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Gale Storm

gale storm, gale storm biography
Gale Storm born Josephine Owaissa Cottle, April 5, 1922 – June 27, 2009 was an American actress and singer who starred in two popular television programs of the 1950s, My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Recording artist
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Later years
  • 6 Death
  • 7 Selected filmography
  • 8 Recordings
    • 81 Singles
  • 9 References
  • 10 Further reading
  • 11 External links

Early lifeedit

Storm was born in Bloomington in Victoria County in south Texas The youngest of five children, she had two brothers and two sisters Her father, William Walter Cottle, died after a year-long illness when she was just seventeen months old, and her mother, Minnie Corina Cottle, struggled to rear the children alone

Her elder sister Lois gave her baby sister the middle name "Owaissa", a Norridgewock Native American word meaning "bluebird" Her mother took in sewing, then opened a millinery shop in McDade, Texas, which failed, and finally moved her family to Houston Storm learned to be an accomplished dancer and became an excellent ice skater at Houston's Polar Palace She performed in the drama club at both Albert Sidney Johnston Junior High School and San Jacinto High School

When she was seventeen years old, two of her teachers urged her to enter a contest on Gateway to Hollywood, broadcast from the CBS Radio studios in Hollywood, California1 First prize was a one-year contract with a movie studio She won and was immediately given the stage name Gale Storm Her performing partner and future husband, Lee Bonnell from South Bend, Indiana, became known as Terry Belmont


Storm had a role in the radio version of Big Town2 After winning the contest in 1940, Storm made several films for the studio, RKO Radio Pictures Her first was Tom Brown's School Days, playing opposite Jimmy Lydon and Freddie Bartholomew1 She worked steadily in low-budget films released during this period In 1941, she sang in several Soundies, three-minute musicals produced for "movie jukeboxes"

She acted and sang in Monogram Pictures' popular Frankie Darro series, and played ingénue roles in other Monogram features with the East Side Kids, Edgar Kennedy and The Three Stooges, most notably in the film Swing Parade of 1946 Monogram had always relied on established actors with reputations, but in Gale Storm the studio finally had a star of its own She played the lead in the studio's most elaborate productions, both musical and dramatic She shared top billing in Monogram's Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher 1943, opposite Edgar Kennedy, Richard Cromwell, and Frank Graham in the role of Jones, a character derived from network radio

Storm proceeded to star in a number of films, including the romantic comedies GI Honeymoon 1945 and It Happened on Fifth Avenue 1947, the western Stampede and the 1950 film-noir dramas The Underworld Story and Between Midnight and Dawn US audiences warmed to Storm and her fan mail increased She performed in more than three dozen motion pictures for Monogram, experience which made possible her success in other media

She became a television icon of the 1950s, starring in two highly successful series It was also in this decade that her singing career took shape She appeared on such variety programs as The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom34

In 1950, Storm made her television debut in Hollywood Premiere Theatre on ABC From 1952 to 1955, she starred in My Little Margie, with former silent film actor Charles Farrell as her father The series began as a summer replacement for I Love Lucy on CBS,1 but ran for 126 episodes on NBC and then CBS The series was broadcast on CBS Radio from December 1952 to August 1955 with the same actors Her popularity was capitalized on when she served as hostess of the NBC Comedy Hour in the winter of 1956 That year she starred in another situation comedy, The Gale Storm Show aka Oh! Susanna, featuring another silent movie star, ZaSu Pitts The Gale Storm show ran for 143 episodes on CBS and ABC between 1956 and 1960 Storm appeared regularly on other television programs in the 1950s and 1960s She was both a panelist and a "mystery guest" on CBS's What's My Line5

Recording artistedit

Storm with Billy Vaughn The two wrote "You're My Baby Doll" and performed it on Storm's television show in 1958

In Gallatin, Tennessee, in November 1954, a 10-year-old girl, Linda Wood, was watching Storm on a Sunday night television variety show, NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour, hosted by Gordon MacRae, singing one of the popular songs of the day

Linda's father asked her who was singing and was told it was Gale Storm from My Little Margie Linda's father Randy Wood was president of Dot Records, and he liked Storm so much that he called to sign her before the end of the television show Her first record, "I Hear You Knockin'", a cover version of a rhythm and blues hit by Smiley Lewis, sold over a million copies6

The follow-up was a two-sided hit, with Storm covering Dean Martin's "Memories Are Made of This" backed with her cover of Gloria Mann's "A Teenage Prayer" That was followed by a hit cover of Frankie Lymon's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" Storm's subsequent record sales began to slide but soon rebounded with a cover of her own labelmate Bonnie Guitar's haunting ballad "Dark Moon" that went to No 4 on the Billboard Hot 100citation needed Storm had several other hits and headlined in Las Vegas and appeared in numerous stage plays Storm recorded for only about two years with Dot and then gave up recording because of her husband's concerns with the time she had to devote to that careercitation needed

Personal lifeedit

Storm was married and widowed twice In 1941, still a teenager, she married Lee Bonnell 1918–1986, then an actor and later a businessman They had four children: Peter, Phillip, Paul, and Susanna In 1988, two years after she was widowed, she married Paul Masterson 1917–1996, who also predeceased her7

In her later years she struggled with alcoholism, in her own words:

During the 1970s I experienced a terribly low and painful time of dealing with alcoholism I had Lee's unfailing support through the entire ordeal My treatment and recovery were more than rugged At that time, there was such a stigma attached to alcoholism, particularly for women, that it could be hazardous to your reputation and career I thank God daily that I have been fully recovered for more than 20 years During my struggle, I had no idea of the blessing my experience could turn out to be! I've had the opportunity to share with others suffering with alcoholism the knowledge that there is help, hope, and an alcohol-free life awaiting them8

