Donna Martell

Donna Martell (born Irene Palma de Maria, December 24, 1927) is an American former actress in film and television.

Donna Martell
Donna Martell in The Lineup
Born (1927-12-24) December 24, 1927
OccupationFilm actress
Years active1947–1983
Spouse(s)Gene Corso (1953-1996) (his death) (3 children)[1]


Born on December 24, 1927 in Los Angeles, California, to Louis and Margaret de Maria,[2] she began her film career in 1947 when she was cast in the Republic Pictures western Apache Rose, starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. She continued making appearances throughout the late 1940s, signing a contract with Universal Studios.[3]

By the time the 1950s arrived, Martell's career shifted towards television shows such as Cavalcade of America, The Range Rider and Cheyenne.[4]

She was also in Project Moonbase (also known as Project Moon Base), a 1953 black-and-white science-fiction film directed by Richard Talmadge. The film is unusual for its time in both attempting to portray space travel in a "realistic" manner, and for depicting a future in which women hold positions of authority and responsibility equal to men; in the script Martell's character, Briteis (pronounced bright-eyes), is a colonel that has made the first orbital flight around the Earth four years earlier and outranks her fellow male astronaut, who is a major. Colonel Briteis' given name is never stated.

Donna Martell's acting career officially ended in 1963; but made a brief comeback in the 1983 TV movie Grace Kelly, playing the part of Mrs. Edie Austin, a friend of the Kelly family who, along with her husband Russell Austin, was instrumental in advancing the real-life relationship between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco[5][6].


She was presented one of the 2002 Golden Boot Awards for her contributions to western television and cinema.

Personal life

Donna Martell married baseball player Gene Edgar Corso on June 27, 1953,[7] and are parents to three children.

Selected filmography


  1. Parla, Paul; Mitchell, Charles P. (2000). Screen Sirens Scream!: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction, Horror, Film Noir, and Mystery Movies, 1930s to 1960s. ISBN 9780786407019.
  2. "1930 U.S. Census". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  3. "Interview with Donna Martell". Western Clippings. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  4. "Donna Martell". Republican Pictures. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  5. Wilkerson, Tichi; Borie, Marcia (1984). The Hollywood Reporter: The Golden Years. New York City, NY: Coward-McCann. p. 290. ISBN 0698112504.
  6. Taraborrelli, J. Randy (John Randall Anthony) (2003). Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. New York City, NY: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0759527903.
  7. "Certificate of Registry of Marriage". Retrieved 29 May 2016.

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