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Thread: Gloria Swanson

  1. #1
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    Gloria Swanson

    Gloria Swanson


    Gloria Swanson
    Born Gloria May Josephine Swanson
    March 27, 1899(1899-03-27)
    Chicago, Illinois Died April 4, 1983 (aged 84)
    New York City, New York Years active 1914 - 1981 Spouse(s) Wallace Beery (1916-1919)
    Herbert K. Somborn (1919-1922)
    Henri de la Falaise (1925-1931)
    Michael Farmer (1931-1934)
    George William Davey (1945-1948)
    William Dufty (1976-1983) Awards won Golden Globe Awards
    Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
    1951 Sunset Blvd
    Gloria Swanson (March 27, 1899 ‚?? April 4, 1983) was an Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe-winning American Hollywood actress. She was prolific during the silent film era, but her career declined with the advent of "talkies". She is now best known for her performance in the film Sunset Boulevard (1950), in which‚??mirroring her own life‚??she portrayed a former silent movie star largely forgotten by audiences of the day.


    Gloria Swanson died in New York City of natural causes at the age of 86; she was cremated and her ashes inurned at the Episcopal Church of Heavenly Rest on Fifth Ave in New York City.


    Marriages and relationships
    • She married actor Wallace Beery (1885-1949) in 1916. They divorced in 1919 with no children but according to Swanson she miscarried after Beery, encouraged by his mother, secretly gave her a poison intended to induce a miscarriage.
    • She married Herbert K. Somborn (1881-1934), then president of Equity Pictures Corporation and later the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant, in 1919. Their daughter, Gloria Swanson Somborn, was born in 1920. Their divorce, finalized in January 1925, was sensational. Somborn accused her of adultery with 13 men including Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino and Marshall Neilan. During this divorce in 1923 Swanson adopted a baby boy named Sonny Smith (1922-1975) and renamed him Joseph Patrick Swanson.
    • Her third husband was French aristocrat Henry de la Falaise, Marquis de la Falaise whom she married in 1925 after the Somborn divorce was finalized. He became a film executive representing Path√© in the United States. She conceived a child with him but had an abortion which she said (in her autobiography, Swanson on Swanson) she regretted. This marriage ended in divorce in 1931.
    • In August 1931, Swanson married Michael Farmer (1902-1975). Although frequently described as a sportsman the only evidence of the Irishman's prowess was his frequent betrothals. Unfortunately Swanson's divorce from La Falaise had not been finalized at the time, making the actress technically a bigamist. She was forced to remarry Farmer the following November, by which time she was four months pregnant with Michelle Bridget Farmer, who was born in 1932. The Farmers were divorced in 1934.
    • In 1945 Swanson married William N. Davey and they divorced in 1946. Little is known of Davey except that single mother Gloria married this rich man because young Michelle had been nagging her about wanting a father. According to Swanson, she and Davey actually cohabited forty-five days.
    • Swanson is also known as one of the first celebrities with an obsessed stalker. In the early 1950s she was pursued by a crazed World War II veteran, Samuel Golden. Golden claimed that the two were destined to be married and would give her 2/3 of his children as well as divulge secrets about the Navy's computer systems if she would run away with him. Recent declassified FBI documents disclose J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with seeing Golden tried for treason, but Golden somehow disappeared somewhere in the Boston area.
    • Swanson's final marriage was in 1976 and lasted until her death. Her sixth husband, writer William Dufty (1916-2002), was the co-author of Billie Holiday's autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, the author of Sugar Blues, a best-selling health book, and the author of the English version of Georges Ohsawa's You Are All Sanpaku. Swanson shared her husband's enthusiasm for macrobiotic diets.
    • Swanson had an affair with married tycoon Joseph Kennedy for a number of years. He became her business partner and their affair was an open secret in Hollywood circles.

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    I LOVE Gloria Swanson! I have some of her silents on DVD, wish I had more. Thanks for the info!!

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    She is one of my favorites...Such a classic Beauty and Sunset Blvd is one of my favorite movies ever... I watch it at least once a year.