She later became an active member of the South Shores Church She once said: "Life has been good and I thank God for His many blessings and the happy life He has given to me"8

Storm was a registered Republican and campaigned for US Senator Barry M Goldwater in the 1960s9

Later yearsedit

Storm made occasional television appearances in later years, such as Love Boat, Burke's Law, and Murder, She Wrote1

In 1981, she published her autobiography, I Ain't Down Yet, which described her battle with alcoholism She was also interviewed by author David C Tucker for The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms, published in 2007 by McFarland and Companycitation needed

Storm continued to make personal appearances and autographed photos at fan conventions, along with Charles Farrell from the My Little Margie series She also attended events such as the Memphis Film Festival, the Friends of Old-Time Radio and the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Conventioncitation needed


Storm lived alone in Monarch Beach, California, near two of her sons and their families, until failing health forced her into a convalescent home in Danville, California She died there on June 27, 2009, aged 8710

Storm has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to television, recordings, and radio1112

Selected filmographyedit

  • Tom Brown's School Days 1940
  • Let's Go Collegiate 1941
  • Saddlemates 1941
  • Gambling Daughters 1941
  • Uncle Joe 1941
  • Red River Valley 1941
  • Jesse James at Bay 1941
  • Freckles Comes Home 1942
  • Foreign Agent 1942
  • Rhythm Parade 1942
  • Nearly Eighteen 1943
  • Revenge of the Zombies 1943
  • Campus Rhythmpermanent dead link 1943
  • Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher 1943
  • G I Honeymoon 1945
  • Swing Parade of 1946 1946
  • It Happened on Fifth Avenue 1947
  • The Dude Goes West 1948
  • Abandoned 1949
  • Stampede 1949
  • The Kid from Texas 1950
  • Curtain Call at Cactus Creek 1950
  • The Underworld Story 1950
  • Between Midnight and Dawn 1950
  • Al Jennings of Oklahoma 1951
  • The Texas Rangers 1951
  • Woman of the North Country 1952
Year Title Role Notes
1952–1955 My Little Margie Margie Albright 126 episodes
1955 The Ford Television Theatre Hope Foster 1 episode
1956–1960 Gale Storm Show, TheThe Gale Storm Show Susanna Pomeroy 143 episodes
1964–1965 Burke's Law Honey Feather Leeps
Dr Nonnie Harper
2 episodes
1979 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Rose 1 episode
1989 Murder, She Wrote Maisie Mayberry 1 episode



Year Single A-side, B-side
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Hot 100
1955 "I Hear You Knocking"
b/w "Never Leave Me" from Gale's Great Hits
2 Gale Storm
"Memories Are Made Of This" / 5
"Teenage Prayer" 6
1956 Why Do Fools Fall In Love"
b/w "I Walk Alone" Non-album track
9 Gale's Great Hits
"Ivory Tower"
b/w "I Ain't Gonna Worry" Non-album track
"Tell Me Why"
b/w "Don't Be That Way"
52 Non-album tracks
"Now Is The Hour" / 59 Gale's Great Hits
"A Heart Without A Sweetheart" 79 Non-album track
"My Heart Belongs To You"
b/w "Orange Blossoms"
Gale's Great Hits
1957 "Lucky Lips" / 77
"On Treasure Island" 74
"Dark Moon"
b/w "A Little Too Late" Non-album track
"Love By The Jukebox Light"
b/w "On My Mind Again"
Gale Storm Sings
"Winter Warm"
b/w "Go 'Way From My Window" Non-album track
"South Of The Border"
b/w "Soon I'll Wed My Love"
"I Get That Feeling"
b/w "A Farewell To Arms"
1958 "You"
b/w "Angry"
"Oh Lonely Crowd"
b/w "Happiness Left Yesterday"
1960 "I Need You So"
b/w "On Treasure Island" from Gale's Great Hits
Non-album tracks
"Please Help Me I'm Falling"
b/w "He Is There"

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  1. ^ a b c d "Notable Deaths Elsewhere: Gale Storm, 87" The Baltimore Sun June 30, 2009 p 16 
  2. ^ Wolf, Tom October 30, 1941 "Television Promises to Create New Market for 'Etheral' Beauty" The Indiana Gazette p 32 Retrieved March 7, 2015 – via Newspaperscom 
  3. ^ "Episode Guide, Pat Boone Chevy Showroom" tvcom Retrieved November 17, 2010 
  4. ^ "The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom" researchvideocom Retrieved November 17, 2010 
  5. ^ What's My Line - Gale Storm; Robert Monkhouse panel Nov 10, 1957
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph 1978 The Book of Golden Discs 2nd ed London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd p 77 ISBN 0-214-20512-6 
  7. ^ "RootsWeb: Database Index" Ssdirootswebancestrycom Retrieved 2014-08-20 
  8. ^ a b 1 Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business - Donald T Critchlow - Google Books Booksgooglecom 2013-10-21 Retrieved 2014-08-20 
  10. ^ "Gale Storm, 87, Is Dead; Earned Television Fame for Her Wholesome Roles", nytimescom, June 29, 2009; accessed December 14, 2015
  11. ^ Duke, Alan 2009-06-28 "TV sitcom pioneer Gale Storm dies" cnncom Retrieved 2009-06-28 
  12. ^ "Gale Storm | Hollywood Walk of Fame" Walkoffamecom 1960-02-08 Retrieved 2015-08-17 

Further readingedit

  • Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen by Michael Karol 2005 ISBN 0-595-40251-8
  • The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms by David C Tucker 2007 ISBN 0-7864-2900-3

External linksedit

  • Official Gale Storm Website
  • Gale Storm on Internet Movie Database
  • Gale Storm interview video at the Archive of American Television
  • Gale Storm at Find a Grave

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