961 television season, Blanchard appeared again on another popular Western, the NBC series Klondike, co-starring in the role of Kathy O'Hara with Ralph Taeger, James Coburn, and Joi Lansing. In 1962, she then guest-starred as murder victim Irene Chase in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Melancholy Marksman." In 1961, she played Countess Van Hohenstein in season 3, episode 39, "The Positive Negative", of 77 Sunset Strip.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Blanchard was married three times: to lawyer Reese Hale Taylor, Jr. (1960-1961); George Shepard (1965-1966); and to photographer Vincent J. Conti (1967-1970).

Retiring from film work after the release of McLintock! in 1963, Blanchard continued to perform on a few television series until her failing health finally forced her to end her career. Her last credited performance was in 1968, playing the part of Madame Gamar on the series It Takes a Thief. Diagnosed with cancer in 1963, she struggled with the disease in those final performances and during her remaining years.[2] On May 10, 1970, she died in Woodland Hills, California; and in accordance with her wishes, her remains were cremated and scattered at sea.

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1947 Copacabana Copa Girl Uncredited
1950 Mr. Music Chorine Uncredited
1951 On the Riviera Eugenie Uncredited
1951 No Questions Asked Natalie
1951 Bannerline Eloise Uncredited
1951 Ten Tall Men Marie DeLatour
1951 The Unknown Man Sally Tever
1951 Overland Telegraph Stella
1952 Something to Live For Hat Check Girl Uncredited
1952 The Brigand Dona Dolores Castro
1952 Assignment – Paris! Wanda Marlowe (scenes deleted)
1952 Back at the Front Nina - Johnny Redondo's Accomplice
1953 Abbott and Costello Go to Mars Queen Allura
1953 The Veils of Bagdad Selima
1954 Rails Into Laramie Lou Carter
1954 Black Horse Canyon Aldis Spain
1954 Destry Brandy
1955 Son of Sinbad Kristina
1955 The Return of Jack Slade Texas Rose
1955 The Crooked Web Joanie Daniel
1956 The Cruel Tower Mary 'The Babe' Thompson
1956 Canasta de cuentos mexicanos Gladys Winthrop (segment "Canasta")
1956 Stagecoach to Fury Barbara Duval
1957 She Devil Kyra Zelas
1957 Jungle Heat Ann McRae
1958 No Place to Land Iris Lee LaVonne
1958 Machete Jean Montoya
1958 Karasu
1962 Don't Knock the Twist Dulcie Corbin
1963 Twice Told Tales Sylvia Ward
1963 McLintock! Camille Reedbottom

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Mari Blanchard - The Private Life and Times of Mari Blanchard. Mari Blanchard Pictures". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Brian J. (2017). "mari blanchard (1923-1970)", Brian's Drive-In Theater, biographical profile of Blanchard and numerous stills from her various films; updated March 14, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Five Starlets Model In March of Dimes". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. Associated Press. January 30, 1947. p. 4. Retrieved September 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ Thomas, Bob (August 27, 1951). "Conquers Polio, Becomes Star". The Hutchinson News. Kansas, Hutchinson. Associated Press. p. 1. Retrieved September 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ The Veils of Bagdad, American Film Institute (AFI) catalog; plot summary, production details, and cast and crew. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  6. ^ Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, AFI catalog. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  7. ^ McLintock! AFI catalog. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  8. ^ "Incident of the Stalking Death", Rawhide episode S02E09, originally broadcast November 13, 1959. Full episode currently available on YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  9. ^ from credits of the same first aired 6/09/1961

External linksEdit