People We Love: Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson, March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983

Gloria Swanson, March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983

Actress, singer and producer, Gloria Swanson was born on this day in 1899.

Swanson was a prominet silent film era star and a fashion icon. Under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille she made dozens of silent films and became the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Swanson starred as Norma Desmond in the 1950 Sunset Boulevard. A role turned down by Mae West, Mary Pickford and Pola Negri. She was nominated for another Academy Award, but Judy Holliday won for Born Yesterday.

I think the first time I saw Gloria Swanson was actually on an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. In that episode Swanson is working with Mr. Drysdale to sell some of her belongings for charity. The Clampetts believe that she is destitute and being a big fan of the silent movies that still run back home with Cousin Pearl playing the piano they convince the studio to make another silent film with Swanson as the star.

Swanson was a devoted Lutheran and in 1964 following the Supreme Court decisions to remove prayer from schools, spoke at a rally alongside Walter Brennan, Lloyd Nolan, Rhonda Fleming, Pat Boone and Dale Evans in an effort to flood Congress with letters in favor of school prayer. Swanson said “Under God we became the freest, strongest, wealthiest nation on earty, Should we change that.?”

Swanson died in New York City on April 4, 1983. She was 84.

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