Untold Life Story Of Dona DrakeUntold Life Story Of Dona Drake

Untold Life Story Of Dona Drake

In this article, we will share you Untold Life Story Of Dona Drake , as well as share an interesting story of how Dona as a black girl passed as white and deceived the movie industry without further Ado let’s get right into it she dazzled us on screen with her Elegant Beauty her enchanting dance moves and her mesmerizing singing voice she starred opposite legendary stars like Betty Davis Bob Hope and John Wayne even before her film career she was already an accomplished musician singer and Dancer the world knew her as Donna Drake.

Untold Life Story Of Dona Drake

But this Hollywood movie Legend had many many names throughout her career before her ultimate Fame and making it big in Hollywood she would reinvent herself several times over it was only when she landed a massive movie deal with Paramount Studios and the powers that be decided she needed yet another name change that Donna Drake was born but everything about the film star was a complete and utter lie and the biggest question was she the real Mastermind behind one of the biggest deceits in hwood history or was she a victim of a cruel and broken system her face was plastered in newspapers and magazines and she was all the buzz and rage to the world she was a beautiful young white Starlet who was sure to set Hollywood on fire the studios wrote her a new biography and said she was born Rita Nolla they described her as having blue green eyes and chestnut hair they also said she was 20 years old and of half Mexican descent with a mix of French and Irish heritage as well but all of this was a complete lie Dona wasn’t 20 years old she was 26 and she wasn’t born Rita

Nolla in 1920 no she was born Unice West Morland on November 5th 1914 and she wasn’t half Mexican with a mix of French and Irish either Dona with the help of the studios hid her true Heritage for fear that people would not want to watch a movie starring Dona Drake if they knew where she really came from at the time there was just no place for a black actor or actress in Hollywood no matter how talented or beautiful they were unless it was for a comedy side role or a servant or a slave and the truth was Donna’s real Heritage was. African-American with just a little bit of European descent it was determined that her grandparents were made up of a black couple on her mother’s side and a mixed couple on her father’s side that was one black and one white so technically that made Dona 3/4 black but it wasn’t as straightforward as that her true Heritage was somewhat complicated and her registered ethnicity had changed several times over the course of her life two separate United States censuses taken in Florida and Alabama in 1910.

Listed both her parents as black then 10 years later when Dona was 4 years old another census listed her and both her parents as mulato which was a racial term to describe persons of mixed African and European descent today the term mulato is considered offensive in some languages including English and Dutch but this racial terming got even worse for donut and her family again 10 years later in 1930 Dona and her parents were classed as negro today that term is considered offensive by the Supreme Court and its use is even punishable by law in certain cases keep in mind Donna’s career was at its peak during the 40s and 50s it was during the same era that Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a white person it was also just before Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Junior rose up against oppression that was the level of intolerance that still existed in Hollywood and the world at the time so what were the chances of a black lady starring opposite a white male as the Romantic lead well chances were zero so Dona had to keep her real black history a secret just to make her way in the film business as a result she was often cast in movies playing white ethnic roles such as Latin American Middle Eastern Native American or even Gypsy dona’s strong features in curly dark hair also helped her in landing such roles she even learned to speak fluent Spanish to further sell the lie that she was of Mexican descent as we’ve mentioned Paramount Studios also helped her to sell this lie at the time it was not uncommon for Studios to fabricate the biographies of their stars to many studios actresses were more of a product than a person and what’s the purpose of a product it’s to be advertised and to be sold at the highest price possible take for instance the sad story of Norma jeene a shy girl from an abusive childhood.

