Ilona Massey

Ilona Massey
Associated Press


Ilona Massey
Film: West side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Actress | Dancer | Singer
Born Ilona Hajmassy on June 16, 1910 in Budapest, Hungary
Died Aug. 20, 1974 in Bethesda Naval Hospital, Md.

Ilona Massey was a blond bombshell film star of the 1930s and 1940s with two trademarks audiences fell hard for: a soprano's voice and a natural beauty mark.

Massey was an almost instant success in Hollywood after her 1937 appearance in the Nelson Eddy musical "Rosalie" as a beautiful blond soprano. She appeared in a series of musicals and comedies, most notably, "Love Happy" (1949) with the Marx Brothers, "New Wine" (1941) and "Balalaika" (1939), another Nelson Eddy musical.

Massey's success in Hollywood was a long way from her humble beginnings, a childhood spent in poverty in Hungary. Singing opera was her way out. When she was performing in "Aida" in Czechoslovakia, Louis B. Mayer became captivated by her voice as she sang the high priestess' aria off-stage. He invited her to dinner and was pleased when he saw that the voice came in the package of a gorgeous beauty who could also dance.

Massey's fourth husband was retired Air Force Gen. Donald S. Dawson, a former White House aide to Harry S. Truman.

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