Alma Gluck

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Alma Gluck
Reba Feinsohn

(1884-05-11)May 11, 1884
DiedOctober 27, 1938(1938-10-27) (aged 54)
Spouse(s)Bernard Glick
Efrem Zimbalist, Sr.
Children3, including:
Marcia Davenport
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
RelativesStephanie Zimbalist (granddaughter)
Alma Gluck, "Old Black Joe" (Stephen Collins Foster), recorded 1915

Alma Gluck (May 11, 1884 – October 27, 1938) was a Romanian-born American soprano.[1]


Gluck was born as Reba Feinsohn to a Jewish family in Iași, Romania, the daughter of Zara and Leon Feinsohn.[2] Gluck moved to the United States at a young age. Although her initial success came at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Gluck later concertized widely in America and became an early recording artist. Although various sources claim that her recording of "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" for the Victor Talking Machine Co. was the first celebrity recording by a classical musician to sell one million copies, Victor ledgers do not support the claim—nor did Gluck ever make such a claim herself. It was awarded a gold disc, only the seventh to be granted at that time.[3] Gluck was a founder of the American Woman's Association.

Her daughter Marcia Davenport was the child of her first marriage (to Bernard Glick, an insurance man).[2] Gluck later married violinist Efrem Zimbalist and had two children, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (1918–2014)[4] and Maria. Gluck evidently adopted her professional surname as a variation of her first husband's surname ("Glick").

Gluck retired to New Hartford, Connecticut, to raise her family in 1925. Although by background an assimilated and nonpracticing Jew who continued to consider herself ethnically Jewish, she found herself attracted, along with her husband Efrem, to Anglican Christianity, and they regularly attended the Episcopal Church in New Hartford. Efrem Jr. and Maria were both christened there, and the couple placed Efrem in an Episcopal boarding school in New Hampshire. Efrem Jr. later became active in evangelical circles and was one of the founders of Trinity Broadcasting Network.[5][6][7][8] Gluck recorded several Christian hymns in duet with Louise Homer, among them "Rock of Ages",[9] "Whispering Hope",[10] "One Sweetly Solemn Thought",[11] and "Jesus, Lover of My Soul".[12]

After a long illness, she was taken to the Rockefeller Institute Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, but died from liver failure several days later, at 9:30 am on October 27, 1938, at the age of 54.[1]


Gluck was the grandmother to actress Stephanie Zimbalist.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Alma Gluck Dead. Operatic Soprano. Former Star of Metropolitan Was Among Most Popular Recitalists of Her Day. Helpe Musical Causes. Aided in Launching of Many Music Organizations. Wife of Efrem Zimbalist. Gave Famous Musical Parties. Sang Eleven Roles First Season. Made Popular Records". The New York Times. October 28, 1938.
  2. ^ a b "MARSTON - Alma Gluck". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 10. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Malan, Roy (May 2004). Efrem Zimbalist: A Life. Amadeus Press. p. 1. ISBN 1-57467-091-3.
  5. ^ Malan, Roy (2004). Efrem Zimbalist: A Life. Amadeus Press. pp. 139–142. ISBN 978-1-57467-091-2.
  6. ^ Stanford, Monty (2008). "EZimablist Jr". Christus Rex.
  7. ^ Silversten, Linda (1998). Lives Charmed: Intimate Conversations with Extraordinary People. HCI. pp. 173–94. ISBN 978-1-55874-593-3.
  8. ^ Jeannie, Pugh (23 April 1979). "Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Revitalized His Faith Through Christian TV". St. Petersburg Times.
  9. ^ Gluck's rendition of "Rock of Ages" on YouTube
  10. ^ Gluck's rendition of "Whispering Hope." on YouTube
  11. ^ Gluck's rendition of "One Sweetly Solemn Thought" on YouTube; retrieved 2011-04-08
  12. ^ Gluck's rendition of "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" on YouTube
  13. ^ Szul, Barbara (April 29, 1990). "Zimbalist Brings A Note Of Mystery To `Caroline?`". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 24, 2011.

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