Born Marilyn Watts on January 3, 1930, in Santa Monica, California, actress Mara Corday first got her start in show business as a showgirl in the late 1940s. Soon, she was dancing in the Earl Carroll Revue, where she was encouraged to do extra work in films. Her first film appearance was in the 1951 Janet Leigh vehicle Two Tickets to Broadway, in which she was one of about 20 showgirls. In the meantime, Corday was finding more and more modeling work, and she quickly became a top model who was sought after by the best photographers of the day, including Peter Gowland.

Cynthia Patrick, George Nader, and Mara CordayMara CordayMara CordayMara Corday in a bikiniMara Corday and Richard Long

LEFT: With fellow Universal-International contract players Cynthia Patrick and George Nader in the mid 1950s. CENTER: Corday was one of the most famous pin-up queens in the 1950s. RIGHT: With husband Richard Long in the late 1960s

Although she appeared in several films between 1951 and 1953, her movie career was slow going until she signed with Universal Studios in 1954. The studio immediately cast Corday in a string of films, including Playgirl (1954; with Shelley Winters and Richard Long), Francis Joins the Wacs (1954; with Allison Hayes and Mamie Van Doren), Foxfire (1955; with Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler), and Raw Edge (1956; with Yvonne De Carlo and Rory Calhoun). Although she is best known for her horror films, including The Giant Claw (1957; with Jeff Morrow) and The Black Scorpion (1957; with Richard Denning), in reality Corday made far more westerns. Her first starring role was in the 1955 Universal western The Man From Bitter Ridge with Lex Barker. For her second big part, she starred alongside John Agar in the 1955 creature-feature Tarantula. Although Mara Corday is best known for her horror films, including The Giant Claw (1957; with Jeff Morrow) and The Black Scorpion (1957; with Richard Denning), in reality she made far more westerns.

the films of mara corday

Drums Across the River (1954)

Mara Corday

From Universal International's western Drums Across the River

Foxfire (1955)

Dan Duryea and Mara CordayMara Corday

From Universal's drama Foxfire with Dan Duryea

The Man From Bitter Ridge (1955)

Mara CordayMara Corday and Lex Barker

From the Universal-International western The Man From Bitter Ridge, directed by Jack Arnold. LEFT: Corday as Holly Kenton. RIGHT: With Lex Barker

Tarantula (1955)

Mara Corday and John AgarMara Corday and Leo G. CarrollJohn Agar, Leo G. Carroll, and Mara Corday

LEFT: John Agar and Mara Corday run from the Tarantula. CENTER and RIGHT: Corday with Leo G. Carroll and John Agar

A Day of Fury (1956)

Mara Corday and Dale Robertson

With Dale Robertson in the Universal-International western A Day of Fury

The Black Scorpion (1957)

Mara Corday and Richard DenningMara Corday

LEFT: Richard Denning gets cozy with Mara Corday in The Black Scorpion. RIGHT: Promotional photo

The Giant Claw (1957)

Mara Corday, Louis Merrill, Morris Ankrum, and Jeff MorrowMara Corday and Jeff Morrow

Columbia released the campy sci-fi flick The Giant Claw, one of my favorite 1950s science fiction efforts. LEFT: With Louis Merrill, Morris Ankrum, and Jeff Morrow. RIGHT: With Jeff Morrow

The Quiet Gun (1957)

Forrest Tucker and Mara Corday

From the 20th Century Fox western The Quiet Gun with Forrest Tucker

Girls on the Loose (1958)

Mara CordayMara Corday and Peter Mark Richman

From the campy Universal-International crime drama Girls on the Loose. LEFT: This film proved to be Corday's last on her Universal contract. RIGHT: With Peter Mark Richman

mara corday today

In January 1957, Corday married actor Richard Long. Both Long and Corday had been under contract to Universal when they appeared together in the film Playgirl (1954; with Shelley Winters, Barry Sullivan, and Colleen Miller). Long's first wife, actress Suzan Ball, passed away from cancer in 1955. Although Corday made a few more films and several TV guest appearances after her marriage, she called it quits in 1960 to care for her three children. Despite their tempestuous relationship which often made headlines from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, Corday and Long remained married. Richard Long had a great career in television, starring in the TV series Maverick, Big Valley, and Nanny and the Professor, just to name a few. Sadly, on December 21, 1974, Richard Long passed away. After his death, Mara Corday began making cameo appearances in films, included several starring Clint Eastwood. Today, she runs her own company, Argosy Productions.