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    Something that irritates me that I've read in print and heard reviewers say is that she basically played herself in Sunset Blvd. It's true she played a has been silent screen superstar (just as von Stroheim played a has been silent superstar director), but that's where it ends. Norma was filthy rich- Gloria was not (lost a fortune in producing her own films, the Depression, divorce settlements, and ironically her affair with supermillionaire Joe Kennedy) and did SUNSET BLVD largely for the money ($50,000 + back end). Norma was a complete recluse- Gloria appeared regularly on stage in NYC and frequently socialized. Norma deluded herself that she was still an ingenue superstar- Gloria had long since transitioned into character roles. Norma hated the very mention of sound in show business- Gloria had one of the first TV talk shows. Norma lives with a chimp and a butler, Gloria had kids and kept getting married. No real great similarities other than both were present at the Creation (of movies).
    The chimp on the other hand did play himself. Except the real one was alive, at least until he pissed off von Stroheim.

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    I read her biography and it was pretty interesting, especially the part about Joe Kennedy. Apparently, Gloria discovered that Joe spent her fortune during their relationship. (EVEN USING her money to buy her own gifts.) Joe also wanted a baby with her. Joe and Rose eventually reconciled and "Teddy" Kennedy was the result.

  6. #6
    I wish I had more of her silent films too! I loved her Autobiography. Wasn't there a big problem with casting the part of Norma Desmond because everyone they offered the role to seemed insulted about playing a "has been"? I love the house in the film. It's a shame it's not standing anymore. One of my childhood fantasies was to live in that house. I still tell myself that if I ever become a zillionairess I'll build a replica of it.

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    There's the long standing conclusion that the boy whom GLORIA adopted was sired by JOE KENNEDY SR.

    It was a highly unusal circumstance at that time for a woman in the process of divorce (to be) allowed to adopt a child.



    SWANSON
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    unscrupulous shit
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    I liked it when she was herself on an episode of The Bevery Hillbillies
    You'd be well advised not to plan my funeral before the body dies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by LemonPopsicle View Post
    I wish I had more of her silent films too! I loved her Autobiography. Wasn't there a big problem with casting the part of Norma Desmond because everyone they offered the role to seemed insulted about playing a "has been"? I love the house in the film. It's a shame it's not standing anymore. One of my childhood fantasies was to live in that house. I still tell myself that if I ever become a zillionairess I'll build a replica of it.
    O I so agree. I just loved it. Everything I've read, tho, says all of the interior shots were done on a sound stage and only the outside was used, and of course the pool that was put in just for the movie. How disappointing I loved the way the front door opened into that open foyer with the stairs and balcony. As I sure everyone knows, they used that house (exterior)/pool in Rebel Without a Cause.

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    Didn't that house belong to someone famous, can't think who? Heiress or something?

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    I believe it was the Gillette family. Seems like there was some story that he was building it, but died before it was finished, so she (Mrs. G) lived there. I don't know if I have that part right; may be another house I'm thinking that goes with that story.

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    Gloria ws a big health nut as she grew older. Her last husband Duffy wrote the book Sugar Blues (an interesting read by the way) and stated that Gloria was an advocate of the program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janel View Post
    Gloria ws a big health nut as she grew older. Her last husband Duffy wrote the book Sugar Blues (an interesting read by the way) and stated that Gloria was an advocate of the program.
    She was also the first person I ever heard use the term 'macrobiotic' or extol the virtues of organic farming. (This was on a talk-show appearance in the late 70s/early 80s.) Supposedly she turned John and Yoko onto their diets (which of course both made weirder).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by seurtoFW View Post
    I believe it was the Gillette family. Seems like there was some story that he was building it, but died before it was finished, so she (Mrs. G) lived there. I don't know if I have that part right; may be another house I'm thinking that goes with that story.
    I think it was the Getty's. I think the house was demolished and a Getty building is now in it's place?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KELT View Post
    There's the long standing conclusion that the boy whom GLORIA adopted was sired by JOE KENNEDY SR.