who was put under the knife and given a new look at a new name to become Marilyn Monroe and we all know how tragically her story ended but in many cases that was the price of Fame in those days and it was no different for young aspiring actresses like Donna Drake but her rise to Hollywood stardom didn’t come easy she was born in 1914 in Miami Florida to parents Joseph and Nolla Westmorland she had four siblings her parents named her Unice and gave her the nickname una around 1930 when she was a teenager her parents moved to Philadelphia Adelphia there her parents worked in the restaurant business where she often helped out it was clear from a very early age that she was extremely talented when it came to music apart from being an excellent singer and Dancer she also played several instruments including clarinet drums saxophone and piano by 1933 in pursuit of her dreams to become a famous singer and Dancer she and her mother along with another waitress Renee Vilan moved to New York changing her name from Unice to she and Renee formed a Sister Act and the two soon landed work at the paradise Club on Broadway it was around this time that she first started to hide her real ethnicity presenting herself as either white or Latin American it was at the paradise Club where her Talent was first spotted by a theatrical producer named Earl Carroll at the time he was very well-known and well-placed in the industry but he had also been labeled a scandalous man who preferred his dancers and chorus girls dressed in as little clothes as was not frowned upon he offered una a spot in one of his musical Productions murder at the vanities after the production had run its course unaa and Renee toured together for a while until Renee stepped down to get married and start a family life now on her own una continued as a solo act and also soon Found Love she began dating a man called Lou pretty Amberg but that short-lived love story ended in a horrific tragedy Amberg was a known mobster and in 1935 his naked body was found in the backseat of a burning car una was even questioned by the FBI in regards to Amber’s murder all she could say was that she knew him as Mr Cohen and that he was always polite and respectful toward her Huna claimed that she never knew that her boyfriend was a mobster but whether that was true or not we’ll probably never know unaa once again changed her name this time to Rita Rio and she landed a small role playing a Latina character in the 1936 film strike me pink however it wasn’t to be the big Hollywood breakthrough she may have hoped for now called Rita Rio she would appear in several other minor films before finally striking it big with Paramount she landed her first major role in the 1941 film Aloma of the South Seas starring opposite big names of the time like Dorothy lore and John Hall in fact Dorothy LaMore was her friend and it was Dorothy who had helped her to land the role with the new career came yet another new name Eunice was now once and for all reinvented as Donna Drake the film landed several Academy Awards and the studio was so impressed with Donna’s performance and public reception that they squeezed her into their next big film this time she starred opposite movie Legend Bob Hope playing the role of beatric in Louisiana Purchase now it was Bob who was apparently

So impressed with her that he insisted she star in his next film as well and so she once again appeared opposite Bob Hope in 1942’s Road to Morocco in which she played an Arab princess other big names in that film also included Dorothy LaMore Bing Crosby and Anthony Quinn in that same year Donna appeared in Star Spangled Rhythm which featured all of Paramount’s biggest names it seemed that Donna Drake’s career would only grow and grow but sadly the opposite was true while she would appear in many more movies and one-off episodes in several TV shows none of them would Garner the same success as her first roles in 1944 while filming hot Rhythm Dona met and quickly fell in love with William travilla travilla was a well-respected and very famous costume designer for film stage and television the two hit it off immediately and got married just 10 days later however one has to wonder did her new husband know her true Heritage or did he also like the rest of the world believe she was half Mexican and if so did they have to marry in secret because remember at that time in the United States it was still against the law for interracial couples to Mar Mary and if Dona was still selling the lie about her Heritage to her husband and his family does that mean that her own parents couldn’t be at her wedding because surely it would have blown her secret wide open from her marriage to travilla Dona had just one child a daughter named Nia Nolla travilla Nia however sadly passed away in 2002 famously travilla joked that Dona no longer had to work as he said my wife turned down a $5,000 a we contract tracked in Las Vegas because now she had a husband to support her despite his humor Donna kept working until 1956 when she retired due to health struggles and after that she lived a very private life away from the spotlight just as quickly as she had blasted onto our screens she disappeared just as fast again Dona Drake passed away on June 20th 1989 due to pneumonia and respiratory failure she was 74 almost at the end of her career and after having to hide her true Heritage for so very long a census in 1950 declared Donna Drake as white despite this Donna had always been a proud black woman what do you think of her story and her reasons for hiding her Heritage did she betray her own ancestry or did she make the best choice for herself in a time where her real talents would have been denied based on the color of her skin.

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