One year ago: Gale Storm
Gale Storm came to Hollywood in 1939 at age 17 as Josephine Cottle, a pert and pretty Houston high school senior who was a finalist in the nationwide "Gateway to Hollywood" talent contest. She left not only with a new name but also with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Storm's biggest claim to fame was her roles in two popular 1950s situation comedies, "My Little Margie" and "The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna." She also appeared in movies and was a hit singer.
Storm, who died one year ago, started her career with "Tom Brown's School Days" in 1940, and appeared in 36 movies during the next dozen years. Among her film credits, which included musical comedies, film noir dramas and westerns, are starring roles in films such as "Freckles Comes Home," "Where Are Your Children?," "Campus Rhythm," "G.I. Honeymoon," "Sunbonnet Sue," "Swing Parade of 1946," and "It Happened on 5th Avenue."
Her film career was in a slump during the early '50s, but she got her second break after a call from producer Hal Roach Jr., who wanted her for the lead in a proposed TV series, "My Little Margie." That role put her center stage in American culture. A 1953 poll of the most popular TV stars listed Storm at No. 2, behind TV comedy queen Lucille Ball. It also led to a music career that saw several of her songs become Top 20 hits.
"My whole life has been a pattern of success," Storm told The Times in 1981. "So many marvelous things that I would never even have dreamt of wishing for [have] happened to me."
For more, read Gale Storm's obituary published by The Times.
-- Michael Farr
Photo: Gale Storm. Credit: Los Angeles Times