Dona Drake was an American singer, dancer and film actress in the 1930s and 1940s

Dona Drake (born Eunice Westmoreland; November 15, 1914 – June 20, 1989) was an American singer, dancer and film actress in the 1930s and 1940s. She also toured in an all-girl orchestra in the early 1940s. She was born Eunice Westmoreland in Miami, Florida, in 1914 to Joseph Andrew Westmoreland of Arkansas and his wife, Novella Smith of Alabama. She was one of their five children. Entering show business in the 1930s, she used the names Una Velon, Rita Rio and Rita Shaw. She settled on the stage name Dona Drake in the early 1940s. Studio publicity during her heyday incorrectly stated that Drake was of Mexican origin and was born Rita Novella. (Novella was actually her mother's first name.) Because of her dark hair and Latin-looking features, Drake generally played Latin or other "ethnic" types. She is perhaps best known for playing the American Indian maid of Bette Davis in Beyond the Forest. She also appeared as an Arab girl opposite Bob Hope in Road to Morocco in 1942. Her biggest "non-ethnic" role was the second female lead in the 1949 comedy The Girl from Jones Beach, playing opposite Eddie Bracken. She died in 1989. In the early 1940s, Drake toured with an all-girl orchestra called "The Girl Friends" throughout the United States. Fellow actresses Marie Wilson, Toby Wing, and Faith Bacon were also part of the orchestra. In 1936, Drake was questioned by the FBI about the murder of her then-boyfriend and known mobster, Louis Amberg. She claimed to only know him as "Mr. Cohen" and had no idea what he did for a living. Drake married fashion designer William Travilla August 19, 1944. They were married until her death and had one daughter, Nia (b. August 16, 1951). Drake died in Los Angeles, California on June 20, 1989 at the age of 74 of pneumonia and respiratory failure. She was cremated and her ashed scattered at sea

Galllery for vintage actress Dona Drake

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