Jul 23, 2008

DeHaven a Party

  Sizzling chanteuse and sometime-screen star Gloria DeHaven celebrates her 83rd birthday today, July 23. The daughter of vaudevillian Carter DeHaven and his actress wife Flora, Gloria infiltrated Hollywood practically from birth - she was born in Los Angeles - and kicked off her career with tiny, uncredited film roles during her teens, often appearing alongside her father. It wasn't until 1944's Two Girls and A Sailor that Glo was recognized as a bona fide star, and she brought fellow relative newcomers June Allyson and Van Johnson, her Sailor co-stars, into orbit with her, where all three remained for nearly a decade.

  After adjusting the pace of her film career to suit her 1944 marriage to actor John Payne (they divorced in 1950) and the family they raised together, Gloria premiered on the stage as a successful nightclub singer and Broadway actress, filmed several musicals, and eventually segued into frequent cameo television appearances. Still an active participant in retrospectives and benefits related to her Tinseltown past, she most recently appeared in the 1997 film Out to Sea, where she supresses the brazen, boy-crazy blonde role she typified decades ago and instead plays a modified version of what seems to be her more authentic self - chic, elegant, dignified, and successful.

  I had the pleasure of seeing Gloria in Hollywood recently, and she is every bit the definition of 'star' for her generation even as she maintains the warm and appreciative appeal of her celluloid youth. (Well, she is a little less flirtatious now, but maybe that's because June Allyson doesn't have an onscreen boyfriend for her to steal). She's still gorgeous, though!

Happy Birthday, Glo!