Family & Companions
One of the hardest-working and best-liked stars at Warner Bros. during the 1930s, Glenda Farrell embodied the brassy blonde character of the early talkies. Like her good friend and frequent costar Joan Blondell, Farrell was a hard-boiled, wise-cracking type who usually played chorines, gold-diggers or working girls. Farrell made her mark in the movies opposite Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar (1931), Paul Muni in I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) and Lionel Atwill in Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933). She starred with Blondell and Dick Powell in Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), which was nominated for an Oscar® for Busby Berkeley's dance direction.
Farrell (1904-1971) was born in Enid, Okla., and began acting onstage at the age of seven. She continued her education while acting with various theater companies and on Broadway before signing a contract with First National Pictures (which had merged with Warner Bros.) in 1930. Among her other successes at Warners was a series of films in which she played "girl reporter" Torchy Blane, beginning with Smart Blonde (1937). After her Warners contract ended in 1939, Farrell returned to stage work but also continued as a character actress in such films as The Talk of the Town (1942). She remained active in movies and television through 1970.
By Roger Fristoe
Cast (Feature Film)
Made Broadway debut, replacing the leading lady in "Skidding"
Film acting debut (bit) in "Lucky Boy"
First major film role in "Little Caesar"
Starred on Broadway as the mother in "Forty Carats"