Gloria May Josephine Svensson was born on 27 March 1899, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She was the daughter of Adelaide Klanowski and Joseph Theodore Swanson. She later said about her mother; "My mother and I could always look out the same window without ever seeing the same thing." In 1914, Gloria Swanson made her film debut as an extra in The Song of Soul. She said; "From the first moment on the set I was consumed with curiousity about the technical side of shooting a sound picture." In 1915, she was a Maid in The Misjudged Mr. Hartley, The Ambition of the Baron, His New Job, Gloria Mae in The Fable of Elvira and Farina and the Meal Ticket, Sweedie Goes to College, The Romance of an American Duchess, Gloria in The Broken Pledge and At the End of a Perfect Day. In 1916, she moved to California. Gloria Swanson married Wallace Beery on 27 March 1916. In 1916, she starred in Sunshine, A Dash of Courage, Hearts and Sparks, A Social Cub, The Danger Girl, Haystacks and Steeples and The Nick of Time Baby. In 1917, Gloria appeared as Gloria Dawn in Teddy at the Throttle, Baseball Madness, Dangers of a Bride, Whose Baby?, The Sultan's Wife and The Pullman Bride. In 1918, in The Admirable Crichton, Phylis Clyne in Society for Sale, Phyllis Dunbar in Her Decision, Kitty Manning in Station Content, Patricia Reynolds in You Can't Believe Everything, Edith Emerson in Everywoman's Husband, Marcia Grey in Shifting Sands, Sally Carter Rand in The Secret Code and Sylvia Hamilton in Wife or Country. Swanson and Beery were divorced on 1 March 1919. She later said; "I was married when I was 17. I knew nothing. I was full of romance." In 1919, Gloria Swanson appeared as Leila Porter in Don't Change Your Husband, Sylvia Norcross in For Better, for Worse and Lady Mary Lasenby in Male and Female. Gloria married her second husband, Herbert K. Somborn on 20 December 1919. The couple had a daughter, Gloria Swanson Somborn (7 October 1920 - 11 December 2000). In 1920, she starred as Beth Gordon in Why Change Your Wife? and Ruth Anderson in Something to Think About. In 1921, she was Nadine Pelham in The Great Moment, Vivian Spencer in The Affairs of Anatol, Deborah Krillet in Under the Lash and Marian Westover in Don't Tell Everything. In 1922, she said; "I have gone through a long apprenticeship. I have gone through enough of being a nobody. I have decided that when I am a star, I will be every inch and every moment the star! Everybody from the studio gateman to the highest executive will know it." Gloria and Herbert K. Somborn were divorced on 9 August 1922. In 1922, she starred as Lois Miller in Her Husband's Trademark, Suzanne Ornoff in Her Gilded Cage, Theodora Fitzgerald in Beyond the Rocks, Betty Bellew in The Impossible Mrs. Bellew and Natalie Chester in My American Wife. In 1923, Swifty Forbes in Prodigal Daughters, Mona deBriac in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife and Zaza in Zaza. In 1924, Toinette in The Humming Bird, Marjorie Colbert in A Society Scandal, Tessie McGuire in Manhandled, Princess Marie in Her Love Story, Carmelita in Wages of Virtue and Catherine Hubscher in Madame Sans-Gêne. Gloria married her third husband, Henri de la Falaise on 29 January 1925. In 1925, she starred as Joyce Gathway in The Coast of Folly and Jennie Hagen in Stage Struck. In 1926, St.Clair Van Tassel in The Untamed Lady and Orchid Murphy in Fine Manners. In 1927, Sunya Ashling in The Love of Sunya. In 1928, Sadie Thompson in Sadie Thompson. In 1929, Kitty Kelly in Queen Kelly and Marion Donnell in The Trespasser. In 1930, Tamarind Brook in What a Widow! In 1931, she starred as Geraldine Trent in Indiscreet and Nella Vago in Tonight or Never. Gloria married her fourth husband, Michael Farmer on 16 August 1931. Gloria and Henri de la Falaise were divorced on 6 November 1931. Gloria and Michael had a daughter, Michele Bridget Farmer, born 5 April 1932. In 1933, she was Judy in Perfect Understanding. Gloria and Michael Farmer were divorced 7 November 1934. In 1934, she was Frieda Hotzfelt in Music in the Air. In 1941, Gloria appeared as Leslie Collier Osborne in Father Takes a Wife. Gloria married her fifth husband, George William Davey on 29 January 1945. Gloria and George William Davey were divorced on 28 December 1948. In 1950, Swanson appeared as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. According to Gloria Swanson; "Sunset Boulevard opened in August 1950, and it was pronounced the best movie ever made about Hollywood." She continued; "It's amazing to find that so many people, who I thought really knew me, could have thought that Sunset Boulevard was autobiographical. I've got nobody floating in my swimming pool." And; "Because I take care of my body, it doesn't look like the body of a woman of my years." In 1974, she was Madame Maria von Bohlen in Killer Bees. Gloria Swanson married her sixth husband, William Dufty on 2 February 1976. Gloria Swanson died aged 86, from a heart ailment on 4 April 1983, in New York City. She was cremated and her ashes interred at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, in New York City. Gloria Swanson has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures, at 6748 Hollywood Boulevard and another for television, at 6301 Hollywood Boulevard.
"When I die, my epitaph should read: She Paid the Bills. That's the story of my private life." Gloria Swanson
Source: Swanson on Swanson by Gloria Swanson.