Dona Drake Parents, Age, Height, Husband, Ethnicity, Daughter

Dona Drake Parents

Dona Drake, born Eunice Westmoreland, was the daughter of Joseph Andrew Westmoreland and Novella Smith Westmoreland. Her parents were both of African-American descent, though various census records have inconsistently documented their racial identity, reflecting the complex racial landscape of the United States during their lifetimes. This inconsistency played a significant role in Dona Drake’s career and personal identity, as she navigated the entertainment industry during a time when racial prejudice was rampant.

Dona Drake Facts

NameDona Drake
Date of BirthNovember 15, 1914
Date of DeathJune 20, 1989
Birth PlaceMiami, Florida, U.S.
Profession/OccupationActress, Singer, Dancer
Father NameJoseph Andrew Westmoreland
Mother NameNovella Smith Westmoreland
Marital statusMarried
Husband/WifeWilliam Travilla
ChildrenNia Novella Travilla
Sister/BrotherFour siblings
Net Worth
Dona Drake

Dona Drake’s Early Life

Dona Drake was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in a family that moved to Philadelphia, where her father ran a restaurant. This environment provided her early exposure to the entertainment industry, as she performed for restaurant patrons. Her early life was marked by her family’s efforts to navigate and challenge the racial classifications imposed upon them.

Dona Drake Parents

Dona Drake Father

Joseph Andrew Westmoreland, Dona Drake’s father, was originally from Arkansas. He moved his family to Philadelphia, where he operated a restaurant. This business became a family affair and a cultural hub, which likely influenced Dona’s early interest in performance and music.

Dona Drake’s Mother

Novella Smith Westmoreland, Dona’s mother, was from Alabama. She played a crucial role in her family, supporting her husband’s business and nurturing their children in a complex racial environment. Her heritage and the racial identity she passed on to her children were significant in shaping their lives and careers.

Dona Drake’s Personal Life

Dona Drake Age

Dona Drake was born on November 15, 1914, and passed away on June 20, 1989, making her 74 years old at the time of her death.

Dona Drake Height

Dona Drake’s height is not well-documented, reflecting the era’s focus on her performances and public persona rather than personal details.

Dona Drake Husband

Dona Drake was married to William Travilla, a renowned costume designer, in 1944. Their marriage lasted until she died in 1989, though they reportedly separated in 1956 but never divorced.

Dona Drake’s Ethnicity

Dona Drake was African-American. Throughout her career, she passed as Mexican or of Latin heritage due to the racial dynamics and discrimination in Hollywood at the time.

Dona Drake’s Daughter

Dona and William Travilla had one daughter, Nia Novella Travilla, born in 1951. Nia passed away in 2002 without having children.

Dona Drake’s Cause of Death

Dona Drake died from pneumonia and respiratory failure on June 20, 1989, in Los Angeles, California.

Dona Drake Carrier

Dona Drake’s professional life was marked by her roles in films during the 1940s, where she often played ethnic roles due to her ability to pass for different ethnicities. Her career included performances in notable films such as “Road to Morocco” and “Beyond the Forest.” She was also a talented singer and dancer, leading her all-girl band in the early 1940s.


What was Dona Drake mixed with?

Dona Drake was of African-American descent, though she often passed for Mexican or Latin American in her professional life due to societal pressures and racial discrimination in Hollywood.

What happened to Dona Drake?

Dona Drake passed away on June 20, 1989, due to pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Did Dona Drake pass for White?

Dona Drake passed for Mexican, which at the time was considered more socially acceptable in certain professional contexts within Hollywood, rather than passing directly as white.

What happened to Nia Travilla?

Nia Travilla, Dona Drake’s only child, passed away on October 1, 2002. She did not have any children.

When was Dona Drake Died?

Dona Drake died on June 20, 1989, in Los Angeles, California.


Dona Drake’s parents, Joseph Andrew Westmoreland and Novella Smith Westmoreland played a pivotal role in shaping her life and career. Born into a segregated society that rigidly enforced racial boundaries, they made the difficult decision to move their family in search of a better life, first to Philadelphia and then supporting Dona’s move to New York City to pursue her dreams. Their willingness to navigate and adapt to the complexities of racial identity in America allowed Dona to achieve success in the entertainment industry, albeit at the cost of hiding her true heritage. Their story is a testament to the love and sacrifices parents make for their children’s futures, highlighting the lengths to which they went to provide Dona with opportunities they could only dream of.

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