Gloria Jean

Born in April 14th, 1926

From Buffalo, New York, USA

Gloria Jean Biography

Gloria Jean (born Gloria Jean Schoonover,) was an American actress and singer who starred or co-starred in films from 1939-1959, and made numerous radio, television, stage, and nightclub appearances. She is probably best rememberedfor her appearance with W.C. Fields in the film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. One of four daughters of Ferman and Eleanor Schoonover, the family was involved in her career, with sister Lois serving as stand-in for the actress and their father managing her career.

Gloria Jean was three years old when she first sang on radio, under the name "Baby Skylark." Under contract to Universal, she was given the leading role in the feature The Under-Pup. The film did well and Gloria Jean became instantly popular with moviegoers. Universal's publicity department initially claimed the singer was 11 years old instead of 13; her actual age was not well known for many decades.

She co-starred with Bing Crosby in If I Had My Way, then starred in the well-received A Little Bit of Heaven, which reunited her with many from the Under-Pup cast. When Gloria Jean's Universal contract expired at the end of 1944, her agent Eddie Sherman persuaded her against renewing it, citing the need for "a transition period to make the change from child to adult roles.

" This left Universal in a bind; the studio had already promised exhibitors three Gloria Jean pictures for the 1945 season. Universal solved the problem by rushing Gloria Jean through three final productions that had already been partially completed. The half-hour sequence from Flesh and Fantasy was expanded into a feature-length melodrama, Destiny; and scripts had already been prepared for Fairy Tale Murder (released in the United States as River Gang) and Easy to Look At.

After leaving Universal, Gloria Jean made personal appearances across America; the successful tour prompted a new tour of Europe. In England, her rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" (and the lyric "forgive us our debts") was taken by some critics as a pointed comment about America's lend-lease policy."It was all over the newspapers the next day, the story that I had come to London to insult Britons," said Gloria.

"I was devastated."Thus the European tour ended abruptly and Gloria Jean returned to Hollywood. Gloria Jean began appearing on TV shows like Hollywood Theatre Time, Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Colgate Comedy Hour, and Lux Video Theatre. Her best-known performances of the early 1950s are six Snader Telescriptions (three-minute musicals syndicated for television), later compiled into the TV series Showtime.

She also continued to appear in feature films, albeit low-budget ones. Wonder Valley was Gloria Jean's first color movie and is now a lost film. Her next feature was Air Strike, a minor military drama. Gloria Jean was hired by the owner of the Tahitian restaurant in Studio City, California as a hostess, greeting and seating dinner guests. She enjoyed the experience and occasionally ran the restaurant in her employer's absence.

Show-business patrons were surprised that a film star was now involved in restaurant work, resulting in sympathetic feature stories in the national press.

Filmography