“The Body”

Marie McDonald was nicknamed, “The Body” in Hollywood and was one of the most popular pin-ups, of the 1940’s. Marie appeared in many movies, but ISPs more infamous, than famous. McDonald never wanted celebrity status, as a young lady. She was slated to go to school to become a journalist, but her mother encouraged her with heavy guilt, to get into show business. Mama McDonald was married to nightclub owner/thug, John Truboni. She probably wanted to make her daughter a fixture in his nightclub, instead of supporting her daughter’s intelligence. Although Marie had a full college, scholarship. Marie followed mom’s orders. She was successful in modeling, winning numerous beauty pageants and competing in Ms. America, 1939. Marie (and mom, following right behind her) appeared on Broadway, in 2 hit plays, in 1939. Marie started to become somewhat of a diva and so it seems, a user of men. In 1940 she eloped with actor Richard Allord, but walked out on him three weeks later when she discovered he gave her a fake diamond ring. Marie had the marriage annulled. She started a relationship with Sir Charles Frederick Bernard, a theatrical entrepreneur. He paid for her to get the space between her two front teeth fixed. Marie moved to Hollywood in 1940 and found a job dancing at The Florentine Gardens. She decided to return to New York City, but Tommy Dorsey convinced her not to. He gave her a job with his band, performing on the radio & that’s when Hollywood came calling. Imagine their eyes, when they saw “The Body”, behind the voice! Universal signed her, starting her in small roles, but Marie wasn’t satisfied. She hired Vic Orsatti (after she dumped actor-boyfriend, Bruce Cabot bc he wasn’t getting her ahead, in Hollywood) and he persuasively, convinced Paramount to sign, our vixen (after they eloped). In 1942, Marie dyed her hair, platinum-blonde..a huge career changing, move. She was finally co-starring in big films, opposite Paulette Goddard and Allan Ladd, but Paramount didn’t renew. Marine signed a contract with director, Hunter Stromberg. He gave her, her first starring role, in 1944. The film was a flop, but Marie’s performance merited, rave reviews. She sued Hunter to get out of her contract, claiming he stole her money, and didn’t promote her career. Marie went on a wild ride, free-falling, without a studio behind her. She decided to promote herself, posing in half-naked photos, which earned her the nickname, “The Body”, which led to her pinup, fame. In 1946, MGM signed Marie (most likely to rival Marilyn) and cast her with Gene Kelly in, “Living in a Big Way”..never heard if it? That’s because it was a total bomb. MGM blamed Marie and bought her out of her contract. Marie went in to a free-fall, she divorced Vic in 1946,began abusing prescription drugs, & had short-lived romances with Cuban millionaire Jose Noval and mobster, “Bugsy” Siegel. She began dating Harry Karl, a wealthy shoe tycoon and they married, on September 19, 1947. Marie tried to change her image by going back to her natural brown hair color but her career stalled. She could only get supporting roles in low budget movies. . She suffered from many health problems including ulcers and frequent fainting spells. Harry spent more than one million dollars trying to cure her. Marie desperately wanted to be a mother, but she had six miscarriages. In early 1950 she convinced Harry to adopt a daughter and a son. Marie happily announced that she was retiring to be a full-time mother. As happy in the outside, she seemed, her drug addiction worsened and the McDonald/Karl home, was anything BUT happy. Marie & Harry divorced in, 1954..the reason??: she was “allergic” to her husband! Weirdly enough, the two remarried in, 1955 and Harry had gotten her pregnant. Something snapped inside the demure, Harry Karl and he beat Marie so badly, she almost lost her 7th pregnancy, in her fifth month and Marie filed for divorce, in 1956. Sadly, Marie couldn’t stop using drugs, while she was pregnant, resulting in her daughter, Tina Marie to have a very, rocky beginning and suffering from learning disabilities as a child. Marie was out of the spotlight an with no new man, she was craving attention. In late 1956, Marie calls the LAPD and reports that she was kidnapped and assaulted, by two men. The police investigated and realized there was no break-in, and most likely, just a publicity stunt, but it worked. Marie went on the USO tour with Bob Hope and Eddie Fisher. She and Eddie had a short-lived, but intense, affair. When Marie came home, there were no roles, or studios knocking at her door and her divorce was finalized with, Harry. Marie, still using dope, decided to end her life with a bottle full, of aspirin, but it didn’t kill her, just made her very sick. Marie got back on her feet and began datinng Michael Wilding, ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor, but the romance fizzled when he went to England to star in a play. She was briefly engaged to a stockbroker named Blake Garner. In May 1959 she married Louis Bass, an agent, but the marriage lasted only ten months. At the divorce hearing she said that Louis bored her. She married Edward F. Calahan, a lawyer, on August 7, 1962. Six weeks later she had THAT marriage annulled. In March 1963, after a helluva 3 years, Marie suffered a nervous breakdown while in Australia. She was committed to a psychiatric clinic but she ran away after only a few days. Four months later Marie was arrested for forging a prescription to percodan. Her last film was the 1963 comedy Promises! Promises!. Marie started dating the movie’s producer Donald F. Taylor. The movie, which featured several nude scenes with Jayne Mansfield, was a box-office flop. In November 1963 Marie married Donald. It was a violent marriage and they separated in 1964. The couple reconciled and Marie devoted herself to being a homemaker. She also planned to start her own cosmetics line. On October 20, 1965 Marie was in good spirits and went to bed at 9:30 PM. The next morning Donald found her slumped over a dressing table in their bedroom. He carried her to the bed and called an ambulance but it was too late. Marie had died from an overdose of percodan. She was just forty-two years old. Her death was ruled an accident but many people believe that she actually committed suicide. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Donald was inconsolable after Marie’s death. Tragically on January 2, 1966 he killed himself with an overdose of barbituates in the same bedroom where she had died. Having that beautiful, body and notorious scandals made Marie a star but she was much more than that. Marie’s fans know that she a talented actress, a gifted singer, and despite it all, was a devoted mother to her three children.


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