Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 776-778. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

Cited Beyond the Rocks (1922) as one of her favorite films from her silent career.

Claimed to have detested writing her autobiography.

Daughter Gloria Swanson Somborn (born October 7, 1920) with Herbert K. Somborn. Died of brain cancer on December 11, 2000 at age 80.

During the early 1920s she had a falling-out with close friend Blanche Sweet. The dispute was over a man, and Sweet never forgave her.



Gloria Swanson was the first star to win back-to-back Oscar nominations, for "Sadie Thompson" in 1929 and for "The Trespasser" in 1930.

Godmother of director/writer Dirk Wayne Summers, and had signed to appear in The Great Sex War (1969), a film he was producing in Mexico. However, Swanson and her soon to be husband, William Dufty, took it upon themselves (without being asked) to rewrite the screenplay. The "changes" in the script that Swanson desired were not ones that Summers wanted to include, so they mutually released each other from their contracts. This did not impact their close relationship, apparently. Swanson accompanied Summers to Mexico for a location scouting trip.

Hated acting in slapstick comedy, which was pretty much all of her early career.

Her last husband, William Dufty, was a well-known author of books and a few screenplays, such as Lady Sings the Blues (1972), the Billie Holiday story. It was Dufty, translator of "You Are All Sanpaku," by George Ohsawa, who was influenced by Swanson to take an interest in health and become involved in holistic-health related literature.

Her performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950) is ranked #31 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Her performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950) is ranked #69 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Known for her extravagant lifestyle, it was reported that she earned $8,000,000 between 1918 and 1929 and spent nearly all of it. By the time of her death in 1983, her gross estate was valued at just over $1,440,000.

Met her third husband, the Marquis (or "Marquess") Henri de la Falaise, when he worked as her interpreter in France on Madame Sans-Gêne (1924) .

Mother of a biological daughter, Gloria, by her second husband, and also of an adopted son, Joseph Patrick, whom everyone thought (erroneously) was named for her lover at the time, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (father/founder of the Kennedy political clan).

Mother of Michele Bridget Farmer, her second and final daughter and child, (aka Michele Farmer)(she was born on April 5, 1932) with Michael Farmer.

One of her best friends was the actress Lois Wilson .

One of the most popular sketches on The Carol Burnett Show was called "Nora Desmond" -- which was Burnett's send-up of Gloria Swanson's character Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

Second husband Herbert K. Somborn ran Hollywood's legendary Brown Derby restaurant from 1926 until his death in 1934.

She cited Madame Sans-Gêne (1924) (now lost) as her personal favorite of all her films.

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6748 Hollywood Boulevard and another for television at 6301 Hollywood Boulevard.

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