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Dona Drake


slaytonf
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Not only was Dona Drake a sexy little package, as they say, but she was also a bundle of energy. I always have a smile on my face whenever I see Dona pop up (often unexpectedly for me) in a film, most often a musical or comedy.

 

Possibly her best known role today was as Bob Hope's "Arab" girlfriend in Road to Morocco (Dorothy Lamour was a pal of Drake's, helping her to get a contract at Paramount).

 

donna-drake-bob-hope-bing-crosby-road-to

 

She later, however, had the occasional dramatic role, as such Bette Davis's Indian maid (and one with attitude) in Beyond the Forest.

 

According to IMBd, Dona was racially mixed (having either African American parents or African American grandparents on one side, I'm a little confused about the actual mixture). A light skinned beauty, Dona "passed" herself in Hollywood, promoted to be of a Mexican mix ancestry.

 

As a result Dona was cast in various ethnic parts during her Hollywood career but stardom, alas, was never to be her's.

 

A quote of Dona's:

 

It was wonderful at first [with Paramount]. I thought I was on my way to becoming a film actress. But you can't make a screen career out of combing Dorothy Lamour's hair or chasing Bob Hope in one picture after another.

 

Here's a clip of Dona from her days when she was Rita Rio with an all girl orchestra. With that infectious smile and those flashing eyes, she sure knew how to flirt with the camera. The other pleasure to be found in this clip (inspite of its lousy visual quality) is to hear the pleasant singing voice of a young Alan Ladd, just prior to becoming a star in This Gun for Hire.

 

 

 

 

Thanks, slaytonf, for taking a moment to create a thread about the little remembered Dona Drake, even if it was just to express an appreciative growl about her.

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Thanks, slaytonf, for taking a moment to create a thread about the little remembered Dona Drake, even if it was just to express an appreciative growl about her.

 

 

Hey, that growl was no small thing.  But it was my pleasure.  I wonder, idly, what it was like for Bob Hope to shoot those scenes with her? (whew!)

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Dona sure did her share of cheesecake shots.

 

b03b7-dona5-23-43.jpg

 

290px-Lee_Van_Cleef-Dona_Drake_in_Kansas

 

Here's a shot of her from Kansas City Confidential, a goodish noir of 1952 which frequently comes on TCM.

 

She retired in 1957. I was sorry to read that she was afflicted with heart problems and seizures in her later years, dying of pneumonia and respiratory failure in 1989.

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Dona and Betty Hutton (and I think Marjorie Weaver) do a hot number in the Paramount short HOLLYWOOD VICTORY CARAVAN.

 

Thanks, Ray. Here's the short:

 

 

 

This is a fun bond drive short for Paramount star gazers. Since it was produced by that studio, I was surprised to see the appearance, as well, of a very famous Warner Brothers star in it.

 

Dona's musical number, with Betty Hutton, comes in the third minute.

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Nice tribute video. Even the schmaltzy music worked for me. Of course we can see her movies but I thank whoever was responsible for putting this together. She didn't "make it" but I'm glad that this is out there for her.

 

Boy, she had a way of tilting her head to one side and looking out of the corner of her eyes with the other. I can't duplicate Slaytonf's growl (exquisite!) but I can second it.

 

 

RIP miss dona

:wub:

 

=

 

 

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