Gloria Jean

Gloria Jean

Infobox actor

caption =
birthname = Gloria Jean Schoonover
birthdate = birth date and age|1926|4|14
birthplace = Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
yearsactive = 1939-1962
othername =
occupation = Actress, Singer
Genre =
spouse = Franco Cellini (1962-1966) - divorced
website =
Gloria Jean (born Gloria Jean Schoonover on April 14, 1926 in Buffalo, New York) is an American singer and actress who starred or co-starred in 26 feature films between 1939 and 1959. She also made radio, television, stage, and nightclub appearances.


Her family moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she sang on radio with Paul Whiteman's band. She was being trained as the world's youngest coloratura soprano when her singing teacher, Leah Russel, took her to audition for movie producer Joe Pasternak in 1938. Gloria won the leading role in Universal Pictures' 1939 feature "The Under-Pup", and became one of the studio's reliable stars. She co-starred with Bing Crosby, W. C. Fields, Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan, Olsen and Johnson, Groucho Marx and a young Mel Tormé, in addition to playing leads in Universal's popular teenage musicals.

Her most widely seen performance is in 1941's "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break", opposite Fields. Her dramatic tour de force, as a blind girl being menaced by an escaped killer, was filmed for Julien Duvivier's "Flesh and Fantasy", but was deleted from the final cut. It was instead expanded into the 1944 melodrama, "Destiny". In her last two Universal features, released in 1945, she was teamed with singer-actor Kirby Grant.

When Gloria's Universal contract lapsed, she wanted to renew it but her agent arranged a busy schedule of personal appearances, across America and then in England. In 1946, she returned to Hollywood and resumed her movie career in United Artists, Columbia Pictures, and Allied Artists productions. Stage and television work followed in the 1950s; she starred or co-starred in occasional motion pictures (through 1959) and in filmed television dramas (through 1962). She retired from show business in 1963 and began a 30-year career with Redken Laboratories, a national cosmetics firm.

Gloria lived in California with her sister, Bonnie, until Bonnie's death in 2007. Gloria now resides in Hawaii, with her son and his family.

Gloria Jean's film work is beginning to receive more exposure: "If I Had My Way" has been restored to its original length and issued on DVD, followed by the DVD release of "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break". Universal Pictures has also struck new 35 mm prints of "Mister Big" and "Get Hep to Love" for theatrical use. Her 1947 film "Copacabana" is widely available on home video.

Her authorized biography, "Gloria Jean: A Little Bit of Heaven", was published in 2005.


External links

*imdb name|id= 0419849|name= Gloria Jean

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