Wanna-be actors from across the U.S. are learning more about the craft this week in the western Iowa town of Denison — the hometown of a late Hollywood star. Gwen Ecklund, executive director of the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts, says this is the 19th annual actor’s workshop and festival, which is also attracting a number of celebrities.
Besides the T.V. show that bore her name during the 1950s and 60s, Reed appeared in more than 40 films, including the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “From Here to Eternity” for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Ecklund says Reed was dedicated to pursue her Hollywood stardom.
She left Denison for Los Angeles at age 16 by train, went to business school, was discovered there and started her film career. Ecklund explains the origins of the festival.
When Reed died of cancer in 1986, her family and friends started the on-going workshop program to honor her passion for the performing arts and young people. For more information on Reed or the workshop, surf to “www.donnareed.org”. The festival runs through Saturday.