Gloria Ella Saunders (September 29, 1927 – June 4, 1980) was an American actress of film and television, primarily from the late 1940s to 1960.

Gloria Ella Saunders
Gloria Saunders photo.jpg
Born(1927-09-29)September 29, 1927
DiedJune 4, 1980(1980-06-04) (aged 52)
OccupationActress of film and television
Years active19461960
Spouse(s)(1) Arthur Rue "Tommy" Thompson (divorced)
(2) Richard Maier
ChildrenAlexandra Cathy Thompson


Saunders was born to George D. and Lucille P. Saunders in the capital city of Columbia, South Carolina. As a child she worked in radio and in the Little Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the age of sixteen in June 1944, she screen tested for Paramount Studios. In 1945, she was seriously injured in an automobile accident and suffered a facial cut from her forehead to the tip of her chin. By October 1951, numerous plastic surgeries finally resolved the scarring.[1]


Saunders acting career began on stage. She was discovered when she performed in a production of Rebecca in the southern United States, after which she acted in a San Francisco production of Adam Ate His Apple".[2]

Her first important role was as Sparky, an operator in the Women's Army Corps of World War II in the 1946 film O.S.S., with Alan Ladd. In 1951, she played Terry Flynn in the film Crazy Over Horses. That same year, she was cast as Anne DuMere in the film, Northwest Territory, starring Kirby Grant.[3][better source needed] In 1952, Saunders was cast as Catherine in the science fiction film, Captive Women.[4]

Saunders had recurring roles in two of the earliest television series. In 1949 and 1950, she was cast in the role of Ah Toy in the ABC crime drama Mysteries of Chinatown.[5] She appeared in an undetermined number of episodes, possibly as many as forty-eight. In 1953, she played the character, The Dragon Lady, in thirteen episodes of the series Terry and the Pirates, with John Baer in the title role.[5]:1063

She was cast as Sally Jones in the 1951 episode "Boulder City Election" of the syndicated television series, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, with Guy Madison in the title role. From 1952 to 1953, she appeared in five episodes of another syndicated western series, The Range Rider. She appeared twice in 1952 on the syndicated western The Cisco Kid.[3]

From 1951 to 1953, she appeared three times in the early police drama, Racket Squad. In 1953, she was twice cast on Jack Webb's NBC police drama, Dragnet. In another 1953 role, she played Lily in "The Riddle of the Chinese Jade" on the syndicated series, Adventures of Superman.[3]

Saunders appeared in the Columbia Pictures film Red Snow (1952),[6] and she portrayed Zelda in the Columbia production Prisoners of the Casbah (1953).[7]

In 1956, Saunders was cast as Christina in "The Voyage of Captain Castle" of the NBC western anthology series Frontier. That same year, she was cast as Gloria DiNeen in "What Price Gloria," of the syndicated State Trooper, starring Rod Cameron. In 1955 and 1957, she appeared in two episodes, "The Silk Stocking Case" and "The Ambitious Peddler Case", respectively, of the CBS police drama. The Lineup, starring Warner Anderson and Tom Tully. In 1957, she played Grace Patton in the episode "Angel of Loudoun" of the American Civil War series, The Gray Ghost, starring Tod Andrews as the Confederate Major John Singleton Mosby. That same year she played Virginia Malcolm in "The Torch Carriers" of David Janssen's Richard Diamond, Private Detective series, first broadcast on CBS.[3]

In the episode "The Wicked Widow" (May 21, 1957) of the ABC/Desilu television series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Saunders was cast as Myra Malone, an attractive widowed dressmaker.[8]

In 1957 and 1958, she was cast in two other western series, as Rose in "The Town" of the CBS series Trackdown, starring Robert Culp and in the segment "Iron Trail Ambush" of the syndicated Frontier Doctor, starring Rex Allen. Her last acting role was in 1960 as a mystery woman on the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Saunders first married the television director Arthur Rue "Tommy" Thompson (1927-2000), who was two months her junior. Saunders said that she likely would not have gone into television acting had it not been for her accident, and she would not have met Thompson had she not gone into television. The couple divorced in 1956, with a two-year-old child. She subsequently married a man named "Maier".[1]


  1. ^ a b "Gloria Saunders". Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "Newcomer Gloria Saunders in 'Danger Street'". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. January 25, 1946. p. Part II - 3. Retrieved 16 April 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b c d e "Gloria Saunders". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Pitts, Michael R. (2015). RKO Radio Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1929-1956. McFarland. pp. 51–52. ISBN 9781476616834. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 738. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ Daniel, Blum (1969). Screen World Vol. 4 1953. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 141. ISBN 9780819602596. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  7. ^ Lentz, Robert J. (2014). Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir: The Complete Career. McFarland. p. 143. ISBN 9780786487226. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  8. ^ ""The Wicked Widow", The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, May 21, 1957". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved April 19, 2014.

External linksEdit