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Gale Storm's Life Before, during and after Her Classic Sitcom 'My Little Margie'

Busayo Ogunjimi
May 10, 2020
06:00 A.M.
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American actress Josephine Owaissa Cottle, popularly known as Gale Storm came into the spotlight with her starring role in the sitcom, "My Little Margie," and later on, "The Gale Storm Show."

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Gale Storm was born on April 5, 1922, and was seventeen-months old when she lost her father, William. This prompted her family to move from their hometown Bloomington to McDade, which is between Austin and Houston.

American actress and singer Gale Storm photographed in 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

American actress and singer Gale Storm photographed in 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

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Gale's mom struggled to make ends meet and take care of her five children, of which Gale was the youngest. She worked as a seamstress and a milliner. The family later moved to and settled in Houston.

The young Gale began taking ice-skating and dancing lessons and later became interested in acting. She partook in High School dramatics and was loved by her teachers, who encouraged her to join a local radio contest.

Gale won the contest, known as the "Gateway to Hollywood" contest, allowing her to win the national contest title, which she did, after heading to Hollywood with her mom.

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The actress soon bagged a contract with RKO pictures, and was handed her stage name, "Gale Storm." The studio dropped her after six months, but Gale found other employment opportunities with Monogram and Universal.

Gale made appearances in several B-rated musicals, mysteries, and westerns, and was a natural fit for filming, with her wholesomeness and open-faced prettiness. She appeared in several other projects but didn't get the fame her talent deserved.

Gale Storm also became increasingly alcoholic and was said to have the disease of alcoholism.

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That changed when Gale turned 30, as she bagged her first television series, "My Little Margie," a sitcom that was widely accepted by most viewers. It co-starred Charles Farrell, a famous movie star, who played the role of Gale's dad in the sitcom.

Based on her starring role in the sitcom, Gale soon bagged another high profile role with "The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna," where she played the role of a cruise ship director.

"The Gale Storm Show" ended its run, and Gale Storm also looked to go off the spotlight with it. She told "Argus" in 1973 that she stopped acting then because she was tired, and that it wasn't necessarily a retirement.

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Actress Gale Storm at the 43rd Annual Thalians Ball on October 17, 1998 | Photo: Getty Images

Actress Gale Storm at the 43rd Annual Thalians Ball on October 17, 1998 | Photo: Getty Images

Another reason given for the actress's lack of public appearance was her family struggles, with rumors going on that her husband, Lee Bonnell, with whom she shared four children then, was jealous of her success.

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Gale Storm also became increasingly alcoholic and was said to have the disease of alcoholism, thus sidelining her career, with the actress drinking more alcohol, while trying to be a mother to her children.

Gale later sought help for her alcoholism, and chronicled her battle with it in her autobiography, "I Ain't Down Yet." She also appeared, for the last time, on television in 1989, in the drama series, "Murder, She Wrote."

Gale Storm at the Murder, She Wrote 100th Episode Celebration on February 12, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images

Gale Storm at the Murder, She Wrote 100th Episode Celebration on February 12, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images

The mother of four was widowed twice, with her first husband, Bonnell, dying in 1986, while her second husband, Paul Masterson, whom she married in 1988, died in 1996.

Gale Storm's health began to fail, and she was taken to a convalescent home in Danville, California. She died, in the home, on June 27, 2009, at the age of 87.

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