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 Gladys George

Gladys George

Original Name Anna Clare
Birth
Patten, Penobscot County, Maine, USA
Death 8 Dec 1954 (aged 50)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 8040941 · View Source
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Actress. Vivacious, doe-eyed, platinum blonde star of stage and screen. The daughter of actors, George made her stage debut at age three and first appeared on Broadway in 1918, opposite Isadora Duncan in "Betrothed". She later toured the United States with Pauline Frederick's stock company. Her effervescent personality made her a natural for sophisticated comedy and she was often cast as a flirtatious flapper or ditzy society girl, roles which tended to reflect her own life-of-the-party ways. Although she appeared in a handful of silent films in the early 1920s, George's movie career did not take off until she starred in "Straight Is the Way" (1934). For some reason Hollywood pegged her for melodrama, and she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination as the selfless heroine of the soapy "Valiant Is the Word for Carrie" (1936). By then her features had taken on a somewhat dissipated quality and she slipped into character parts, notably as Madame du Barry in "Marie Antoinette" (1938) and as Miles Archer's philandering wife in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941). She is probably best-remembered as the speakeasy owner with a crush on James Cagney in "The Roaring Twenties" (1939). Cradling Cagney's body at the finish, she delivered the film's famous line, "He used to be a big shot". Among her other credits are "The Way of All Flesh" (1940), "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), "Flamingo Road" (1949), "He Ran All the Way" (1951), and "Detective Story" (1951). George was married and divorced four times. Her first and third husbands were actors Ben Erway and Leonard Penn. Her second was millionaire manufacturer Edward Fowler, who walked out in 1934 after finding the actress in the arms of her leading man. At the time George was playing a nymphomaniacal star in the Broadway hit "Personal Appearance", leading to endless jokes in the press about life imitating art. Her last husband, whom she married when she was 46, was a hotel bellboy 20 years her junior. High living and romantic escapades were things of the past for George by the early 1950s. Afflicted with numerous ailments, including throat cancer, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver, she was scarcely able to work. She gave up dyeing her trademark blonde hair and became a recluse. George died at 54 of a reported stroke, but her physician suspected a sleeping pill suicide. Her funeral services and burial were paid for by the Motion Picture Relief Fund.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: TLS
  • Added: 29 Oct 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8040941
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gladys George (13 Sep 1904–8 Dec 1954), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8040941, citing Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .