Born Mary Ellen Powers on December 20, 1931, in San Francisco, actress Mala Powers moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1940. She harbored a love of acting from an early age, appearing in her first film, the Universal crime drama Tough As They Come (1942; with Billy Halop, Paul Kelly, and Huntz Hall) at the age of eleven. Powers opted to wait on making more films and instead spent her formative years studying acting and working in radio. While still a teenager she landed plum roles in her first three credited film roles: Edge of Doom (1950; with Dana Andrews and Adele Jergens), Outrage (1950; with Robert Clarke), and Cyrano de Bergerac (1950; with Jose Ferrer). Under contract with RKO, Powers fell ill during a USO entertainment tour in Korea in 1951, and the treatment she received nearly killed her. Her illness devastated her promising film career, which never really recovered. When she was well enough to stand in front of the cameras again, she had to rebuild her career, primarily in B westerns, such as Rage at Dawn (1955; with Randolph Scott and Forrest Tucker), and science fiction thrillers, including The Unknown Terror (1957; with John Howard) and The Colossus of New York (1958; with Otto Kruger, Ross Martin, and Robert Hutton). When film roles began to dry up in the late 1950s, Powers went to television, where she guest-starred on many popular programs including Maverick, Sugarfoot, Perry Mason, and Bewitched. Powers also acted on the Broadway stage in the mid 1960s in the comedy Absence of a Cello.

the films of mala powers

Edge of Doom (1950)

Farley Granger and Mala Powers

With Farley Granger in the RKO noir thriller Edge of Doom

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Jose Ferrer and Mala Powers

From the United Artists drama Cyrano de Bergerac with Jose Ferrer

Rose of Cimarron (1952)

Mala Powers and Bill Williams

With Bill Williams in the B-western Rose of Cimarron

City Beneath the Sea (1953)

Mala PowersMala Powers, Robert Ryan, Anthony Quinn, and Suzan Ball

LEFT: From the Universal-International adventure City Beneath the Sea. RIGHT: With Robert Ryan, Anthony Quinn, and Suzan Ball

City That Never Sleeps (1953)

Mala Powers and Gig Young

With Gig Young in the solid Republic film noir release City That Never Sleeps

The Yellow Mountain (1954)

Mala PowersMala Powers and Lex Barker

LEFT: As Nevada Wray in the Universal-International western The Yellow Mountain. RIGHT: With Lex Barker

Death in Small Doses (1957)

Peter Graves and Mala Powers

With Peter Graves in the Allied Artists drama Death in Small Doses

Man on the Prowl (1957)

Mala Powers and James Best

With James Best in United Artists' film noir release Man on the Prowl

The Storm Rider (1957)

Scott Brady and Mala Powers

With Scott Brady in the western The Storm Rider

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)

Mala Powers

Powers as Barbara Bissle in the Universal-International romance Tammy and the Bachelor

The Colossus of New York (1958)

Mala Powers

From the Paramount science fiction effort The Colossus of New York

Daniel Boone (1960-1961 ABC-TV miniseries)

Dewey Martin and Mala Powers

With Dewey Martin in the Disney miniseries Daniel Boone

Fear No More (1961)

Mala Powers and Jacques Bergerac

With Jacques Bergerac in the low-budget noir Fear No More

Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1969)

Mala Powers

Powers as Meg Stone in the independently produced thriller Daddy's Gone A-Hunting

later years

Following her first marriage which ended in 1964, Powers remarried in 1970, this time to publisher M. Hughes Miller. After her second marriage, she cooled her acting career and focused instead on a teaching career using the Chekhov method, and she became a well-respected and sought-after acting coach and teacher at the college level. Powers passed away after a bout with leukemia on June 11, 2007, and was survived by a son, Toren Vanton, from her first marriage.

mala powers films available from


Hitters (2002) with Robert Davi, Costas Mandylor, and Frank Stallone
Where the Wind Dies (1976) with John Russell and Tippi Hedren
Doomsday Machine (1972) with Bobby Van, Ruta Lee, James Craig, Grant Williams, Denny Miller, Henry Wilcoxon, Casey Kasem, and Mike Farrell
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1969) with Walter Brooke, Paul Burke, Barry Cahill, Scott Hylands, Andrea King, and Dennis Patrick
Rogues' Gallery (1968) with Roger Smith, Farley Granger, Richard Arlen, Edgar Bergen, Brian Donlevy, Johnnie Ray, Dennis Morgan, Jackie Coogan, and Marcia Mae Jones
Flight of the Lost Balloon (1961) with Marshall Thompson
Fear No More (1961) with Jacques Bergerac and Peter Brocco
Sierra Baron (1958) with Brian Keith, Rick Jason, Rita Gam, and Steve Brodie
The Colossus of New York (1958) with John Baragrey, Charles Herbert, Robert Hutton, Otto Kruger, and Ross Martin
Man on the Prowl (1957) with James Best, Ted de Corsia, and Jerry Paris
Death in Small Doses (1957) with Peter Graves, Chuck Connors, and Merry Anders
The Unknown Terror (1957) with John Howard
Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with Debbie Reynolds, Leslie Nielsen, Walter Brennan, Mildred Natwick, Fay Wray, Philip Ober, and Louise Beavers
The Storm Rider (1957) with Scott Brady and Bill Williams
Bengazi (1955) with Richard Conte, Victor McLaglen, Richard Carlson, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, and Hillary Brooke
Rage at Dawn (1955) with Randolph Scott, Forrest Tucker, J. Carrol Naish, Edgar Buchanan, Myron Healey, Denver Pyle, and Kenneth Tobey
The Yellow Mountain (1954) with Lex Barker, William Demarest, and Howard Duff
Geraldine (1953) with Jim Backus and Carolyn Jones
City That Never Sleeps (1953) with Gig Young, William Talman, Edward Arnold, Chill Wills, Marie Windsor, Paula Raymond, and Tom Poston
City Beneath the Sea (1953) with Robert Ryan, Anthony Quinn, Woody Strode, and Suzan Ball
Rose of Cimarron (1952) with Jack Buetel, Bill Williams, Jim Davis, and Lillian Bronson
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) with Jose Ferrer
Outrage (1950) with Tod Andrews, Robert Clarke, Hal March, Jerry Paris, and Tristram Coffin
Edge of Doom (1950) with Dana Andrews, Farley Granger, Joan Evans, and Adele Jergens

