Mala Powers - Biography - IMDb
Mala Powers Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (1)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in San Francisco, California, USA
Died in Burbank, California, USA  (complications from leukemia)
Birth NameMary Ellen Powers
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The daughter of a United Press executive, Mala Powers attended the Max Reinhardt Junior Workshop as a kid and fell in love with acting the first time she set foot on a stage. She made her film debut in Universal's 1942 Tough As They Come (1942) before actress Helene Thimig (Max Reinhardt's wife) convinced her to continue studying rather than become a child actress. Powers worked in radio ("Cisco Kid", "Red Ryder", "This Is Your F.B.I.", "Lux Radio Theater", "Screen Guild on the Air") and met actress Ida Lupino while working on the latter show; Lupino auditioned and approved Powers for the top role in Outrage (1950), made by Lupino's Filmmakers production company. Powers' promising career was derailed by illness in the early '50s; when she resumed work, it was as the "B queen" of Westerns and sci-fi flicks (and much TV). For many years she has been lecturing on and teaching the Michael Chekhov acting technique throughout the U.S.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Weaver <>

Family (1)

Spouse Morris Hughes Miller (17 May 1970 - 28 November 1989)  (his death)
Montague Max (Monte) Vanton (12 October 1954 - 24 September 1964)  (divorced)  (1 child)

Trivia (11)

She was a visiting professor at a number of universities.
Studying with Michael Chekhov in her early years, she later was one of the founders of the National Michael Chekhov Association and was considered a leading authority on his acting techniques. Additionally, she was the author of the book "Michael Chekhov on Theatre and the Art of Acting: The Five-Hour Master Class", and was the executrix of his estate.
While on a Christmas entertainment tour in Korea in 1951 she became ill and subsequently developed an allergy to the medication prescribed, which caused a blood disorder.
She had one child, Toren.
She was born Mary Ellen Powers on December 20, 1931, in San Francisco to journalist parents who moved to Hollywood after losing their jobs. She began training as an actress early on and at age 11 played in "Tough as They Come.".
Attending UCLA to study acting, she later taught acting using the Michael Chekhov method. Her last performance on stage occurred in 2003 at the Laguna Playhouse in a production of "Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood".
Best remembered film role was playing the lovely Roxanne opposite Oscar winner José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). Also known for playing a rape victim in the landmark Ida Lupino film Outrage (1950). A sensitive subject, rape had not yet been given such a frank treatment in films, due to censorship.
Howard Hughes took a strong interest in Powers and put her under contract at RKO in the early 1950s. When her film career declined, she continued on in radio, stage and TV.
Became very close friends with Ida Lupino, who directed Mala in her first big film, Outrage (1950). When Lupino died in 1995, Mala was the executrix of her estate.
Special guest at 2004 Palm Springs Film Noir ceremony.
Is one of twelve actors who played both the victim, the defendant, and the murderer in various episodes of Perry Mason (1957).

Personal Quotes (1)

[from a 1990 interview] No, I'm not pleased with my career; yes, I am pleased with my life. I just loved good roles: I would love to have done great big roles in great big "A" pictures, roles that had meat in them. Would any actress not like to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939)? From a career standpoint, of course that's what I would like to have done. It never quite happened for me that way, but I had some wonderfully satisfying experiences, I learned a tremendous lot, I had a marvelous teacher, and who knows what'll happen at this point? I don't necessarily know that I've finished with acting.

Salary (1)

The Yellow Mountain (1954) $5,500

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