Imagine what the face of cinema would look like if the sweet and virginal Mary Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ had been played by comedienne Jean Arthur instead of the endearing and motherly Donna Reed. Arthur, who was known for sassy roles in ‘You Can’t Take it With You’ and ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ turned down the role because she was already committed to a Broadway show. Thankfully, this allowed Ms. Reed to make her own indelible mark on iconic motherhood.