Gloria May Josephine Swanson (March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983) was an American actress, producer, and businesswoman. She first achieved fame acting in dozens of silent films in the 1920s and was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress, most famously for her 1950 return in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, which also earned her a Golden Globe Award. Swanson was born in Chicago and raised in a military family that moved from base to base. Her love interest in Essanay Studios actor Francis X. Bushman led to her aunt taking her to tour the actor's Chicago studio. The 15-year-old Swanson was offered a brief walk-on for one film as an extra, beginning her life's career in front of the cameras. Swanson was soon hired to work in California for Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios comedy shorts opposite Bobby Vernon. She was eventually recruited by Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Pictures, where she was put under contract for seven years. With the company she became a global superstar. She starred in a series of films about society, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, including Male and Female (1919). She continued as a successful movie star in The Affairs of Anatol (1921) and Beyond the Rocks (1922). She also starred in critically acclaimed performances such as Zaza (1923) and Madame Sans-Gêne (1925). In 1925, Swanson joined United Artists as one of the film industry's pioneering women filmmakers. She produced and starred in the 1928 film Sadie Thompson, earning her a nomination for Best Actress at the first annual Academy Awards. Her sound film debut performance in the 1929 The Trespasser, earned her a second Academy Award nomination. Queen Kelly (1929) was a box office disaster, but is remembered as a silent classic. After almost two decades in front of the cameras, her film success waned during the 1930s. Swanson received renewed praise for her comeback role in Sunset Boulevard (1950). She only made three more films, but guest starred on several television shows, and acted in road productions of stage plays.
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