Mar 27, 2017
Actress and three-time Oscar nominee Gloria Swanson was born March 27, 1899. Best known as silent movie queen Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, Swanson's career spanned from the silent era to television, and she also produced several films.
A major star of the silent era, Swanson's career began to decline with the transition to talkies. She worked offscreen, forming an invention and patent company called Multiprises. The company existed to rescue Jewish scientists from Europe and the Nazis - real-life offscreen heroics at a time when many actors were "saving the world" only on the big screen.
In 1950, she was cast in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, a film that reunited her with her old director Cecil B. DeMille; the director played himself in several scenes. The performance of a reclusive, delusional silent movie queen pining for a comeback earned Swanson her third and final Oscar nomination. It's a tremendous turn by the actress, and much of her performance and its iconic lines ("I am big. It's the pictures that got small.") have been part of pop culture ever since.
In 1947 - three years before Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson made her first and only appearance on Suspense. In "Murder by the Book" (originally aired on CBS on July 10, 1947), she plays Emily Carlisle, the most famous female mystery writer in America. She's tasked with investigating the real-life murder of her doctor and with finding the killer.