Donna always referred to her television comedy series, The Donna Reed Show, as "The DR Show."
In 1936, Donna graduated from Denison High School in Denison, Iowa, ranking in the top ten of a class of eighty-five.
As a teenager, Donna was a member of the Temperance Corp, signing pledges not to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke.
As a child, Donna belonged to the Nimble Fingers 4-H Club, where she made her own uniform. At age thirteen, she won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair for her wholewheat yeast rolls.
Donna impersonated a self-absorbed socialite unfamiliar with sports when she made her first public performance reciting "Betty at the Baseball Game" for a grade school recital.
Donna attended Nishnabotna Number Three, a rural school a quarter-mile from her Denison, Iowa home. Her teacher, Marion Drake, taught eight grades in one room.
As a youngster, Donna, her younger sister Lavonne, and younger, guitar-playing brother Keith formed a musical group. Initially performing at family get-togethers, they later played at box suppers, corn shows, and church picnics. They chose to sing sad, sweet songs that caused the women in the audience to cry.
Donna's middle name is after Belle McCord, a midwife who assisted the physician at her birth. While growing up, Donna went by the nickname Donnabelle.
Donna's first press notice was in error when her hometown newspaper, The Denison Bulletin and Herald, announced a daughter was born to William and Hazel Mullenger on January 25, 1921. Donna was born January 27 of that year.
Donna Reed: (as her ABC television series, 'The Donna Reed Show,' entered its fifth season) I hate the term. To me the phrase "situation comedy" conjures up inane plots, blundering husbands, and overbearing TV wives. It's everything we try to avoid on our show.
Donna Reed: I'm fed up to here with stories about kooky, amoral or sick women. Hollywood and Broadway haven't always been so absorbed with these misfits. Greer Garson, Norma Shearer, Irene Dunn all played "unsick" women. But with the producers today, it has to be BUtterfield 8. I just don't believe the public wants a diet of these sick females. (1961)
Donna Reed: I hear "Donna Reed" and I get a picture of a tall, chic, austere blond, which isn't me. I've never liked that name. It has a cold sound. Donna Reed.
Donna Reed: (looking back on her first screen test) I was scared to death. They [MGM] signed me for $75 a week, but the only thought that spun around in my mind was "I don't want to marry an actor. I don't want to marry an actor."
Donna Reed: (referring to her comedy series, 'The Donna Reed Show') It sounds corny, I know, to say that I look upon this show as I look upon my family, but it's true. It didn't start out that way, but it's become that way.
Donna Reed: I have a theory. Show business is like government. The minute you have a dictator, you're in trouble. A dictator is his own worst enemy. He is surrounded by yes men, and "yes" is the only word he hears or listens to. Stars who insist on taking over and running there own shows --producing, directing, writing, casting, set designing, lighting and everything else–- never have anything but trouble.
Donna Reed: When you handle yourself, use your head; when you handle others, use your heart.
Donna Reed: My TV series [The Donna Reed Show] certainly aggravated men. Hollywood producers were infuriated that Mom was equal and capable.
Donna Reed: (while filming the 1982 made-for-TV movie, 'Deadly Lessons') Working conditions are horrible, schedules are tighter and shorter than ever–- if you get the dialogue out, they print it. It all makes the care and time given my show years ago [The Donna Reed Show] seem like Gone with the Wind.
Donna Reed: (in a 1958 interview) There are maybe a dozen top leading men, and the pictures are all written for them. There are very few good roles for women. It seems now when a woman is starred, she is playing a domineering type or is completely addlepated.
Donna Reed: Forty pictures I was in, and all I can remember is "What bra will you be wearing today?"