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Gladys Swarthout

(1904—1969)


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(1904–1969). Stage and film performer. A renowned opera singer with a movie star's looks, she made a brief but memorable foray into Hollywood. Swarthout was born in Deepwater, Missouri, and began singing in church choirs as a preteen. She studied music at the Bush Conservatory in Chicago and made her professional debut with the Chicago Civic Opera. By 1929 she was at the Metropolitan Opera and over the years sang major mezzo-soprano roles. Swarthout was lured to Hollywood to compete with opera singer Grace Moore at Columbia Pictures and she was praised for both her singing and her acting in Rose of the Rancho (1935), Give Us This Night (1936), Champagne Waltz (1937), and Romance in the Dark (1938). However, the public did not embrace her so she returned to the opera and concert stage and, later on, radio and television. Autobiography: Come Soon, Tomorrow (1949).

From The Oxford Companion to the American Musical in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music Theatre.


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