Gale Storm, the perky actress that was one of the early television’s biggest stars, has died at the age of 87. Read more Gale Storm below.
Gale Storm died on Saturday at a convalescent hospital at the age of 87.
Storm had roles in many B movies before she landed her starring role in “My Little Margie” in 1952. Her last television series was the “Gale Storm show” that ended in 1960.
Gale Storm was just a high school student named Josephine Owaissa Cottle when she had entered talent contest for a radio show called “Gateway to Hollywood” in 1940. Storm was sent to LA for the finals, and her wholesome personality won over the radio listeners and earned her a movie contract.
The male winner of the contest turned out to be Lee Bonnell, who later married Gale Storm.
Storm was in many western movies such as “The Dude Goes West” with Albert, “The Kid from Texas” with Audie Murphy and “The Texas Rangers” with George Montgomery.
“I was really scared of horses,” she admitted in 2000. “I only rode them because that’s what you had to do.”
Storm also appeared in three Republic westerns with Will Rogers and recalled that his horse Trigger did what he could to cause her trouble. As she would smile and ride alongside Rogers while the king of the cowboys crooned a song, Trigger (out of camera range) would lean over and bite her horse’s neck.
Storm later moved on to television. “My Little Margie” debuted on CBS in the summer to replace “I Love Lucy” in 1952. It quickly became an audience favorite and moved to its own slot on NBC that fall.
A year after “My Little Margie” ended its 126-episode run in 1955, she moved on to “The Gale Storm Show” (also known as “Oh! Susanna”) which lasted until 1960.
Storm, who had taken vocal lessons, sang on her second series, and three of her records became best sellers: “I Hear You Knocking,” “Teenage Prayer” and “Dark Moon.”
Although Storm had not acted in many years, Peter Bonnell said his mother enjoyed keeping in touch with fans and had known many of them for years.
Her fans were surprised to learn in her 1980 autobiography, “I Ain’t Down Yet,” that she was an alcoholic.
“I had hidden it socially, never drank before a performance,” she said. After being treated in three hospitals, she found one that helped her break the habit. On her Web site, she credited Bonnell, her husband of 45 years, with helping her survive that dark period.
From the Associated Press:
Born April 5, 1922, in Bloomington, Texas, Storm was only 13 months old when her father died. Her mother supported five children by taking in sewing.
Storm’s first husband died in 1987, and the following year she married former TV executive Paul Masterson. He died in 1996.
Gale Storm and Lee Bonnell had three sons, Phillip, Peter and Paul, and a daughter, Susanna. Storm is survived by her children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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