Gloria Dickson (born Thais Alalia Dickerson; August 13, 1917[1] – April 10, 1945) was an American stage and screen actress of the 1930s and 1940s.

Gloria Dickson
Dickson in Lady of Burlesque (1943)
Thais Alalia Dickerson

(1917-08-13)August 13, 1917
DiedApril 10, 1945(1945-04-10) (aged 27)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1937–1945
(m. 1938; div. 1941)
(m. 1941; div. 1944)
William Fitzgerald
(m. 1944)

Early years


Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Dickson was the daughter of a banker. After her father's death in 1929, the family moved to California.[2] She graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School.[3]

She began acting during high school in amateur theatre productions. Encouraged by her acting coaches, she moonlighted doing dramatic readings at social clubs and on KFOX radio station in Long Beach, California.[citation needed]



In April 1936, as she worked in a production of the Federal Theatre Project,[4] she was spotted by Warner Bros. talent scout Max Arnow, who signed her to a contract. Her film debut was in 1937's They Won't Forget.[3]

Personal life


Dickson was married to the famous makeup artist Perc Westmore on June 20, 1938, in Santa Barbara, California, then filed suit for divorce from him on May 17, 1940.[5] Their uncontested divorce was granted on June 22, 1941, in Los Angeles, California.[6]

Her second marriage, in late 1941, was to film director Ralph Murphy, whom she divorced in 1944.[7]

Later in 1944, she married William Fitzgerald, a former boxer to whom she remained married until her death at age 27 on April 10, 1945.[8]



Dickson died during a fire on April 10, 1945, at the Los Angeles home she was renting from actor Sidney Toler,[9] caused by an unextinguished cigarette that ignited an overstuffed chair on the main floor, while she slept upstairs. Her body, and that of her pet dog, were found in the bathroom, and she is assumed to have attempted to escape through the bathroom window. She died from asphyxiation; flames had seared her lungs, and her body had suffered first- and second-degree burns.[10]

Partial filmography


Stage credits

  • Wise Tomorrow (1937)


  1. ^ Howson, John Michael (2005). 'Cut! Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Willoughby, NSW: Global Book Publishing. p. 303. ISBN 1-74048-080-5.
  2. ^ "Sensible Is The World For Gloria". The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News. Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. Associated Press. April 7, 1937. p. 8. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  3. ^ a b "Majestic: Gloria Dickson Film". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. April 12, 1943. p. 5. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  4. ^ "WPA Player Signed". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. November 29, 1936. p. 15. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  5. ^ "(untitled brief)". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. May 18, 1940. p. 12. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  6. ^ "(untitled brief)". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. June 23, 1941. p. 4. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via    
  7. ^ "Actress Dies In Home Fire". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press. April 11, 1945.
  8. ^ "Gloria Dickson Of Films Victim Of Suffocation". Fitchburg Sentinel. Massachusetts, Fitchburg. Associated Press. April 11, 1945. p. 3. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  9. ^ "Film Actress Dies In Fire In Home". Warren Times-Mirror. Pennsylvania, Warren. Associated Press. April 11, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via  
  10. ^ "The Private Life and Times of Gloria Dickson". Retrieved July 10, 2008.