Actor Gloria Holden

Gloria Anna Holden (September 5, 1903 – March 22, 1991) was an English-born American film actress, best known for her role as Dracula’s Daughter. She often portrayed cold society women.

Early life

Born in London, England, Holden emigrated to the United States as a child with her parents, Charles Laurence Sutherland and Eska (née Bergmann). Her mother was German.[better source needed] She attended school in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and later studied at New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Before she became an actress, she modeled for artists, was a shopper for a store, and worked in a beauty salon. In her early teens, living in suburban Philadelphia (Gladwyne), she took voice lessons from Philip Warren Cook and was a church chorister in Ardmore and, later, Overbrook.


Holden’s early stage work included small parts in plays such as The Royal Family, in which she spoke four lines playing a nurse. She was an understudy to Mary Ellis in Children of Darkness, and had a minor role in That Ferguson Family. She was an understudy for Brass Ankle (1931), had a bit part in The Desert Song (1926), and succeeded Lilly Cahill in As Husbands Go at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway, in June 1931. In August 1932, Holden was part of the cast of Manhattan Melody at the Longacre Theatre. The Lawrence Hazard play, adapted by L. Lawrence Weber, also featured Helen Lowell, Minnie Dupree and William Corbett as players. She was the leading lady in Survivor (1933), written by D.L. James. Holden was among the cast members in Memory (1933), a Myron Fagan play.[citation needed]

Holden was active in stock theater in Cincinnati, Ohio; Princeton, New Jersey; and Scarborough, New York.


She may be best remembered for two roles in her long career, that of Mme. Zola in The Life of Emile Zola (1937), and her “exotic” depiction of the title role in Dracula’s Daughter (1936). Her performance in the latter influenced the writings of horror novelist Anne Rice, and Dracula’s Daughter is directly mentioned in Rice’s novel The Queen of the Damned.[citation needed] In July 1937, Holden was assigned to play the character of Marian Morgan in The Man Without a Country (1937). The Technicolor short co-starred John Litel and was nominated for a Short Subject (Color) Academy Award. Her film career ended with This Happy Feeling (1958).


Holden performed on Eddie Cantor’s radio program for 26 weeks:352 and played a non-singing Julie La Verne on the 1940 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Show Boat, based on the 1936 film version.

Personal life

Holden married Harold A. Winston on December 17, 1932; the couple divorced on December 2, 1937. In 1944, she married her third husband, William Hoyt, to whom she remained married until her death. They had one son, William Christopher Hoyt, who was born in 1948 and killed in an automobile accident in 1970, listed as a homicide.


Holden died at a Redlands hospital:361 of a myocardial infarction in 1991, aged 87.


Harold Winston, who is credited with helping discover actor William Holden, named him in honor of Gloria Holden. A version of how William Holden obtained his stage name is based on a statement by George Ross of Billboard magazine. George Ross stated: “William Holden, the lad just signed for the coveted lead in “Golden Boy”, used to be Bill Beadle. And here is how he obtained his new movie tag. On the Columbia lot is an assistant director and scout named Harold Winston. Not long ago he was divorced from the actress, Gloria Holden, but carried the torch after the marital rift. Winston was one of those who discovered the “Golden Boy” newcomer and who renamed him—in honor of his former spouse!…”

Partial filmography

  • The Return of Chandu (1934, Serial) – Party Guest [Ch. 1] (uncredited)
  • Wife vs. Secretary (1936) – Joan Carstairs
  • Dracula’s Daughter (1936) – Countess Marya Zaleska (Dracula’s Daughter)
  • The Life of Emile Zola (1937) – Alexandrine Zola
  • Hawaii Calls (1938) – Mrs. Milburn
  • Test Pilot (1938) – Mrs. May Benson
  • Girls’ School (1938) – Miss Laurel
  • Dodge City (1939) – Mrs. Cole
  • Miracles for Sale (1939) – Madame Rapport
  • A Child Is Born (1939) – Mrs. Kempner
  • This Thing Called Love (1940) – Genevieve Hooper
  • Passage from Hong Kong (1941) – Madame Wrangell
  • The Corsican Brothers (1941) – Countess Franchi
  • A Gentleman After Dark (1942) – Miss Clark
  • Miss Annie Rooney (1942) – Esther White
  • Apache Trail (1942) – Mrs. James V. Thorne
  • Behind the Rising Sun (1943) – Sara Braden
  • Strange Holiday (1945) – Mrs. (Jean) Stevenson
  • The Girl of the Limberlost (1945) – Phyllis Gray
  • Adventures of Rusty (1945) – Louise Hover
  • Hit the Hay (1945) – Mimi Valdez
  • Strange Holiday (1946) – Mrs. McDonnell (uncredited)
  • Undercover Maisie (1947) – Mrs. Guy Canford
  • The Hucksters (1947) – Mrs. Kimberly
  • Killer McCoy (1947) – Mrs. Laura McCoy
  • Precious Waters (1948) – Mrs. Ferris
  • The Sickle or the Cross (1949) – Louise Cannon
  • A Kiss for Corliss (1949) – Mrs. Janet Archer
  • Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) – Clarissa Pennock
  • Dream Wife (1953) – Mrs. Jean Landwell
  • The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) – Mrs. Duchin
  • This Happy Feeling (1958) – Mrs. Dover
  • Auntie Mame (1958) – Guest at Garden Party (uncredited) (final film role)
  • External Links

    Actor Gloria Holden – Wikipedia

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