Adele Mara, a 1940s Hollywood actress best remembered for her leading-lady role in the John Wayne war melodrama Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and for playing one of Rita Hayworth’s sisters in You Were Never Lovelier (1942), died on May 7 of “natural causes” at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades. She was 87.
Mara (born Adelaide Delgado on April 28, 1923, in Highland Park, Mich.) was discovered by bandleader Xavier Cugat (who played himself in You Were Never Lovelier). She began her Hollywood career at Columbia in the early 1940s, but shortly thereafter moved over to the third-rank Republic Pictures.
Despite her sixty or so film appearances throughout the ’40s, Mara never became a star. Instead, she was stuck playing leads and second leads (sometimes downright supporting parts) in B productions – usually Westerns – at Republic. Among her fellow players were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Dale Evans, Ann Savage, and Don ‘Red’ Barry.
Directed by Allan Dwan, the expensive (for Republic standards) flag-waving World War II melodrama Sands of Iwo Jima was her biggest film. Wayne and John Agar starred.
In 1953, Mara married television writer-producer Roy Huggins, among whose credits are 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick and The Fugitive. Mara sometimes guested in Huggins productions and in other TV shows until 1962. Huggins died in 2002.
Mara’s last appearance in front of the camera was in the television miniseries Wheels (1978), starring Rock Hudson and Lee Remick.