Gloria Swanson

Born Mar 27, 1899

Gloria Swanson was an American actress, singer and producer, who is best known for her role as Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star, in the critically acclaimed film Sunset Boulevard (1950). She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille, made dozens of silents and was nominated for the first Academy Award in the Best Actress category.… Read More

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1899 Birth Gloria May Josephine Swanson was born in a small house in Chicago in 1899 to Adelaide (née Klanowski) and Joseph Theodore Swanson, a soldier. … Read More


1914 15 Years Old Swanson made her film debut in 1914 as an extra in The Song of Soul for Essanay. … Read More
1916 17 Years Old Swanson moved to California in 1916 to appear in Mack Sennett's Keystone comedies opposite Bobby Vernon. … Read More


1919 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1919 she signed with Paramount Pictures and worked often with Cecil B. DeMille, who turned her into a romantic lead in such films as Don't Change Your Husband (1919), Male and Female (1919) with the famous scene posing as "the Lion's Bride" with a real lion, Why Change Your Wife? (1920), Something to Think About (1920), and The Affairs of Anatol (1921). … Read More
1923 24 Years Old …  During their divorce Swanson wanted another child and in 1923 she adopted a baby boy, Sonny Smith (1922–1975), whom she renamed Joseph Patrick Swanson.
In 1925, Swanson starred in the French-American Madame Sans-Gêne, directed by Léonce Perret. … Read More
1927 28 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1927, she decided to turn down a million dollar a year contract with Paramount to join the newly created United Artists, where she was her own boss and could make the films she wanted, with whom she wanted, and when. … Read More


1929 - 1931 3 More Events
1932 33 Years Old Because of the possibility that Swanson's divorce from La Falaise had not been final at the time of the wedding, she was forced to remarry Farmer the following November, by which time she was four months pregnant with Michelle Bridget Farmer, who was born on April 5, 1932.
1934 35 Years Old Swanson and Farmer divorced in 1934, after she became involved with married British actor Herbert Marshall. … Read More
1938 39 Years Old Although she made the transition to talkies, as her film career began to decline, Swanson relocated permanently to New York City in 1938, where she began an inventions and patents company called Multiprises, which kept her occupied during the years of World War II. … Read More


1940 41 Years Old Swanson was a staunch Republican and supported the 1940 and 1944 campaigns for president of Wendell Willkie, and the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater.
1941 42 Years Old Swanson made another film for RKO in 1941 ("Father Takes a Wife"), began appearing in the legitimate theater, and starred in her own television show in 1948. … Read More
1945 46 Years Old In 1945, Swanson married William N. Davey and according to her after discovering Davey in a drunken stupor, she and daughter Michelle, believing they were being helpful, left a trail of Alcoholics Anonymous literature around the apartment. … Read More
1946 47 Years Old Swanson-Davey divorce was finalized in 1946. … Read More


1950 51 Years Old 1 More Event
But it was not until 1950 when Sunset Boulevard was released (earning her yet another Academy Award nomination) that she achieved mass recognition again.
1952 53 Years Old Swanson received several subsequent acting offers but turned most of them down, saying they tended to be pale imitations of Norma Desmond. Her last major Hollywood motion picture role was the poorly received Three for Bedroom "C" in 1952.
1956 57 Years Old In 1956, Swanson made Nero's Mistress, which also starred Alberto Sordi, Vittorio de Sica and Brigitte Bardot. … Read More


1964 - 1966 2 More Events
1971 72 Years Old …  Her last major stage role was in the 1971 Broadway production of Butterflies Are Free at the Booth Theatre.
1973 74 Years Old Swanson appeared on The Carol Burnett Show in 1973, doing a sketch where she flirted with Lionel Waggoner. … Read More
Her last acting role, aside from playing herself in Airport 1975, was in the made-for-TV horror film Killer Bees (1974).
1976 77 Years Old Swanson's final marriage occurred in 1976 and lasted until her death.
1980 81 Years Old 1 More Event
Dufty ghost-wrote Swanson's best-selling 1980 autobiography, Swanson on Swanson, based on her early, sometimes handwritten drafts and notes. … Read More
1983 84 Years Old 1 More Event
After Swanson's death, there were a series of auctions from August to September 1983 at William Doyle Galleries in New York of the star's furniture and decorations, jewelry, fashion collection, career and personal memorabilia. … Read More
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