Daria Massey

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Daria Massey (born June 2, 1936) is an American actress and pioneer of multiracial representation in television and film during the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, of an Irish mother and Chinese father, Massey was adopted as an infant and reared by her maternal grandparents. She came to Hollywood at the age of six and made her film debut five years later in the Douglas Sirk drama Sleep, My Love. She had been discovered by director Sirk while visiting the studio lot one day and was persuaded to play the bit role of a bridesmaid in a Chinese wedding scene. From there she went on to credited parts in the anthology programs Fireside Theatre and Four Star Playhouse, along with the feature films I'll See You in My Dreams (1951 film) (1951) and The Iron Mistress (1952). She used her mother's maiden surname professionally rather than her father's family name, Chang.

During the early 1950s, Massey attended Hollywood Professional School. At the age of nineteen, she married David Carr, a young oil company executive. [1] When the marriage ended two years later, newspaper accounts reported that their divorce had resulted from Carr's objection to Massey playing "sexy roles." [2] By this time, she was working more steadily, off screen as a "cigarette and checkroom girl" at a small Hollywood nightclub called Slate Brothers, and on screen in guest shots on various television series, including Death Valley Days,Sky King, Playhouse 90, Wagon Train, Hong Kong, and Follow the Sun. [3]

For the 1960-61 television season, Massey landed a recurring role as Naja, a Balinese dancer, in The Islanders (TV series)|The Islanders, an hour-long adventure series set in the South Pacific. Among her most notable roles on the big screen were that of Zumila in the children's adventure film Sabu and the Magic Ring (1957), Gata in the Warner Bros. epic The Miracle (1959), and femme fatale Lita in the juvenile delinquency exploitation film High School Caesar (1960).

In 1961, Massey's real-life wedding, to stage manager David Joesting, was staged and captured on film for Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man. That marriage ended in divorce one year later. [4]

Massey's final credited role was in a 1963 episode of McHale's Navy, after which she retired from the acting profession.


  1. "TV Actress Tells of Her Engagement". Los Angeles Times. 7 February 1956.
  2. "Daria Massey Wins Divorce". Des Moines Tribune. 18 June 1958.
  3. "TV Star Also Cigarette Girl". Los Angeles Times. 24 March 1958.
  4. Johnson, Erskine (18 February 1961). "How Jerry Lewis Staged a Wedding Scene for Real". Los Angeles Mirror.

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