    It was a highly unusal circumstance at that time for a woman in the process of divorce (to be) allowed to adopt a child.



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    That's a good theory but Swanson hadn't met Joe Kennedy yet. Perhaps she adopted her own illegitimate child by another man.

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    I stand corrected = you are right LemonPopsicle-- from
    http://www.reallyuseful.com/rug/show...background.htm

    Producer Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder found the house after a long, unsuccessful search along Sunset Boulevard itself. The mansion was by now in the possession of one of billionaire J Paul Getty's former wives, who insisted that the pool to be installed in the grounds for the movie should be removed afterwards if she didn't like it. As it happened, the pool remained (without plumbing and empty) and was used again for a scene in Rebel Without A Cause. In addition to the pool, the mansion was equipped with stained glass windows, palm trees, overstuffed furniture, dusty velvet drapes and a pipe organ. A £25,000 Isotta Fraschine was parked in the driveway after first being equipped with leopardskin upholstery and a gold-plated telephone.

    I'm not sure where I came up with the Gillette family.

    Sounds like a heck of a house, tho!
    The crumbling mansion on Sunset Boulevard, which was the home to Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's classic movie about Hollywood, actually stood at the corner of Crensham Street on Wilshire Boulevard. It was demolished in the late 1950s and replaced with a sleek insurance company building. Built at a cost of $250,000 in 1924 for William D Jenkins, US Consul to Mexico, its 14 rooms featured costly interior panelling, imported tiles and a black walnut staircase at whose foot was a 10-foot-square walk-in vault. Exterior walls of steel and concrete, lined with brick, were 13 ¬Ĺ inches thick. Jenkins, who lived in the house for only a year, was a sugar baron reputed to be the richest man in Mexico.

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    The Mansion belonged to the Getty's. Damn, I wish it was still standing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vamp View Post
    I read her biography and it was pretty interesting, especially the part about Joe Kennedy. Apparently, Gloria discovered that Joe spent her fortune during their relationship. (EVEN USING her money to buy her own gifts.) Joe also wanted a baby with her. Joe and Rose eventually reconciled and "Teddy" Kennedy was the result.
    What's the name of the book, I'd love to check it out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Furr View Post
    The Mansion belonged to the Getty's. Damn, I wish it was still standing!



    What's the name of the book, I'd love to check it out!
    It's Swanson on Swanson, or at least the one I read is. It's a very intersting book, well worth the read.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by LemonPopsicle View Post
    I wish I had more of her silent films too! I loved her Autobiography. Wasn't there a big problem with casting the part of Norma Desmond because everyone they offered the role to seemed insulted about playing a "has been"? I love the house in the film. It's a shame it's not standing anymore. One of my childhood fantasies was to live in that house. I still tell myself that if I ever become a zillionairess I'll build a replica of it.
    From what I've read, it was offered to Mary Pickford, Pola Negri and Mae West before it got to Gloria. Pickford was too drunk to do it, and also wanted to own the negative. Negri didn't want to play a "has been". Not sure why West turned it down, but I can't imagine her in that part anyway. Gloria definitely did it best. I read, too, that she asked Billy Haines to be one of the "waxworks" and he turned her down.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by seurtoFW View Post
    I stand corrected = you are right LemonPopsicle-- from
    http://www.reallyuseful.com/rug/show...background.htm

    Producer Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder found the house after a long, unsuccessful search along Sunset Boulevard itself. The mansion was by now in the possession of one of billionaire J Paul Getty's former wives, who insisted that the pool to be installed in the grounds for the movie should be removed afterwards if she didn't like it. As it happened, the pool remained (without plumbing and empty) and was used again for a scene in Rebel Without A Cause. In addition to the pool, the mansion was equipped with stained glass windows, palm trees, overstuffed furniture, dusty velvet drapes and a pipe organ. A £25,000 Isotta Fraschine was parked in the driveway after first being equipped with leopardskin upholstery and a gold-plated telephone.


    I'm not sure where I came up with the Gillette family.

