Film Star Donna Reed’s Daughter Mary Owen To Speak on her Mother’s Role in The 1946 Classic Film It’s a Wonderful Life

Nov 23rd, 2015Press Release from Lehigh County Historical Society

Allentown, PA – Film icon Donna Reed starred in the 1946 holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life.  Despite its early box office failure, the movie has evolved into one of the most enduring films of all time.  On Sunday, December 6th, at 1:00 p.m. the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum will host a special showing of the film, along with a presentation by Reed’s daughter Mary Owen.  The announcement was made today by Joseph Garrera, Executive Director of the Museum.

Directed by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life came out in 1946 to mixed reviews and a poor box office showing.  Not until the film became an annual holiday television tradition in the late 1970s did it become a treasured American holiday classic.  It is now one of the most acclaimed films ever made.  It received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award as well as five other Academy Award nominations.  The American Film Institute has named it one of the 100 greatest American films ever made.

The film stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey with Donna Reed as Bailey’s wife Mary.  In the film, George Bailey operates a small-town savings and loan business.  He is driven into a suicidal depression on Christmas Eve after being unjustly accused of mismanaging funds.  His guardian angel intervenes to recall all the good Bailey has done in his life, and how terrible his town would be if he had never been born.  Meanwhile, Mary and the other townspeople band together to support George by raising the money needed to save him from arrest and restore his reputation.

Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen will speak at the Heritage Museum about her mother’s life and her role in It’s a Wonderful Life.  Reed, born in 1921, also appeared in more than forty other films and worked extensively on television as both an actress and a producer.  She died in 1986 at the age of 64 from cancer, yet her legacy lives on as one of the giant film icons from the past.

“It is an honor to host Ms Owen at the Museum,” said Garrera.  “Just in time for the holidays, we have the opportunity revisit an inspirational holiday classic film and hear how making it affected the life of one of its stars.”

Admission to the opening program is FREE to members, $8.00 for adult non-members, and $3.00 for non-member children.

The Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum is a 30,000 square foot teaching institution that attracts a diverse audience.  Its collections of historical Americana include over 35,000 three-dimensional objects, 3 million documents and more than 80,000 vintage photographs.   The Museum is located at 432 W. Walnut Street in Allentown.   Parking is available in the rear of the Museum, on the street, and in nearby lots.  For more information, contact Joseph Garrera, Executive Director, at 610-435-1074.  Visit or visit us on Facebook.  Members of the Press can also reach Mr. Garrera any time day or night at 484-553-2592 (cell).

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