Mari Blanchard

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
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 active19471968
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 career

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] 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 life

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.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1947CopacabanaCopa GirlUncredited
1950Mr. MusicChorineUncredited
1951On the RivieraEugenieUncredited
1951No Questions AskedNatalie
1951BannerlineEloiseUncredited
1951Ten Tall MenMarie DeLatour
1951The Unknown ManSally Tever
1951Overland TelegraphStella
1952Something to Live ForHat Check GirlUncredited
1952The BrigandDona Dolores Castro
1952Assignment – Paris!Wanda Marlowe(scenes deleted)
1952Back at the FrontNina - Johnny Redondo's Accomplice
1953Abbott and Costello Go to MarsQueen Allura
1953The Veils of BagdadSelima
1954Rails Into LaramieLou Carter
1954Black Horse CanyonAldis Spain
1954DestryBrandy
1955Son of SinbadKristina
1955The Return of Jack SladeTexas Rose
1955The Crooked WebJoanie Daniel
1956The Cruel TowerMary 'The Babe' Thompson
1956Canasta de cuentos mexicanosGladys Winthrop(segment "Canasta")
1956Stagecoach to FuryBarbara Duval
1957She DevilKyra Zelas
1957Jungle HeatAnn McRae
1958No Place to LandIris Lee LaVonne
1958MacheteJean Montoya
1958Karasu
1962Don't Knock the TwistDulcie Corbin
1963Twice Told TalesSylvia Ward
1963McLintock!Camille Reedbottom

References

  1. "Mari Blanchard - The Private Life and Times of Mari Blanchard. Mari Blanchard Pictures". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  2. 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


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