biography

Born Mary Blanchard on April 13, 1923 (some sources cite 1927 and 1932 as her date of birth) in Long Beach, California, Mari Blanchard was a beautiful blonde actress who almost exclusively appeared in B movies. At the age of nine, she contracted a crippling case of polio but fought back against her illness and was walking again by age eleven. Blanchard attended the University of Southern California in the 1940s and was a law student for a period of time. In 1950, she was discovered by a producer who had seen her in a bubble bath ad. In the 1940s, Blanchard was a successful print model and film extra, and her beautiful features made her a natural for films. She was signed to a Paramount contract in 1950 but didn't remain with the studio for long.

Mari BlanchardMari Blanchard

Universal-International cheesecake stills of Mari Blanchard

Blanchard soon found success as an actress. From 1951 to 1952, she took small roles in a number of films at MGM, RKO, and Paramount, until she was signed by Universal-International in 1952. Her first film at the studio was Back at the Front (1952; with Tom Ewell and Harvey Lembeck). Throughout her film career, Blanchard excelled at playing bad girls and ladies of ill-repute. She concentrated her efforts primarily in comedies and westerns but acted in a variety of film genres. In the early to mid 1950s, she dated a string of men, including Greg Bautzer, once Joan Crawford's paramour. After a couple of brief marriages in the early 1960s, she dated Mel Torme before marrying photographer Vince Conti in 1966.

the films of mari blanchard

Back at the Front (1952)

Harvey Lembeck, Mari Blanchard, and Tom Ewell

With Harvey Lembeck and Tom Ewell in the Universal-International comedy Back at the Front

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953)

Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Mari BlanchardLou Costello and Mari BlanchardBud Abbott, Lou Costello, and Mari Blanchard

With Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars

The Veils of Bagdad (1953)

Mari Blanchard and Victor MatureMari Blanchard

LEFT: With Victor Mature in the lively Universal action-adventure The Veils of Bagdad. RIGHT: As harem girl Selima

Rails into Laramie (1954)

John Payne and Mari BlanchardJohn Payne and Mari Blanchard

John Payne falls prey to Mari Blanchard in the Universal-International western Rails into Laramie

Destry (1954)

Mari Blanchard in DestryMari Blanchard in Destry

Blanchard as Brandy in Destry, a remake of the classic 1939 western Destry Rides Again starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart. In this Universal-International release, Audie Murphy is cast in Stewart's role, and Blanchard substitutes for Dietrich

Black Horse Canyon (1954)

Mari Blanchard and Joel McCreaMari Blanchard and Joel McCrea

From the Universal-International western Black Horse Canyon with Joel McCrea

The Crooked Web (1955)

Richard Denning and Mari Blanchard

With Richard Denning in the Columbia film noir release The Crooked Web

The Return of Jack Slade (1955)

Mari Blanchard, John Ericson

From the Allied Artists western The Return of Jack Slade with John Ericson

The Cruel Tower (1956)

Mari Blanchard and John Ericson

From the Allied Artists adventure The Cruel Tower with John Ericson

Stagecoach to Fury (1956)

Mari Blanchard and Forrest Tucker

With Forrest Tucker in the 20th Century Fox western Stagecoach to Fury

Jungle Heat (1957)

Mari Blanchard and Lex Barker

With Lex Barker in Jungle Heat

She Devil (1957)

Mari BlanchardJohn Archer and Mari Blanchard

LEFT: In the science fiction film She Devil, Blanchard has been injected with a serum that allows her to change her appearance at will. RIGHT: With John Archer

No Place to Land (1958)

Mari Blanchard

As Iris Lee LaVonne in the Republic drama No Place to Land

Rawhide (1959-1965 CBS TV Series)

Eric Fleming and Mari Blanchard

With Eric Fleming in a 1961 episode in the CBS western series Rawhide

Don't Knock the Twist (1962)

Lang Jeffries and Mari Blanchard

From Columbia's musical drama Don't Knock the Twist, the sequel to Twist Around the Clock, with Lang Jeffries

later years

After being diagnosed with cancer in 1963, Mari Blanchard abandoned her career upon the release of McLintock! (1963; with John Wayne and Yvonne De Carlo). While remaining retired from films, she acted appeared on several TV programs when her cancer went into remission. Sadly, her cancer returned and, after a long struggle, Mari Blanchard passed away at age 47 on May 10, 1970. She was survived by her third husband and her mother.

