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Dona Drake Profile

Dona Drake
Dona Drake
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(Eunice Westmoreland)
15 November 14 is born in Miami, Florida, one of five children of Joseph Andrew Westmoreland of Arkansas and his wife, Novella Smith of Alabama. Studio publicity will later claim she was born in Mexico City in 1920.
31 leaves school and starts working in one of her family’s restaurants
34 changes her name to Una Villon
forms a sister-act with Mexican girl Rene Villon and tours the country with a vaudeville act
? when Rene marries, she forms an all-girl band, “The Girl Friends,” and changes her name to Rita Rio
Early 36 when questioned by the FBI about the gruesome killing of gangster Louis Amberg, she denies knowing his real identity. She’s identified as his "girlfriend."
40 returns to Hollywood and gives her real name as Rita Novella. Later she changes her name to Reta Shaw.
Early 40s there are erroneous reports of a reputed marriage to actor-writer Jesse Lasky, Jr., son of the producer
41 when cast in Aloma of the South Seas, Paramount changes her name to Dona Drake
? performs in nightclub acts between film assignments
23 April 43 is on the cover of Yank, The Army Weekly
44 while filming Hot Rhythm, her friend, actress Joan Blondell, introduces her to young designer William Travilla
19 August 44 marries Travilla and concentrates on married life for two years
16 August 51 her daughter, Nia Novella, is born in Los Angeles
54 retires from film and resides with her family at 3241 North Knoll Drive, Los Angeles
Early 60s as part of her husband’s fashion shows, she appears briefly in public again
78 begins suffering from seizure disorders and heart problems
20 June 89 as Dona D. Travilla, she dies at age 74 in Los Angeles, California, from pneumonia and respiratory failure
23 June 89 her body is cremated, and her ashes are scattered after a ceremony at sea
2 November 90 Travilla dies at age 70 in Los Angeles
1 October 02 her daughter, Nia Novella, dies at age 51 in California
Sources:
"Mexicali Pose" by Barrie Roberts in Classic Images, www.Ancestry.com
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Filmography