Blondell as Honeybee Gillis (The Life of Riley)
August 16, 1910|
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Died||March 25, 1986
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, voice actress|
|Spouse(s)||Albert Broccoli (m. 1940; div. 1945)
Victor Hunter (m. 1962; d. 1980)
|Relatives||Joan Blondell (sister)|
Blondell came from a family of entertainers. She once said, "[S]ome member of my family has been in the theater ever since the time of Richard the Lionhearted." Her father, Ed Blondell, was an actor for 80 years.
Gloria Blondell said that she first went on stage when she was 9 months old, and she was described as "a trouper at three [years of age]." Her family comprised a vaudeville troupe, the "Bouncing Blondells", whose members were her parents, her sister and her brother. In 1935, she appeared in the Broadway production of Three Men on a Horse at the Playhouse in New York City.
Gloria Blondell was a popular featured actress during the Golden Age of Radio. Blondell had the role of secretary Jerry Booker on I Love a Mystery. Her appearances on radio include Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Lux Radio Theatre, Arch Oboler's Plays, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Screen Directors Playhouse, The Great Gildersleeve, among many others.
She may be best remembered for her role as Honeybee Gillis in the 1950s sitcom starring William Bendix, The Life of Riley. She was cast opposite Tom D'Andrea as her husband, Jim Gillis. She appeared as enviably curvaceous Grace Foster in the I Love Lucy episode, "The Anniversary Present" (1952).
She portrayed an aging prostitute who rescues a town from a trio of criminals in "The Looters", an episode of Wanted Dead or Alive. For Daisy Duck's second appearance as a Disney cartoon character, she took over, marking the debut of Daisy's "normal" voice. Blondell would voice Daisy for six of her nine speaking appearances during the classic shorts era.
She married film producer Albert Broccoli on July 26, 1940; they divorced August 7, 1945. On September 14, 1946, she married Victor Hunter in Monterey, California. They remained married until his death in 1980, just weeks after her sister's death.
Gloria and Victor had one premature daughter, who died at birth. Gloria also nearly died from blood loss, and her life was only saved by an emergency hysterectomy.
She died at age 75 in 1986 in Santa Monica, California from cancer and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California.
- Gloria Blondell at Find a Grave
- Belser, Emily (February 2, 1956). "Gloria Blondell Finding Sister's Shadow A Burden". Corsicana Daily Sun. p. 19.
- Rathbun, Joe (December 10, 1944). "Joe's Radio Parade". Sunday Times Signal. p. 23. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Clark, Ethel (April 5, 1942). "Ethel Clark's Radio Flashes". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. p. 35. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gloria Blondell on Internet Movie Database
- "Theater Calendar". The Decatur Daily Review. April 24, 1938. p. 20. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Movie Reporter Speaks". The Hearne Democrat. October 16, 1953. p. 15. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Joan Blondell's Sister in Film". Harrisburg Telegraph. April 30, 1938. p. 8. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Gloria Blondell Granted Divorce". Kingsport News. August 8, 1945. p. 3. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Gloria Blondell Wed To Advertising Man". The San Bernardino County Sun. September 15, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved May 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kennedy, Matthew (2007). Joan Blondell, a life between takes. University Press of Mississippi. p. 144.
- Kennedy, Matthew (2007). Joan Blondell, a life between takes. University Press of Mississippi. p. 148.
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