Monday, May 27, 2024

Gloria Goes to Hollywood as a Teen

This is the story of beautiful and talented and creative Gloria Mildred Weiman (1926-2021). She was a cousin of my Roth cousins...which means a distant cousin to my Farkas family. She wasn't known by the name Weiman, but she did shoot to fame as a teenager renamed Gloria Warren.

Gloria's parents were Herman Wajman (Americanized to Weiman) and Julia Ida Weiss (she's the Roth cousin). Herman was a jeweler from Poland who came to America in 1921 with his Hungarian-born wife Julia and their baby daughter Magda, settling in Wilmington, Delaware. The baby, sadly, didn't survive but Herman and Julia had two more daughters, Gloria and June, who grew up taking piano, dance, singing lessons and more. 

New starlet, creative new name

Gloria's mini-bio on IMDb notes that when she was a young teen, her mother took her to meet a local radio producer which, in turn, led to a meeting with a Hollywood talent scout. That was her big break: she was signed as an up-and-coming starlet for Warner Brothers, at age 15. 

In mid-1941, the entire family filed petitions to change their surname from Weiman to Warren for purposes of Gloria's career. How do I know? The Wilmington, Delaware newspapers covered Gloria's rise to Hollywood and her creative name change too! The family relocated to California as her career began to blossom under the new name of Gloria Warren.

Newspapers documented Gloria's Hollywood life

The papers mentioned Gloria's successful 1945 South American singing tour (see document at top) where she was accompanied by her sister June. A newspaper even covered Gloria the starlet's trip from Hollywood to Wilmington to see her aunt, Mrs. Max Weiss (maiden name Ethel Weiss)

Despite her talent, her singing compared to Deanna Durbin, the movies in which Gloria appeared were not hits, even though her personal star shined. The movie Always in My Heart was written with a part specifically for Gloria, who sang the title song. Of course the Wilmington newspaper raved about Gloria's performance but most critics complained that the plot was hackneyed. Gifted and gorgeous, Gloria appeared in only a handful of movies after that.

Blind date changes Gloria's life

Gloria met Peter Gold (1924-2010) on a blind date in spring of 1946. They fell for each other and were engaged within 10 days, and married in early September. My speculation is that the blind date could have been arranged by Peter's brother, Lee B. Gold, a Hollywood screenwriter. Sis speculates that Peter saw Gloria in a movie and asked for an introduction. 

Press accounts covering the marriage differ about Peter's occupation...he was an agent or a whisky salesman, depending on which newspaper covered the Hollywood gossip. Gloria was in one more movie released after their marriage, and then she retired forever from the Hollywood scene.

By 1950, Peter was a shower door salesman and he had a very bright business future ahead: He worked his way up to the top of the big Price-Pfister plumbing manufacturing firm and ultimately retired from the position of CEO and Chairman. Gloria and Peter had two children and were married for 60+ years. 

One paper interviewed Gloria in the 1960s, when she looked back on her career, spoke lovingly of her children, said how she enjoyed being a mother. This was the last press coverage I can find of Gloria's movie career, as she chose to protect her privacy more and more in later years. Rest in peace, cousin. 

"Creativity" is the week 22 prompt from Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors genealogy challenge.

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