Gloria Jean, '30s and '40s Singer and Actress, Dead at 92
Gloria Jean, a singing actress who made over two dozen movies from 1939 to 1959, died August 31 in Mountain View, Hawaii, at age 92, the site GloriaJeanSings.com reports.
The cause was heart failure, according to her daughter-in-law Jennifer Cellini in a family statement prepared by Scott MacGillivray.
As a pre-teen, Gloria Jean Schoonover got her start singing on the radio and in an opera troupe. The trained coloratura soprano was signed to Universal Pictures in 1938, making her film debut in "The Under-Pup" and becoming a sensation.
During her heyday, she starred with such greats as Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and W.C. Fields, the latter of whom she appeared with in 1941's "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break." Post-WWII, she embarked on an international singing tour and starred in "Copacabana" (1947) with Groucho Marx.
Getty Images/Splash News
Working with W.C. Fields in 1941 and appearing at an autograph show in 2014
When her movie career cooled, she worked as a hostess in a restaurant, a change of fortune that fed media coverage similar to that given to former "The Cosby Show" star Geoffrey Owens, who was spotted working as a grocery bagger last week. The press led to some final film roles for the performer, including her last, in Jerry Lewis' "The Ladies Man" (1961).
Upon her retirement from acting, Gloria Jean worked for Redken Laboratories for 30 years.
She was preceded in death last year by her son, Angelo Cellini.