    Sounds like a heck of a house, tho!
    The crumbling mansion on Sunset Boulevard, which was the home to Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's classic movie about Hollywood, actually stood at the corner of Crensham Street on Wilshire Boulevard. It was demolished in the late 1950s and replaced with a sleek insurance company building. Built at a cost of $250,000 in 1924 for William D Jenkins, US Consul to Mexico, its 14 rooms featured costly interior panelling, imported tiles and a black walnut staircase at whose foot was a 10-foot-square walk-in vault. Exterior walls of steel and concrete, lined with brick, were 13 ¬Ĺ inches thick. Jenkins, who lived in the house for only a year, was a sugar baron reputed to be the richest man in Mexico.
    I wish it was still standing! I'd love an official floor plan.

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    Meeting Gloria Swanson

    For my 16th birthday, my mother, aunt and best friend took me to see Butterflies Are Free, then starring Gloria Swanson. It was a very cold day in December. I told my girlfriend that I wanted to go and not wait around for Gloria to finally come out. But we stayed.

    She came out the side entrance where there was a little black sportscar waiting, driven by an old man. One of her eyelashes was coming off. The older women were so excited to see her. And she had such a commanding presence, almost intimidating.

    She saw a boy in the crowd and said, "What are you doing at this play? You're too young." Then suddenly she turned to me and said, "Oh, you're an old kid." She turned away then turned back and said, "What a pretty girl you are." My mouth dropped open. I didn't even say Thank You. She came over to me, moved my hair to reveal my left ear. She was checking my demure ear lobe and apparently didn't like what she saw. She then went on to my girlfriend, who had bigger lobes and told her, "You had very strong parents."

    Imagine having Gloria Swanson paying you such a compliment. Were she alive today, she'd look at me and say, "Nah!"

    jigsaw
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    In the Special Features of the Sunset Boulevard DVD, an executive of Paramount Pictures said that Mae West turned the role of Norma Desmond down because she liked to write her own dialogue (can't picture her as Norma anyhow!!) and that they rejected Pola Negri because Billy Wilder thought that her Polish accent was too strong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jigsaw View Post
    For my 16th birthday, my mother, aunt and best friend took me to see Butterflies Are Free, then starring Gloria Swanson. It was a very cold day in December. I told my girlfriend that I wanted to go and not wait around for Gloria to finally come out. But we stayed.

    She came out the side entrance where there was a little black sportscar waiting, driven by an old man. One of her eyelashes was coming off. The older women were so excited to see her. And she had such a commanding presence, almost intimidating.

    She saw a boy in the crowd and said, "What are you doing at this play? You're too young." Then suddenly she turned to me and said, "Oh, you're an old kid." She turned away then turned back and said, "What a pretty girl you are." My mouth dropped open. I didn't even say Thank You. She came over to me, moved my hair to reveal my left ear. She was checking my demure ear lobe and apparently didn't like what she saw. She then went on to my girlfriend, who had bigger lobes and told her, "You had very strong parents."

    Imagine having Gloria Swanson paying you such a compliment. Were she alive today, she'd look at me and say, "Nah!"

    jigsaw
    What a GREAT story!

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    i somehow can't picture mae west in the role of norma desmond, how could she resist putting mae west into the role which would have been a bit comical, as much as i love mae lol oh!
    pull the string!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hell0kitty View Post
    i somehow can't picture mae west in the role of norma desmond, how could she resist putting mae west into the role which would have been a bit comical, as much as i love mae lol oh!

    Gloria was perfect as Norma. William Holden was her perfect co star.

  26. #26
    You know, the only movie I have ever seen Gloria Swanson in was SUNSET BLVD. It was a great movie. In her later years, didn't she become like a charactiture of herself like Maw West did? Come on, Gloria Swanson on the Beverly Hillbillies, that just sounds sad at the end of her life.

