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 Gia Scala

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Gia Scala

  • Original Name Giovanna Sgoglio
  • Birth 3 Mar 1934 Liverpool, Metropolitan Borough of Liverpool, Merseyside, England
  • Death 30 Apr 1972 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Plot Section M, Lot 542, Grave 1
  • Memorial ID 5263

Actress. She is best remembered for her role of Anna, in "The Guns of Navarone" (1961). Born Glovanna Sgoglio Scala in Liverpool, England, to a Sicilian father, Pietro Scoglio, and an Irish mother, Eileen Sullivan, the family moved back to Sicily when she was three months old. Her father was a businessman, and she grew up in Rome, when his business took him there. When she was 14, she moved to New York City and attended Bayside High School (in Queens), where she graduated in 1952. Following high school, she worked a variety of small nighttime jobs, including file clerk for an insurance company and airline reservations counter taker, while studying during the day at the Actors Studio. She appeared as a game show contestant on television, where a Universal Studios agent saw her and she was quickly signed to a contract in 1954. The tall, beautiful, green-eyed brunette tested for the role of Mary Magdalene for the movie, "The Galileans," but the film was cancelled. Using the stage name Gia Scala, she made her motion picture debut in 1955 with an uncredited role in "All that Heaven Allows" (1955) opposite Rock Hudson. Two years later, she married actor and part-time stockbroker Donald Burnett, who she met while filming "Don't Go Near the Water" (1957). The next two years, she had roles in "Tip on a Dead Jockey" (1957), "Tunnel of Love" (1958) and "The Garment Jungle" (1957), and her role of Theresa in "The Garment Jungle" earned her critical acclaim. Her role in "The Angry Hills" (1959) with Robert Mitchum received great reviews, and brought her better role offers. Considered her best film, "The Guns of Navarone" (1961) opposite Gregory Peck, was her most successful film role. From there, things began to spiral downward for her, both professionally and personally. Growing more dependent upon alcohol, her career began to decline and she lost her contract with Universal due to unreliability, just as her marriage to Donald Burnett was starting to end in divorce. She moved to television during the 1960s, appearing as a guest star in such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1964), Convoy (1965), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1965), Twelve O'clock High (1965), Tarzan (1967), and It Takes a Thief (1969). Having kept her British citizenship, she moved to England in an unsuccessful attempt to revive her stalled film career there, but she suffered from severe emotional problems aggravated by her drinking problem, and made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide by throwing herself off Waterloo Bridge (a passing taxi driver saw her plunge and rescued her). Her alcoholic addition led to several arrests and her depression forced her to undergo frequent psychiatric treatment. In early 1970s, she decided to return to Hollywood, but her problems continued to follow her. In April 1971, she was arrested over a dispute for 50 cents with a parking lot attendant that turned violent, and in July 1971 she wrecked her sports car while intoxicated. In May 1971, her actress friend, Anna Kashfi, took legal custody of her while she was in acute mental depression and undergoing psychiatric care. On April 30, 1972, she was found dead in her Hollywood home by friends. An autopsy showed that she had died of an overdose of drugs and alcohol, which authorities ruled a suicide.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 Apr 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5263
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gia Scala (3 Mar 1934–30 Apr 1972), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5263, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .