'Iwo Jima' actress Adele Mara dies at 87

Appeared in films with John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry

Adele Mara, a film and TV actress who played opposite John Wayne in 1949's "Sands of Iwo Jima," died May 7 of natural causes at her home in Pacific Palisades. She was 87.

Mara, a dancer with Xavier Cugat and his orchestra in Detroit by the age of 15, was spotted by a Columbia talent scout in New York and signed in 1942.

The brown-eyed Spanish-American brunette went on to play brisk leading ladies in such 1942 B-movies as "Vengeance of the West" with Tex Ritter and "Alias Boston Blackie" starring Chester Morris.

A few years later, Mara was transformed into a sexy platinum blonde pin-up after signing up with Republic Studios and appeared as senoritas opposite Roy Rogers in "Bells of Rosarita" (1945) and Gene Autry in "Twilight on the Rio Grande" (1947).

She also appeared in crime dramas including 1947 pics "Blackmail" and "Web of Danger" and in adventures "Wake of the Red Witch" (1948) with Wayne and "The Avengers" (1950).

Arguably her best parts would come with "Angel in Exile (1948) and "Iwo Jima." Her last big-screen appearance was in "The Big Circus" (1959) starring Victor Mature.

Mara was married to prolific TV producer Roy Huggins, and she appeared in a number of his series, including "77 Sunset Strip" and "Maverick." Huggins died in 2002.

Survivors include sons Thomas, John, James and their families.
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