Dead, Gale Storm on June 27, 2009 at the age of 87, she was an American actress and singer who starred in two popular television programs of the 1950s, My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show.
Born Josephine Owaissa Cottle on April 5, 1922 in Bloomington in Victoria County, Texas, United States. 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 raise the children alone.
Storm 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.
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 copies. 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 100.
After years of toiling in films, Gale finally turned things around at age 30 by transplanting herself to the small screen.
Her very first TV series vehicle My Little Margie (1952), which was only suppose to be a summer replacement series for I Love Lucy (1951), became one of the most watchable sitcoms in the early 50s while showing up in syndicated reruns for decades.
Co-starring the popular film star Charles Farrell as her amiable dad, Gale’s warmth and ingratiating style suited TV to a tee, making her one of the most popular light comediennes of the time.
She segued directly into her second hit series as a cruise ship director in The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna (1956), which was better known as “Oh! Susannah” after it went into syndication.
Co-starring woebegone Zasu Pitts as the ship’s manicurist and her “Ethel Mertz” counterpart, this show lasted a season longer than her first.
Having won the Texas stage of the Gateway to Hollywood contest, she went to Hollywood for the final where she met Lee Bonnell, the winner of the Indiana stage.
A year later they were married.