Gladys Swarthout

Gladys Swarthout

Birth
Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri, USA
Death 7 Jul 1969 (aged 71)
Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana, Italy
Burial
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Englewood, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA
Plot Eastside Plot 110
Memorial ID 154538975 · View Source
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Opera Singer. A mezzo soprano, she sang a wide variety of roles on the stage, as well as appearing in a number of Hollywood motion pictures. Raised initially in Oklahoma, she moved with her family to Kansas City, Missouri in her early teens and by 13 was the lead soloist in her church choir. After graduating from high school, she made her major recital debut with the Detroit Symphony, then entered Chicago, Illinois' Bush Conservatory. While a student, she made her debut with the Chicago Civic Opera; initially performing comprimario parts, she soon graduated to more substantial work, often in "trouser roles" (a girl taking the part of a young boy). After three seasons with the Ravina Opera Company, Gladys moved-on to New York City's Metropolitan Opera in 1929, where she again started with smaller fare; probably her two best known roles over the years were to be the title leads of Georges Bizet's "Carmen" and Ambrose Thomas' "Mignon". Making her film debut in 1935 with "Rose of the Rancho", she was to have turns in five Paramount films, the last being 1939's "Ambush". She was a regular on the concert stage and the radio, singing popular works of the day as well as operatic areas; in 1947, she was to appear with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony in a broadcast of Hector Berlioz' "Romeo and Juliet Symphony" that was recorded and released. During World War II, while her husband Frank Chapman was serving in the United States Marine Corps, she was kept busy entertaining the troops; she was later to be 'Carmen' in the first-ever televised complete opera performance. Gradually retiring, she became increasingly affected by valvular heart disease, the result of childhood rheumatic fever, and in 1956 underwent a then experimental open heart procedure. Gladys retired to Italy, and was buried in her husband's family plot as "Gladys Chapman". She left a significant recorded legacy, and even penned one novel, the 1943 best-selling and semi-autobiographical "Come Soon, Tomorrow". Her birth year is occasionally listed as 1904, though most sources credit the earlier date.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Nov 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 154538975
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gladys Swarthout (25 Dec 1897–7 Jul 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 154538975, citing Brookside Cemetery, Englewood, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .