Gloria Swanson (March 27, 1897 - April 4, 1983) was an American actress. Born Gloria May Josephine Svensson in Chicago, Illinois, she grew up in Chicago, Key West, Florida and Puerto Rico. Her film debut was in 1915, as an extra in The Fable of Elvira and Farina and the Meal Ticket, but she was a star by the next year, in A Dash of Courage. She played many Mack Sennett slapstick comedies, but in 1919 she signed with Cecil B. DeMille, and he turned her into a romantic lead.
She married actor Wallace Beery in 1916; they divorced in 1919. She married Herbert K. Somborn, owner of the Brown Derby restaurant, in 1919: their daughter Gloria was born in 1920: they divorced in 1923. Her third husband was a French aristocrat, Henri de La Falaise, Marquis de La Falaise, in 1925. He became a film executive. She conceived a child with him, and had an abortion, which she says, in her autobiography, Swanson on Swanson, she regretted. This marriage ended in divorce in 1930 (La Falaise then married actress Constance Bennett), as Swanson began her affair with Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr, the father of President John F. Kennedy. The elder Kennedy produced Swanson's Queen Kelly, which was directed by Eric von Stroheim. When Swanson starred in the 1950 Sunset Blvd, it is scenes of Queen Kelly that her character, Norma Desmond, is watching (with von Stroheim playing her butler).
In 1931, Swanson married Michael Farmer; although frequently described as a "sportsman," the only evidence of his prowess was his frequent betrothals. Their marriage produced a daughter Michelle Bridget Farmer, and ended in divorce in 1934. In 1945 Swanson married William N. Davy: they divorced 1946. Swanson's final marriage was to William Dufty (author of Lady Sings the Blues) in 1976.
Swanson made it into the talkies, even singing in Music in the Air, and she hosted a television anthology series, Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson, in which she occasionally acted. Her last Hollywood movie was Three for Bedroom C in 1952, although she did appear in the Italian movie Mio figlio Nerone. Her last acting role was in the television horror film Killer Bees in 1974, though she also appeared as herself in the movie Airport 1975 which was also released in 1974.
Academy Award Nominations
New York City.
She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for motion pictures at 6748 Hollywood Blvd. and one for television at 6301 Hollywood Blvd.