Mara Corday: American actor and model (1930-) | Biography
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Mara Corday
American actor and model

Mara Corday

Mara Corday
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor and model
A.K.A. Marilyn Joan Watts
Is Actor Film actor Model Playboy Playmate Television actor
From United States of America
Field Entertainment Fashion Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 2 January 1930, Santa Monica, United States of America
Age 93 years
Star sign Capricorn
Spouse: Richard Long (died 1730)
The details (from wikipedia)


Mara Corday (born Marilyn Joan Watts; January 3, 1930) is a showgirl, model, actress, Playboy Playmate and 1950s cult figure.

Early life

Corday was born in Santa Monica, California. Wanting a career in films, she came to Hollywood while still in her teens and found work as a showgirl at the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. Her physical beauty brought jobs as a photographer's model that led to a bit part as a showgirl in the 1951 film Two Tickets to Broadway.


One of Corday's first professional jobs was as a dancer in the Earl Carroll Revue in Hollywood. Accompanied by her mother, Corday auditioned when she was 15 years old. During the two-and-a-half years that she was in the show, she advanced "from showgirl to actress in the sketches". This was also when she adopted the stage name Mara Corday, because it made her seem more exotic. The name Mara came from a bongo player who called her Marita when Corday was working as an usher at the Mayan Theater; the name Corday was lifted from a bottle of perfume.


Corday signed with Universal-International Pictures (UI) as a contract player, where she was given small roles in various B-movies and television series. In 1954, while on the set of Playgirl, she met actor and future husband Richard Long.

Her acting roles were small until 1955 when she was cast opposite John Agar and Leo G. Carroll in the successful science fiction film Tarantula, which has Clint Eastwood in a brief role as a jet fighter pilot. She had two other co-starring roles in the genre, The Black Scorpion and The Giant Claw (both 1957), as well as in a number of Western films, including Man Without a Star and Raw Edge. Film critic Leonard Maltin said Corday had "more acting ability than she was permitted to exhibit".

A few years after her husband's death in 1974, Corday's old friend Eastwood offered her a chance to return to films with a role in his 1977 film The Gauntlet. She also had a brief but-significant role in Sudden Impact (1983), where she played the waitress who dumped sugar into the coffee of Det. Harry Callahan in that film's iconic "Go ahead, make my day" sequence. She acted with Eastwood again in his 1989 film Pink Cadillac, as well as in her last film, 1990's The Rookie.


Corday appeared as a pinup girl in numerous men's magazines during the 1950s and was the Playmate of the October 1958 issue of Playboy, along with famous model and showgirl Pat Sheehan.


In 1956, Corday had a recurring role in the ABC television series Combat Sergeant. From 1959 to early 1961, Corday worked exclusively doing guest spots on various television series. She also guest starred with Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead or Alive in April 1960.

Personal life

Following the 1955 death of Suzan Ball, the first wife of actor Richard Long, Corday began dating Long, and they married in 1957. Through Long's sister Barbara, Corday was a sister-in-law of actor Marshall Thompson. In the early 1960s, Corday gave up her career to devote herself to raising a family. Widowed in 1974, she and Long had three children during their 17-year marriage: Valerie, Carey, and Gregory. Corday has also been a lifelong friend of actor Clint Eastwood, whom she met while working for Universal Pictures.

Partial filmography

  • Two Tickets to Broadway (1951) - Showgirl / Passerby on Sidewalk (uncredited)
  • Sea Tiger (1952) - Lola, Hotel Proprietress
  • Son of Ali Baba (1952) - Girl on Balcony (uncredited)
  • Toughest Man in Arizona (1952) - Bit Role (uncredited)
  • The Lady Wants Mink (1953) - Model
  • Problem Girls (1953) - Dorothy Childers
  • Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) - Locopo Woman (uncredited)
  • Sweethearts on Parade (1953) - Belle
  • Money from Home (1953) - Waitress (uncredited)
  • Yankee Pasha (1954) - Harem Girl (uncredited)
  • Playgirl (1954) - Pam
  • Drums Across the River (1954) - Sue
  • Francis Joins the WACS (1954) - Kate
  • Dawn at Socorro (1954) - Letty Diamond
  • So This Is Paris (1954) - Yvonne
  • Man Without a Star (1955) - Moccasin Mary
  • The Man from Bitter Ridge (1955) - Holly Kenton
  • Tarantula (1955) - Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton
  • Foxfire (1955) - Maria - Hugh Slater's Nurse
  • Raw Edge (1956) - Paca
  • A Day of Fury (1956) - Sharman Fulton
  • Naked Gun (1956) - Louisa Jackson / Morales
  • The Quiet Gun (1957) - Irene
  • The Giant Claw (1957) - Sally Caldwell
  • Undersea Girl (1957) - Valerie Hudson
  • The Black Scorpion (1957) - Teresa Alvarez
  • Girls on the Loose (1958) - Vera Parkinson
  • The Gauntlet (1977) - Jail Matron
  • Sudden Impact (1983) - Loretta - Coffee Shop Waitress
  • Pink Cadillac (1989) - Stick Lady
  • The Rookie (1990) - Interrogator #2 (final film role)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 27 Jan 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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