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    Swanson on Swanson

    I am reading the autobiography "Swanson on Swanson" right now... I was very surprised to know just how short her marriage to Wallace Beery was... they really only lived together for 2 months. I had no idea that he Raped her on thier wedding night and repeatedly during the brief time they lived together. I have a whole new negative perspective of Beery.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by burgtwngrl View Post
    I am reading the autobiography "Swanson on Swanson" right now... I was very surprised to know just how short her marriage to Wallace Beery was... they really only lived together for 2 months. I had no idea that he Raped her on thier wedding night and repeatedly during the brief time they lived together. I have a whole new negative perspective of Beery.
    From what I've read, nobody but nobody liked Beery. He was extremely violent, and just an overall creep. He was also supposed to have to murdered somebody, but the studios somehow managed to keep a lid on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissieMaam View Post
    From what I've read, nobody but nobody liked Beery. He was extremely violent, and just an overall creep. He was also supposed to have to murdered somebody, but the studios somehow managed to keep a lid on that.
    oh wow! I never heard that... If you have info please pass it on in his thread if he has one.

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    According to Gloria Beery worked at a studio in Chicago when she was 15 years old that is how they met; Beery was shipped off from Chicago to LA because he had tried to Rape a 15 year old. It was not Gloria BUT he showed an interest in her at the same time he used to drive her home from the studio until one night he took her to HIS Apartment not to HER apartment he tried to get her to go in but she refused. Not long after that he was gone... Gloria met up with him again when she was visiting Hollywood to visit her father who was in the military there. That's how they ended up together.

    I read last night that Gloria got Pregnant from him Raping her. She was happy and wanted to try to make the marriage work... she got morning sickness and Wallace said he'd get her something for the Nausea. He got his hands on some kind of drug to induce an abortion and the next day Gloria lost the baby. She took the bottle to the local Druggist and the Druggist pretty much told her what the drug was used for. That's when she left him.

    What a slimball!

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    here's a link to Gloria's Country Home

    http://www.silentsaregolden.com/home...oncountry.html

    Here's a link to her Beverly Hills home.

    http://www.silentsaregolden.com/home...ansoncity.html

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    I'm reading a book about JPK's Hollywood time, and we're up to the thing with Swanson. What a gong show that relationship was. Apparently Swanson insisted that there be a 'beard' with her and Kennedy when they went out in New York (basically Rose's turf), but Kennedy couldn't understand why. He figured it was perfectly okay to flaunt his affair, and bring her and her kids home to visit his!

    I know she needed his financial bail out in the beginning, but the man was a cretin. (Granted Wally Beery was no great catch either.)
    You can't "nu uh" death. That's bad debating.

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    Sugar Blues is an excellent book written by her last husband William Dufty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vamp View Post
    Gloria was perfect as Norma. William Holden was her perfect co star.
    Agreed dahling. I will NEVER tire of that flick! Much to hubby's dismay


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    I just watched the movie again last week. It is my favorite as well. Swanson was a Star not like the stars today she was truly a STAR...

    "I AM big, It's the pictures that got small" You go Girl!

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    Okay, still reading the JPK book, and this is what I've learned.

    The math DOESN'T work out on "brother" the adopted boy. While he could be Gloria's he ain't JPK's. HOWEVER: The child wasn't officially christened until he was around 6. At the time, Joe Kennedy insisted that the boy be given the middle name Patrick, and told everyone he knew about it. He sure liked to promote the idea that it might be his son.

    I'm up to the point where Gloria finally figures out that all the money Joe 'loaned' her got funneled into running Pathe. Apparently after that she read every contract six times.
    You can't "nu uh" death. That's bad debating.

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    I love Sunset Blvd., which I didn't see until this past YEAR! What an awesome movie, Gloria is fantastic and Holden is so hotty!
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    Slightly off topic.......... But if you're a Sunset Blvd fan you should see this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiZ6S...eature=related
    You can't "nu uh" death. That's bad debating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaBlair View Post
    From what I've read, it was offered to Mary Pickford, Pola Negri and Mae West before it got to Gloria. Pickford was too drunk to do it, and also wanted to own the negative. Negri didn't want to play a "has been". Not sure why West turned it down, but I can't imagine her in that part anyway. Gloria definitely did it best. I read, too, that she asked Billy Haines to be one of the "waxworks" and he turned her down.