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Watch the trailers for Tarantula (1955) and The Giant Claw (1957)


The Rookie (1990) with Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, Tom Skerritt, and Lara Flynn Boyle
Pink Cadillac (1989) with Clint Eastwood, Bernadette Peters, Michael Des Barres, Bill Moseley, and Geoffrey Lewis
Sudden Impact (1983) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bradford Dillman, and Nancy Parsons
The Gauntlet (1977) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Carole Cook, and Dan Vadis
Girls on the Loose (1958) with Peter Mark Richman and Abby Dalton
The Quiet Gun (1957) with Forrest Tucker and Jim Davis
The Black Scorpion (1957) with Richard Denning
The Giant Claw (1957) with Jeff Morrow, Morris Ankrum, and Frank Griffin
Undersea Girl (1957) with Myron Healey and Florence Marly
Raw Edge (1956) with Rory Calhoun, Yvonne De Carlo, Rex Reason, John Gavin, and Ed Fury
A Day of Fury (1956) with Dale Robertson and Jock Mahoney
Naked Gun (1956) with Veda Ann Borg and Morris Ankrum
Foxfire (1955) with Jane Russell, Jeff Chandler, and Dan Duryea
The Man from Bitter Ridge (1955) with Lex Barker
Man Without a Star (1955) with Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell, and Richard Boone
Tarantula (1955) with John Agar and Leo G. Carroll
Playgirl (1954) with Shelley Winters, Barry Sullivan, Colleen Miller, Richard Long, and Dolores Fuller
Francis Joins the Wacs (1954) with Julie Adams, Donald O'Connor, Allison Hayes, and Mamie Van Doren
Dawn at Socorro (1954) with Rory Calhoun, Piper Laurie, David Brian, and Lee Van Cleef
Drums Across the River (1954) with Audie Murphy, Hugh O'Brian, and Lisa Gaye
So This Is Paris (1954) with Tony Curtis, Corinne Calvet, and Allison Hayes
The Lady Wants Mink (1953) with Eve Arden, Dennis O'Keefe, Hillary Brooke, William Demarest, and Hope Emerson
Problem Girls (1953) with Beverly Garland, Helen Walker, and Joyce Jameson
Sweethearts on Parade (1953)
Sea Tiger (1952) with John Archer
Two Tickets to Broadway (1951) with Janet Leigh and Ann Miller

Surfside 6, episode An Overdose of Justice, originally aired May 22, 1961
Laramie, episode A Sound of Bells, originally aired December 27, 1960
Wanted: Dead or Alive, episode Death, Divided by Three, originally aired April 23, 1960
Adventures in Paradise, episode Walk Through the Night, originally aired January 25, 1960
The Man from Blackhawk, episode Contraband Cargo, originally aired December 4, 1959
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode The Train Robbery, originally aired October 12, 1959
Peter Gunn, episode Keep Smiling, originally aired March 23, 1959
The Restless Gun, episode Shadow of a Gunfighter, originally aired January 12, 1959
Mr. & Mrs. North, episode The Third Eye, originally aired January 30, 1953
The Adventures of Kit Carson, episode Ventura Feud, originally aired January 3, 1953
The Adventures of Kit Carson, episode Border Corsairs, originally aired January 12, 1952
The Adventures of Kit Carson, episode Feud in San Filipe, originally aired December 29, 1951
The Adventures of Kit Carson, episode Fury at Red Gulch, originally aired October 27, 1951


Mara The Official Web Page
This is Corday's own site, which includes extensive biographical information and autographed photos that you can order.

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Watch Mara Corday's 1957 crime drama Undersea Girl
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This page premiered April 26, 2000.
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