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An accomplished actress and singer, with a fine voice and style and a glamorous personality, Gloria DeHaven appeared in several movie musicals in the '40s and '50s. Her parents were the popular stage entertainers the Carter DeHavens, and Gloria entered show business while she was quite young. In the early '40s she sang with acclaimed dance bands led by names such as Jan Savitt, and was employed as an extra in the Charlie Chaplin films Modern Times and The Great Dictator. After playing some bit parts, she signed to MGM and made her first impression in Best Foot Forward (1943) and, in the same year, took part in the all-star extravaganza Thousands Cheer. During the rest of the '40s she had roles in musicals such as Broadway Rhythm, Two Girls and a Sailor, Step Lively, Summer Holiday, and Yes Sir That's My Baby (1949), as well as playing several solely dramatic parts. In 1950 DeHaven portrayed her mother and sang "Who's Sorry Now" in the biopic of songwriters Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, and followed that with appearances in Summer Stock, I'll Get By, Two Tickets to Broadway, Down Among the Sheltering Palms, So This Is Paris, and The Girl Rush (1955).
With the advent of rock & roll, musical films underwent some radical changes in the late '50s, so DeHaven turned to television and stage work. In 1955 she co-starred with Ricardo Montalban on Broadway in Seventh Heaven, a musical version of the 1927 Janet Gaynor-Charles Farrell silent film classic. In the '70s she was still appearing in dramatic parts in films and U.S. television series. In 1989 she relaunched her career as a cabaret singer at the Rainbow & Stars in New York, where she sang saloon songs and talked of her vaudevillian parents who had launched her career so many years ago. It is not reported whether she dwelt on the subject of her several husbands, one of whom was another film star of the golden era of movie musicals, John Payne.