Singer/dancer/actress in films, theater and television
Born in Los Angeles, California on July 23, 1924. Her parents were popular vaudeville performers, and appeared in some silent films. Gloria studied at the Ken-Mar Professional school in Hollywood, and found bit parts in The Great Dictator (Chaplin) and several MGM films. She also sang with Bob Crosby’s Orchestra.
Gloria was teamed with June Allyson in early appearances at MGM, including Best Foot Forward and Thousands Cheer. They were subsequently teamed in the hit film Two Girls and a Sailor. After that film, June Allyson’s career began to take off, but Gloria married John Payne and left pictures for several years. She gave birth to her daughter Kathleen in 1945, then returned to MGM to play across from Mickey Rooney in Summer Holiday (finally released in 1948).
Gloria’s son Thomas was born in 1947, and Gloria took more time off, but returned to MGM to play across from Van Johnson in Scene of the Crime (1949) and (on loan to Universal) with Donald O’Connor in Yes Sir, That’s My Baby (1949). She divorced John Payne in 1950. She played her real-life mother in a cameo appearance in Three Little Words (1950), singing “Who’s Sorry Now?”, (a Connie Francis hit just a few years later). In 1950, Gloria also played Judy Garland’s sister in Summer Stock, one of her best roles.
After several more films, Gloria moved to New York and took up stage work. She appeared in stock productions of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Oliver and The Sound of Music and appeared on a number of television shows. In 1957 she married again and had two more children – Harry (born 1958) and Faith (born 1952).
Gloria returned to the screen in the 1997 Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau flick, Out to Sea (20th Century-Fox).