    Even more intriguing was the rumour that Greta Garbo was offered the part but, of course, turned it down. Montgomery Clift was also offered the William Holden role and initially accepted it. Only he pulled out later - rumour had it that the storyline had too many parallels to that of his then relationship with Libby Holman.

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    Interesting 'clip' of an interview that MIKE WALLACE conducted on SWANSON from the late 1950s.

    http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia...on_gloria.html
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    Thanks for posting that Kelt. Really cool to see Ms Swanson in her own words. Tough interview from wallace and she handled it well. She looks great for 58
    I told my lawyer he's better step it up or we would both end up on an episode of "SNAPPED"

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    Quote Originally Posted by TallulahDahling View Post
    Agreed dahling. I will NEVER tire of that flick! Much to hubby's dismay

    It is a great one. Watched it again the other night. She had a great sense of humour about herself.

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    Today it's 28 years since she passed away. She still remains one of the most elegant and beautiful ladies to ever grace the screen.
    RIP Miss Swanson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe_Zeppelin View Post
    Today it's 28 years since she passed away. She still remains one of the most elegant and beautiful ladies to ever grace the screen.
    RIP Miss Swanson.
    Absolutely what you said!!!! I love the silent era and Gloria is one of my top fav actresses of all time! IfI ever find my WayBack Machine, that's where I'm going.

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    I haven't read an actual biography on Swanson herself, but she of course figures prominently into books on Joe Kennedy's time in Hollywood, and one thing has stood out in my mind after reading all of them. She had spunk. One hell of a broad with one hell of an attitude. Would have been so cool to meet her.
    You can't "nu uh" death. That's bad debating.

  47. #47
    If I remember correctly, it was suspected that Beery beat Ted Healy (of Ted Healy and his Three Stooges) to death outside a bar after an argument. Of course, this was covered up by the studios.

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    Gloria Slept Here

    According to this link, Gloria Swanson owned this property for a time in the 1940s. Story starts around page ten. Here's a drawing of the present business in the building.
    http://mainstreetfortpierce.org/pdf/MSFOct07Web.pdf
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  49. #49
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    1,643
    Found a newspaper story written during the filming of 'Stage Struck' (1925) about the cast and crew (and especially Ms. Swanson) staying in New Martinsville WV, where it was filmed. I particularly liked the line "From the amount of "sour grapes" emanating from Wheeling we would recommend that the Chamber of Commerce get busy and locate a grape juice factory there," due to bad feelings about it not being filmed there, instead. Men from Marietta, OH, came to town and tried to get the production to move there. It sounds like a complete circus!

    http://www.wvculture.org/history/ent...estruck01.html

  50. #50
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    S.E. Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    455
    I'm reading Close-up on Sunset Boulevard by Sam Staggs, primarily to find out about the film. Turns out the book also includes a lot about the musical. With an enthusiasm seldom matched, Gloria spent several years (and at least $20,000 of her own money) working with lyricists composers etc. on a musical score so she could play Norma on stage. Apparently in her proposed version Norma doesn't shoot Joe Gillis, she encourages Joe and Betty to run off together (still leaving Artie Green dumped by Betty lol).
    Eventually Paramount pulled the plug on any hope of turning Sunset into a musical.

    Now for some trivia, that may have already been mentioned above:
    1. Mae West was first considered. However, she wasn't a silent star and her public persona and her own beliefs went against the concept that an aging woman needed to pay a man for companionship.

    2. Mary Pickford was also considered. At this point no script existed but she wanted the option to make script changes, which Wilder and Brackett rarely allowed. Also, Mary owned the movies she appeared in and that wasn't going to happen here.

    3. Pola Negri was also considered but her strong dialect went against her.

    4. Paramount told Gloria they wanted her to take a screen test! Her last film was made several years earlier, she then fled Hollywood for NYC. There she worked in various enterprises, including her own fashion line Forever Young. Going back to the vipers in Hollywood to make a movie was among the last things on her mind. Friends such as William Powell advised her to go through with the test, it'd be worth the chance to work with Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Once accepted, she had to do a second test for William Holden, who was several years older than his character. Gloria was advised she may need to be made-up to look older, causing her to retort that Holden should be made-up to look younger.

