Donna Fargo was born in Chicago on August 14, 1917. Around age two, she moved to Beverly Hills with her family and later attended Beverly Hills High School. She had small parts in the second “Our Gang” series. Because of her expert horsemanship and athleticism, she became a stunt woman in Hollywood for many years. Her biggest claim to fame was standing in for Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara during the buggy scene driving through the burning streets of Atlanta with Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind”. After her mother died, she moved to New York as a radio show host and was a radio and TV reporter.
After World War II, she moved back to California and took over her father’s company that supplied drafting equipment to the armed forces and defense industries. Then she and her long-time friend, Lois Landon, started a new firm called Telefex, which adapted the rear projection process used in films to television. Donna and Lois moved to the Conejo Valley in the ‘50s, began working in real estate offices, and opened a publishing office. They published a weekly newspaper for a while as well as the Conejo Valley Business Directory, maps, books and brochures.
Donna became very involved in the community, volunteering with many organizations. She was a founding member of the group that developed the Conejo Valley Days events. The popular “Badgeroo Contest” was her fund raising idea. She always drove her 1930 Model A pickup truck named “Queenie” or rode her horse in the Conejo Valley Days parade. Donna was also instrumental in saving the Stagecoach Inn from destruction in 1964 and was an active member of the CVHS Board of Trustees. She was selected as Dona Triunfo at the Fiesta del Triunfo in 1977.
Donna was famous around the Conejo and was always dressed western wear style with boots, cowboy hat and a vest covered with badges from Conejo Valley Days and pins from local clubs. Her favorite saying was, “Let’s give it a try!” whenever a new idea was suggested.
Donna died on July 22, 1984 after a courageous battle with cancer. Her pickup, “Queenie,” was donated to the Museum and now rests in “Queenie’s Garage,” located on the back left side of the Carriage House. Queenie is still in good working order and runs quite well, thanks to the continued efforts of the local Model A Club. She is brought out on several occasions each year for special functions. Also in the garage are several pieces of memorabilia about Donna “Conejo” Fargo.