| Gale Storm|
(born Josephine Owaissa Cottle)
(Actress and Singer)
|Born|| April 5, 1922 |
|Died|| June 27, 2009 |
Contra Costa County
|Spouse|| (1) Lee Bonnell (1941-1986, his death)|
(2) Paul Masterson (1988–1996, his death)
Children: Peter, Phillip, Paul, and Susanna Bonnell
"Life has been good and I thank God for His many blessings and the happy life He has given to me." - Gale Storm
Born Josephine Cottle in Bloomington in Victoria County west of Houston, Texas, she won a “Gateway To Hollywood” talent contest while in high school. This led to roles in thirty-seven films between 1940 and 1952. It also led to marriage—to the male winner of that very same contest, Lee Bonnell. Gale Storm’s pert and peppy personality was best showcased in her two hit sitcoms of the 1950s: My Little Margie (1952–55) and The Gale Storm Show (a/k/a Oh Susanna!) (1956–60).
Between those two series, Gale hosted The NBC Comedy Hour and appeared on other programs—including one watched in the home of Dot Records owner Randy Wood. “His daughter Linda, who was about 12, saw me guesting on Gordon MacRae’s television show,” Gale wrote in her autobiography. “She called her dad in to see My Little Margie singing on TV.” Wood phoned Storm, kicking off her recording career.
“Mostly I just covered records that were hits or looked like they were going to be,” Gale recalled. “My first hit record was ‘I Hear You Knockin’. It was her 1955 million-selling cover of a then-current R&B hit by Smiley Lewis. Storm later covered Dean Martin’s “Memories Are Made Of This,” Gloria Mann’s “Teen-Age Prayer,” The Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and The Charms’ “Ivory Tower.”
In the studio, Storm simply followed the dictates of Randy Wood and the leader of Dot’s house band, Billy Vaughn. “When I did ‘Dark Moon’ [in 1957] I did protest,” Gale wrote. “Bonnie Guitar has not only written it and recorded it but I liked her record.” What made the whole thing surprising was the fact that Bonnie’s hit was then on the charts—on the Dot label! “I refused to do it unless she gave me permission herself,” said Storm. “By golly, they brought her to the studio and she did give it to me.” Gale’s record climbed to #4, while Bonnie’s peaked at #6.
“I only recorded for 18 months,” wrote Storm. “I loved everything about the business -- learning new songs, developing a style, going into the studio, working with backup singers and an orchestra… It was an enormously exciting experience that sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.”
When Oh, Susanna! ended in 1960, Storm turned to dinner theatre.
She is honored with three stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame—one for radio, one for TV and one for recording.
Gale Storm was a 2008 nominee at the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Storm was a member of the South Shores Church in Dana Point, California. In 1981, she published her autobiography, I Ain't Down Yet, which describes her successful battle with alcoholism, with much encouragement from her first husband, Lee Bonnell. She was interviewed by author David C. Tucker for The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms, published in 2007 by McFarland and Company.
- Critchlow, Donald T. (2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 2014-08-20.
- Tucker, David C. (2007). "Chapter 9: Gale Storm: My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna", The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms. McFarland & Company, 141–156. ISBN 978-0-7864-2900-4. Retrieved on August 21, 2017.