    5. Wilder, Brackett and Swanson worked together during filming on the dialogue and character of Norma, making her sympathetic.

    6. The dead monkey .... where do I start? Wilder had a dark sense of humor, to say the least. During the early stages of production Wilder joked with Swanson that Norma was romantically involved with the monkey. Gloria smiled, laughed, taking this in her stride. Finally, before the scene began Wilder sidles up to Gloria and says something like "Don't forget - you've been fucking the monkey." At that point the smile disappeared from her face as the realization of what he said took place. When Norma and Max are burying the coffin Wilder reminded her "You're burying your lover."

    7. DeMille's original greeting to Norma had him saying "The last time I saw you I was dancing on a table in a nightclub, Lindbergh had just landed." As DeMille pointed out, he: a) didn't go to nightclubs; b) didn't dance on tabletops, and c) danced only with his wife. The line was changed so that Norma said she was dancing on a table "someplace very gay".

    8. Hedda Hopper's brief scene was supposed to include arch-rival Louella Parsons. Parsons was to be on another phone, Hedda picked up an extension and they started to argue who was going to use the phone first. An alternate version had them racing for the same phone, with Hedda stumbling and sweetly saying "You first, Louella."
    Hedda was offered her part first, causing Parsons to say she wouldn't take part unless Hopper was removed. Hopper stayed and Parsons was written out, causing Parsons to fume and not mention the movie at all in her column for several weeks.

    9. Edith Head collaborated with Gloria on Norma's wardrobe. The concept was that Norma kept herself aware of the latest fashion trends, but they wanted to include some of that outdated glamour look as well.

    10. Gloria did a promotional tour (radio stations, mostly - this is 1950). Listeners must've been told in advance, because they got to write in questions to be asked during the interview. Among the questions: Where would the best location be to open a small grocery store? Would you come to my home for dinner? Were you in ___ park with (husband #1) Wallace Berry in 1912? I kid you not. Whether or not these were ever asked is unknown. Apparently Gloria kept the cards from various interviews. Gloria meticulously kept virtually every document over the years. These papers are now at the University of Austin.....

    https://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/fasear...fm?eadid=00154

    11. Monty Clift was the original choice for Joe Gillis, but he backed out. Being involved with the older Libby Holman made him uncomfortable playing a younger man involved with an older woman.

    12. Oscar night saw Gloria in NYC, where she was appearing onstage with fellow nominee Jose Ferrer in Twentieth Century. Nominees Judy Holliday, Sam Jaffe, Celeste Holm were also there. The La Zambra nightclub was used as a party venue for the NYC Oscar crowd. After Gloria lost, it quickly became apparent to her that the reporters asking her for comments were expecting her to complain about losing! When Judy's name was announced as the winner, Gloria is reputed to have said (hopefully jokingly) " Darling, why couldn't you have waited until next year?"

    Jose Ferrer wins for Best Actor. Once Celeste Holm lost she (for whatever reason) went back to her original table.


    Nervous as hell, wanting to win but knowing the odds are against her. Preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.


    Someone thought to bring the prop Oscar that's used in Twentieth Century to the nightclub.

    Has anyone seen any musical version of Sunset in person? Makes me sad to realize that Gloria was denied the chance to play a musical Norma. There are various clips on youtube and IMO Patti LuPone is the best. Her voice and stage presence are better than Glenn Close et al. I realize the audio may not be the best on the youtube clips, but Patti is the only perfomer I can hear sing the lyrics to Surrender. (Norma's singing a poignant farewell to the dead monkey.) The other Normas seem to talk-sing, and are drowned out by the music.

    Latter-day Gloria with Diana Dors. Norma Desmond may've been ready for her close-up, but these two weren't.



    As wise as Gloria was about proper nutrition, eating healthy foods, avoiding sugar, etc. - she smoked until late in her life. Why go through all that, only to smoke? Go figure.

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