Gladys George

Active - 1920 - 1953  |   Born - Sep 13, 1904   |   Died - Dec 8, 1954   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Comedy

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The daughter of a British Shakespearean actor, Gladys George was born while her parents' touring stock company was playing an engagement in Patten, Maine. On stage from age three, Gladys toured with her parents in a vaudeville act called The Three Clares. She won her first Broadway role in the 1914 production The Betrothal. Six years later she tried to launch a film career in Red Hot Dollars (1920), but her incipient stardom was halted when she was severely burned in an accident. She went back into stock, returning to Broadway in the early 1930s through the influence of her wealthy second husband Edward H. Fowler. Screen-tested by Paramount in 1934, George was signed by MGM instead; ironically, it was while on loan-out to Paramount that she scored her biggest film hit, 1936's Valiant is the Word for Carrie. For the next several years, George alternated between "weepers" and truculent roles in films: the title role in Madame X (1937), Madame DuBarry in Marie Antoinette (1938), the Texas Guinan counterpart in The Roaring Twenties (1939), and the unfaithful Iva Archer in The Maltese Falcon (1941). She didn't really like Hollywood much, but the money was better than on Broadway. She essayed character parts in her last years in Hollywood, culminating with a good comedy role in It Happens Every Thursday (1953) and a smattering of television. Gladys George's relatively early death may have been the result of a barbiturate overdose, though she'd been suffering from throat cancer for quite some time.

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