(b 14 April 1926)
1926 Family moved from Buffalo, New York to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where her father established a music store.
1931 At age 5 in was discovered that she had a voice, and she began singing locally.
1938 At age twelve, Gloria was taken to an audition by Universal director Joe Pasternak, who was looking for a new child singer to replace studio icon Deanna Durbin, who was being steered into adult and ingénue roles.
1939 At age 13 she made her first movie, “The Under-Pup
”. (Universal presented her as an 11 year old )
1940 her next movie was “If I had My Way
”. Her one solo in the movie was “Little Grey Home in The West” which was cut out of the movie, and so were her verses of “ The Pessimistic Character”. Gloria`s favourite “A Little Bit Of Heaven
” was made the same year.
1941 “Never Give a Sucker An Even Break
”. A comedy featuring W.C.Fields. This was very successful and is readily available on DVD. This movie features “Estrellita” which Gloria feels is her best song.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtqfQJHbh7M
A series of lively “Teen” movies followed over the next couple of years
1943 Gloria was to star in one of four episodes of the Julien Duvivier's "Flesh and Fantasy
," alongside such stars as Edward G. Robinson, Charles Boyer, and Barbara Stanwyck. Gloria was a blind girl who met up with “bad guy” Cliff. Cliff killed Gloria`s father, and tried to take over Gloria and the farm. There was a storm and Gloria fled. Trees parted there branches to allow her safe passage and flicked back to hinder the evil Cliff, who ultimately was swept away in the swollen river. At the preview Gloria received rave reviews. The entire episode was deleted from the finished movie supposedly because the movie was too long.Gloria`s biographers tell a different story.
An unnamed influential stockholder pressured Universal into removing Gloria Jean`s footage from “Flesh And Fantasy”.
Four movies and over a year later, the footage from “Flesh And Fantasy
” was expanded and included in “Destiny
”. Cliff was now a good guy who had been wrongly sent to prison. He did not shoot Gloria`s father. He shot himself accidentally. They ended up in one another`s arms.
The Initial removal of Gloria`s performance from “Flesh And Fantasy”, It`s transformation into a bottom-of-the-bill B picture, the misleading publicity campaign, the badly timed release date and the film being superseded by a much bigger production seem to add up to a deliberate effort to sabotage the film`s success. Who would want the film to fail, and why? Universal would gain nothing by spending time and money to salvage the Duvivier footage, then sending the resulting feature film into oblivion. The Universal publicists, if left to their own devices, certainly would have created a more effective campaign along the usual lines.
If the film itself was not the target, could it`s sabotage have been aimed at an individual? It would have mattered little to Julien Duvivier who had already left both the project and the studio behind. If the idea was to discredit writer Roy Chanslor, director Reginald Le Borg, or producer Roy William Neill, it didn`t work; all three men continued their associations with the studio.
By process of elimination, the target appears to be Gloria Jean: was it possible that someone of influence at Universal did not want her to succeed as a dramatic actress?
Who altered the course of Destiny
? A likely suspect would be someone whose own career could be threatened or surpassed if Gloria`s professional status grew, who wielded enough clout to affect editing, production and publicity decisions at the studio---The same interfering stockholder who truncated Flesh And Fantasy.Destiny
is at once Gloria`s greatest professional disappointment and her favourite performance.
1963 Retired from acting and took up a position with cosmetics firm Redken. She remained with Redken for 30 years.
Gloria now lives with her son in Hawaii.