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filmography

FILM
McLintock! (1963) with John Wayne, Yvonne De Carlo, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Chill Wills, Jerry Van Dyke, Edgar Buchanan, and Bruce Cabot
Twice-Told Tales (1963) with Vincent Price, Beverly Garland, Richard Denning, and Brett Halsey
Don't Knock the Twist (1962) with Lang Jeffries and Chubby Checker
Machete (1958) with Albert Dekker and Lee Van Cleef
No Place to Land (1958) with John Ireland, Jackie Coogan, and Gail Russell
Jungle Heat (1957) with Lex Barker, Rhodes Reason, and Glenn Langan
She Devil (1957) with Albert Dekker, Jack Kelly, John Archer, and Blossom Rock
The Cruel Tower (1956) with Steve Brodie, Alan Hale Jr., and John Ericson
Stagecoach to Fury (1956) with Forrest Tucker
The Crooked Web (1955) with Richard Denning and Frank Lovejoy
The Return of Jack Slade (1955) with John Ericson, Neville Brand, Max Showalter, and Angie Dickinson
Son of Sinbad (1955) with Vincent Price, Dale Robertson, and Sally Forrest
Black Horse Canyon (1954) with Joel McCrea
Destry (1954) with Audie Murphy, Lori Nelson, Lyle Bettger, Alan Hale Jr., and Mary Wickes
Rails Into Laramie (1954) with John Payne, Dan Duryea, Lee Van Cleef, and Myron Healey
The Veils of Bagdad (1953) with Victor Mature, Virginia Field, Guy Rolfe, James Arness, Gregg Palmer, and Glenn Strange
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Martha Hyer
Assignment: Paris (1952) with Dana Andrews and George Sanders
Back at the Front (1952) with Tom Ewell, Richard Long, Russell Johnson, and Harvey Lembeck
The Brigand (1952) with Anthony Dexter
Something to Live for (1952) with Ray Milland and Joan Fontaine
No Questions Asked (1951) with Arlene Dahl, Barry Sullivan, and Jean Hagen
The Overland Telegraph (1951) with Tim Holt, George Nader, and Hugh Beaumont
The Unknown Man (1951) with Barry Sullivan and Dawn Addams
Ten Tall Men (1951) with Burt Lancaster, Gilbert Roland, Kieron Moore, and Gerald Mohr
On the Riviera (1951) with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, Corinne Calvet, and Joi Lansing

TELEVISION SERIES
Klondike, 1960-1961 CBS-TV series. Blanchard portrayed Kathy O'Hara. Also featured was Joi Lansing

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
It Takes a Thief, episode Totally By Design, originally aired February 20, 1968
The Virginian, episode Doctor Pat, originally aired March 1, 1967
Burke's Law, episode Nightmare in the Sun, originally aired October 20, 1965
Perry Mason, episode The Melancholy Marksman, originally aired March 24, 1962
The Detectives, episode Night on the Town, originally aired January 26, 1962
Hawaiian Eye, episode The Kapua of Coconut Bay, originally aired October 4, 1961
Gunslinger, episode Road of the Dead, originally aired March 30, 1961
Rawhide, episode Incident of the Big Blowout, originally aired February 10, 1961
Seahunt, episode Prima Dona, originally aired 1960-1961
Bronco, episode Montana Passage, originally aired April 5, 1960
Mr. Lucky, episode I Bet Your Life, originally aired April 2, 1960
Laramie, episode Rope of Steel, originally aired February 16, 1960
Rawhide, episode Incident of the Stalking Death, originally aired November 13, 1959
Bat Masterson, episode License to Cheat, originally aired February 4, 1959
Casablanca, episode Siren Song, originally aired 1955

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Watch the trailer for Mari Blanchard's 1963 horror film Twice-Told Tales
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