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Gloria Jean

Gloria Jean

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Also Known As: Gloria Jean Schoonover Died:
Born: April 14, 1926 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Buffalo, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer, switchboard operator, receptionist, restaurant hostess

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Groomed by Universal Pictures as a potential successor to Deanna Durbin, Gloria Jean never did supplant the better-known singing starlet in the hearts of moviegoers during World War II, but enjoyed a star ascendancy all her own. Pennsylvania's own Baby Skylark had been selected by producer Joe Pasternak to star in Universal's summer musical "The Under-Pup" (1939) and audiences immediately warmed to the 11-year-old newcomer, whose lilting soprano voice was offset by a refreshingly middle-class demeanor. Often cast as an underprivileged youth at odds with her societal betters, Jean sailed through a string of wartime songfests aimed at lifting homefront morale, teaming with hoofer Donald O'Conner for "What's Cookin'" (1942) and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (1943), and with jazz drummer Mel Tormé for "Pardon My Rhythm" (1944). As she edged towards the edge of consent, Jean's status as Shirley Temple-style Li'l Miss Fixit declined and the studio shoehorned her into vehicles largely unworthy of her talents, including the Olsen and Johnson farce "Ghost Catchers" (1944) and the dockside crime drama "The River Gang" (1945). Unable to regain her celebrity footing on the big screen or in the burgeoning...

Groomed by Universal Pictures as a potential successor to Deanna Durbin, Gloria Jean never did supplant the better-known singing starlet in the hearts of moviegoers during World War II, but enjoyed a star ascendancy all her own. Pennsylvania's own Baby Skylark had been selected by producer Joe Pasternak to star in Universal's summer musical "The Under-Pup" (1939) and audiences immediately warmed to the 11-year-old newcomer, whose lilting soprano voice was offset by a refreshingly middle-class demeanor. Often cast as an underprivileged youth at odds with her societal betters, Jean sailed through a string of wartime songfests aimed at lifting homefront morale, teaming with hoofer Donald O'Conner for "What's Cookin'" (1942) and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (1943), and with jazz drummer Mel Tormé for "Pardon My Rhythm" (1944). As she edged towards the edge of consent, Jean's status as Shirley Temple-style Li'l Miss Fixit declined and the studio shoehorned her into vehicles largely unworthy of her talents, including the Olsen and Johnson farce "Ghost Catchers" (1944) and the dockside crime drama "The River Gang" (1945). Unable to regain her celebrity footing on the big screen or in the burgeoning medium of television, Jean quit showbiz to help found Redken Cosmetics, where she remained for 30 years. Retired to Hawaii in 2007, Jean seemed at peace with her legacy as a Hollywood also-ran, albeit one who did more than her share to lift American spirits during the dark days of the Second World War.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Universal Horror (1998) Interviewee
2.
 The Ladies' Man (1961) Gloria
3.
 Air Strike (1955) Marg Huggins
4.
 Wonder Valley (1953) Sweetheart
5.
 There's a Girl in My Heart (1950) Ruth Kroner
6.
 An Old-Fashioned Girl (1949) Polly Milton
7.
 Manhattan Angel (1949) Gloria Cole
8.
 I Surrender Dear (1948) Patty Nelson, also known as Patty Hart
9.
 Copacabana (1947) Anne
10.
 Easy to Look At (1945) [Judith] Judy [Dawson]
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania
1929:
Began taking singing lessons (date approximate)
1938:
Went to NYC to audition for an opera production; also auditioned for movie producer Joseph Pasternak
1939:
Put under contract by Universal
1939:
Feature debut in the musical "The Under-Pup"
1940:
Starred in "A Little Bit of Heaven", a sequel to her film debut
1941:
Appeared with W C Fields in "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break"
1944:
Featured in the all-star "Follow the Boys"
1944:
First "adult" role, "Reckless Age"
1944:
Had first dramatic part in "Destiny", playing a blind woman
1945:
Last film for Universal "EAsy to Look At"
1945:
Toured the USA as a singer
1947:
Appeared in "Copacabana" with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda
1950:
Went blonde for role in "There's a Girl in My Heart"
1961:
Hired by Jerry Lewis for "The Ladies Man"
1963:
Final feature "The Madcaps"
:
Went to work at a cosmetics firm
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Family close complete family listing

sister:
Lois Schoonover. Stand-in. Worked as stand-in for sister; died in 1985.
son:
Angelo.

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