Gloria Jean, actress from 'Destiny' and 'Never Give a Sucker an Even Break', dies at 92

The star from the 40s and 50s passed away due to heart failure and pneumonia in Mountain View, Hawaii where she was living with her son and his family.

                            Gloria Jean, actress from 'Destiny' and 'Never Give a Sucker an Even Break', dies at 92

Actress and singer of the 40s and 50s Gloria Jean has passed away due to medical complications.  The 'Never Give a Sucker an Even Break' star who starred with W.C Fields in the 1941 classic was 92 years old. She died on August 31. She died on Friday due to heart failure and pneumonia in Mountain View, Hawaii, her biographers Scott MacGillivray and Jan MacGillivray, told The Hollywood Reporter.


Gloria Jean Schoonover had a rich life in Hollywood and her life in the limelight remained pretty spotless. During her career between 1939 to 1959, she starred and co-starred in 26 feature films as well as many radio, television, stage, and nightclub appearances.  Gloria Jean was born in Buffalo, New York. She was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania and had three sisters, Sally, Lois, and Bonnie. Her family had been very supportive of her career to the extent that her father acting as her manager and her sister Lois acted as the stand-in for her.

She had star potential since she was a baby girl. She made her first radio appearance when she was just 3. Trained as a coloratura soprano, she also performed on radio with Paul Whiteman's band.

By the time she was 12 she was already performing with an opera company in New York and was the youngest member in the opera troupe scene in all of America.

She found her big break into acting with Richard Wallace's 'The Under Pup' in 1939. The plot was perhaps the OG of all teenage flicks of our time - a not so well off teen finds herself in the middle of a summer camp that only has rich girl cliques. She gets bullied but instead of lashing out wins over the situation and her enemies to earn a spot in the group. 

She did a lot of feature films after her face found its place on the big screen. During the wartime, she starred in 14 feature films for Universal, who felt that musicals were the need of the moment. She was one of the most popular stars in the teen entertainment scene.

As she made her way into adulthood too she found her break with 'Flesh and Fantasy' in 1943. She played the role of a damsel in distress who gets caught in the plans of an escaped killer. Jean played a blind girl in this film. This anthology was created by Julien Duvivier and unfortuantely, her segment was shelved until 1944. It was then made into a full melodrama series called 'Destiny' and it went on to become one of Jean's most talked about performances. 

After retiring from showbiz and Redken, the cosmetic company she worked with in her later years in 1993, Gloria spent her days with her sister Bonnie in California. Bonnie passed away in 2007 after which she moved to Hawaii to be with her son.  Her final years were riddled with illness - she suffered from two major falls that left her with mobility problems and she had a weakened heart condition.