Reed starred in more than 40 movies in a career cut short by pancreatic cancer in 1986, but none were quite as popular as Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” As Reed struggled against typecasting in “girl next door” roles, in 1953 she landed the role of Alma in another major motion picture classic, “From Here to Eternity.” Playing the part of Alma, a prostitute in a club for soldiers in Hawaii on the eve of Pearl Harbor, she befriends a soldier played by Montgomery Clift. Her performance was so good, it earned her the Academy Award for best supporting actress. Blessed with both beauty and acting ability, she had a big impact on Hollywood. This is what her co-star in “From Here to Eternity,” Frank Sinatra, had to say about her: “I can remember in the beginning, when every guy who saw her on the screen had a crush on Donna, particularly myself graced by beauty and talent. Donna was a lovely lady, gentle and kind” (via AP News).

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