Murder, She Wrote, episode Hannigan's Wake, originally aired October 28, 1990
Charlie's Angels, episode Antique Angels, originally aired May 10, 1978
Switch, episode Camera Angles, originally aired January 30, 1977
This Is the Life, episode Single Women's Problems, originally aired July 2, 1972
The Man and the City, episode Hands of Love, originally aired September 15, 1971
The Silent Force, episode Horse in a White Collar, originally aired November 9, 1970
Ironside, episode The People Against Judge McIntyre, originally aired October 8, 1970
Here Come the Brides, episode The Fetching of Jenny, originally aired December 5, 1969
Bewitched, episode Instant Courtesy, originally aired December 26, 1968
Bewitched, episode No Zip in My Zap, originally aired October 12, 1967
Gentle Ben, episode Hurricane Coming, originally aired September 10, 1967
Daniel Boone, episode When I Became a Man, I Put Away Childish Things, originally aired February 9, 1967
Mission: Impossible, episode The Reluctant Dragon, originally aired January 14, 1967
Jericho, episode Long Journey Across a Short Street, originally aired December 8, 1966
The Wild Wild West, episode The Night of the Big Blast, originally aired October 7, 1966
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Scarlet Scandal, originally aired February 20, 1966
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Virtue Affair, originally aired December 3, 1965
Hazel, episode Hazel's Second Week, originally aired September 20, 1965
Kraft Suspense Theatre, episode Portrait of an Unknown Man, originally aired April 16, 1964
Arrest and Trial, episode Those Which Love Has Made, originally aired April 12, 1964
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Frightened Fisherman, originally aired February 27, 1964
Dr. Kildare, episode A Willing Suspension of Disbelief, originally aired January 9, 1964
The Wide Country, episode The Man Who Ran Away, originally aired February 7, 1963
Hawaiian Eye, episode Maybe Menehunes, originally aired January 15, 1963
The Gallant Men, episode Signals for an End Run, originally aired December 7, 1962
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Weary Watchdog, originally aired November 29, 1962
Rawhide, episode A Woman's Place, originally aired March 30, 1962
77 Sunset Strip, episode Violence for Your Furs, originally aired March 30, 1962
Hawaiian Eye, episode Meeting on Molokai, originally aired March 21, 1962
Everglades, episode Rowboat Teacher, originally aired March 19, 1962
Thriller, episode The Bride Who Died Twice, originally aired March 19, 1962
Everglades, episode Black Honeymoon, originally aired February 5, 1962
The Bob Cummings Show, episode Very Warm for Mayan, originally aired October 12, 1961
Cheyenne, episode Trouble Street, originally aired October 2, 1961
Lawman, episode Blind Hate, originally aired May 14, 1961
General Electric Theater, episode The Joke's on Me, originally aired April 16, 1961
Surfside 6, episode The Impractical Joker, originally aired March 13, 1961
Maverick, episode Dutchman's Gold, originally aired January 22, 1961
Lock Up, episode The Sisters, originally aired November 12, 1960
The Man and the Challenge, episode Shooter McLaine, originally aired May 21, 1960
Sugarfoot, episode The Corsican, originally aired April 12, 1960
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Crying Cherub, originally aired April 9, 1960
Bronco, episode Montana Passage, originally aired April 5, 1960
Hawaiian Eye, episode Kim Quixote, originally aired March 30, 1960
Cheyenne, episode Alibi for a Scalped Man, originally aired March 7, 1960
The Rebel, episode Take Dead Aim, originally aired March 6, 1960
Tombstone Territory, episode Female Killer, originally aired February 12, 1960
Bourbon Street Beat, episode The Golden Beetle, originally aired December 14, 1959
Bonanza, episode The Phillip Diedesheimer Story, originally aired October 31, 1959
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Deadly Toy, originally aired May 16, 1959
The Restless Gun, episode The Lady and the Gun, originally aired January 19, 1959
The Restless Gun, episode Take Me Home, originally aired December 29, 1958
Wanted: Dead or Alive, episode Til Death Do Us Part, originally aired November 8, 1958
Wagon Train, episode The Ruttledge Munroe Story, originally aired May 21, 1958
Matinee Theatre, episode Elementals, originally aired October 31, 1957
Zane Grey Theater, episode Black Is for Grief, originally aired April 12, 1957
On Trial, episode The Fourth Witness, originally aired December 21, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Face, originally aired March 29, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Husband, originally aired October 13, 1955
Appointment with Adventure, episode Minus Three Thousand, originally aired April 3, 1955
Studio 57, episode The Bewildered Bride, originally aired January 4, 1955

mala powers film now showing

Watch Mala Powers' 1972 science fiction film Doomsday Machine

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