||Gloria on the Web
Gloria Jean’s career as a singer and actress spanned more
than 30 years. She began singing as a toddler. At the age of
five, she headlined her own radio show in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. By the age of 12, she was training for a
professional career as a coloratura soprano with a leading New
York City operatic coach. In 1939, at the age of 13, she was
Universal Pictures’ brightest new star, threatening to eclipse
her predecessor, Deanna Durbin. She performed in films with such
greats as Bing Crosby, W. C. Fields, Groucho Marx, Donald
O’Connor, Mel Tormé, and the Andrews Sisters. As the 1940s
progressed, she proved herself as a gifted actress as well as a
singer. In the 1950s, she occasionally appeared on stage and on
television in both acting and singing roles. In the 1960s, Elvis
Presley wanted to make a film with her. Today she lives in
retirement in Hawaii, and her rare appearances at celebrity
autograph shows and film screenings are eagerly attended.
If you would like to send a message to
Gloria, please e-mail her at email@example.com.
She is still new to reading and replying to email, so please be
patient. She has no staff and handles all her fan mail
Please visit our Memorabilia page to order autographed photos and other memorabilia directly from Gloria.
Gloria Jean Sings -- Hear Gloria sing songs from her films!
Gloria Jean's Films
-- A comprehensive list of Gloria's films, including
synopses, co-stars, and song excerpts! Also find out where
you can find Gloria's films on DVD.
Memorabilia for Sale -- Purchase unique
memorabilia directly from Gloria!
Gloria Jean's Biography -- Browse through the book, or order a copy!
Gloria Jean on YouTube--Visit NEPenguin's channel on YouTube and see Gloria introduce clips from her films! Gloria is currently the only movie star from the 1940s hosting her own clips on YouTube. Also, search for "Gloria Jean" on YouTube to find more film clips.
- Gloria Jean in Life Magazine--See the feature article from September 18, 1939!
Greenbriar Picture Shows -- Visit John McElwee's website to see a feature about Gloria, plus photos not seen on this website! (Click on Archive and Links, and under Search by People, select "Jean, Gloria," and click the Search button. Go down the list and click on the movie reel next to the entry dated 5/21/06.)
The golden age of Hollywood is not dead. Gloria Jean
remembers what it was like to co-star in a comedy with W. C.
Fields, sing with Bing Crosby, dance with Donald O’Connor, and
watch Jack Pierce make up the famous monsters at Universal
Pictures. She remembers what it was like being a teenage star in
Hollywood, when her studio bosses dictated who she socialized
with, where she ate lunch -- and how much lunch she could eat.
Mel Tormé proposed marriage to her. Groucho Marx offered her
Gloria Jean’s fascinating life story, much of it told in her own words, is recounted in a book-length biography, Gloria Jean: A Little Bit of Heaven by Scott MacGillivray and Jan MacGillivray (iUniverse, 2005). Gloria Jean was Universal Pictures’ brightest new star at the age of 13 in 1939. She had already had a successful career as a child singer on radio in her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was training for a career in professional opera when she won an audition with producer Joseph Pasternak to star in the film The Under-Pup. She went on to make 26 more films over a 20-year period, appeared on radio, stage, television, and in nightclubs, and had a successful second career with Redken Laboratories after leaving show business in the early 1960s.
Although she was a popular star throughout the 1940s, helping to launch other stars such as Donald O’Connor and Mel Tormé in her films, Gloria Jean’s promising movie career never fully blossomed. Studio politics, changes in the film industry, and poor advice kept her from reaching the pinnacle she might have achieved, but she refuses to be bitter about it. “You’re never going to learn about anything until you’re confronted with these situations,” she says. “If you were going to live a life where nothing happened, you wouldn’t be much of a person… The way I look at it, I would consider my career a little bit of heaven.”
Gloria’s recollections in Gloria Jean: A Little Bit of Heaven are seasoned by comments from her sister Bonnie and supplemented by dozens of exclusive photos and an in-depth examination of her career, including three previously “lost” films that were rediscovered by the authors. The book is available directly from the publisher (iUniverse) and online through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. In its review of the book, Kirkus Discoveries says: “Gloria Jean not only had star-quality beauty and a dramatic flair, but also a pleasing coloratura singing voice… The authors, an experienced husband-and-wife film-historian team, bring great sensitivity and authority to their subject, and Gloria Jean herself provides fascinating anecdotes of her career… A must-read for film buffs that will hopefully stimulate further discussion of Gloria Jean’s work.” The book has also received enthusiastic reader reviews on Amazon.com.
About the authors:
Scott MacGillivray is the author of Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward, Castle Films: A Hobbyist’s Guide, and The Soundies Distributing Corporation of America (with Ted Okuda). Jan MacGillivray is a film columnist who has contributed video reviews of vintage films to Filmfax and Outré magazines.
This website is maintained by Jan and Scott MacGillivray. Questions or comments? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All text is copyright © 2006 –2013 by Scott MacGillivray and Jan MacGillivray.