She suffered from severe polio at age nine and it took three years before she was able to walk again. According to Brad Richards' full-length article on Mari in the Spring 2013 issue of "Films of the Golden Age", she credits the courage and obstinacy of her mother, a psychotherapist, for pulling her through. Her mother did not permit braces or injections but instead used Hawaiian massages and three-times-a-day hot-water soakings. Mari claimed that her first year was spent in a wheelchair and that she progressed to crutches in the second. By the third year she was back in school and had no ill effects whatsoever.
One of the few actresses who diligently answered all her own fan mail.
Her father worked in the oil and mining business.
At age 17 she ran away from home to join the Cole Brothers Circus and learned how to ride elephants, perform bareback on horses and fly on the trapeze bar. Her mother found her and took her back home.
Mari's beautiful blue-eyed brunette (later blonde) looks and 36-25-36 figure became the inspiration for cartoonist Al Capp in creating his voluptuous character "Stupefyin' Jones" for the popular "L'il Abner" comic strip series.
Beautiful, worldly-looking American actress of 1950s Easterns and Westerns who typically played alluring harem girls and saloon dancers in "B" films.
Her name, along with those of June Allyson, Anita Ekberg and Zsa Zsa Gabor, was found in a "little brown book" kept by infamous gangster Johnny Stompanato, who was stabbed to death by Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane.
First husband, Reese Taylor Jr., was an L.A. lawyer whose first wife had given him four sons. When Mari announced she was pregnant in April 1960, two months into the marriage, he left her because he didn't want any more children. Mari lost the baby later that year.
Had a passion for animals. Her two Afghans and Chihuahua were all female. She was on location for Black Horse Canyon (1954) when she fell in love with a female baby burro--and took it home.
Battled cancer for over seven years. Was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.
An excellent swimmer, she won a number of swimming prizes. She later modeled bathing suits in southern California and then professionally in New York through the Conover Agency.
Appeared once in a bubble bath commercial ad for Kodak that appeared in "The Hollywood Reporter". A Paramount Pictures exec caught it and signed her to a film contract. She stayed with the studio for over a year but never did better than extra and bit parts.
During her life she had polio, peritonitis, a miscarriage, a broken nose, and cancer, the last of which essentially made her non-insurable for film work for the last seven years of her life.