In 1951 she had a job wrapping packages at Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills when she was spotted by a talent scout for Paramount, who signed her to a contract.
Look-a-likes of Murphy and Marlon Brando as their characters in The Wild One (1953) were used in the mid-'90s to advertise motorcycles. Oddly enough, the motorcycles advertised were Yamahas, and most of the motorcycles in the film were Triumphs and Harley-Davidsons.
Married briefly in 1956 to actor Dale Robertson, Mary remarried in 1962 to a Los Angeles lighting fixture retailer. They had one daughter.
She has the distinction of having appeared in films with the three male icons of the 20th century: Steve McQueen (in Junior Bonner (1972))), James Dean (in Sailor Beware (1952)) and, of course, Marlon Brando (in The Wild One (1953)).
Announced that she was free of thyroid cancer after undergoing surgery in December 2010 to remove a tumor from her thyroid [February 22, 2011].
According to an in-depth article on Mary by Joe Collura for the November 2010 issue of "Classic Images," Mary was working as a package wrapper at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills when she was stopped having lunch at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and discovered for films by Milton Lewis, Paramount head of talent.