Gale Storm, whose wholesome appearance and perky personality made her one of early television’s biggest stars on “My Little Margie” and “The Gale Storm Show,” has died. She was 87.
Storm, who had been in failing health in recent years, died Saturday at a convalescent hospital in Danville, said her son, Peter Bonnell.
Before landing the starring role in “My Little Margie” in 1952, Storm starred in numerous B movies opposite such stars as Roy Rogers, Eddie Albert and Jackie Cooper. After her last TV series, “The Gale Storm Show,” ended in 1960, she went on to a successful singing career while continuing to make occasional TV appearances.
Storm was a Bloomington, Texas, high schooler named Josephine Owaissa Cottle when she entered a talent contest for a radio show called “Gateway to Hollywood” in 1940. She was brought to Los Angeles for the finals, where her wholesome vivacity won over the radio audience and she was awarded a movie contract.
Given the quirky name Gale Storm, she went from contracts with RKO to Monogram to Universal, appearing in such low-budget films as “Where Are Your Children?” with Cooper and “Tom Brown’s School Days” with Freddie Bartholomew.
She was often cast in Westerns as the girl the cowboy left behind.
“My Little Margie” debuted on CBS as a summer replacement for “I Love Lucy” in 1952. It quickly became an audience favorite and its 126-episode run ended in 1955.
Storm, who had taken vocal lessons, sang on her second series, and several of her records did well on the charts, among them “I Hear You Knocking,” ”Teenage Prayer,” ”Memories Are Made of This” and “Ivory Tower.”
She appeared only sporadically on TV after “The Gale Storm Show,” guest starring on such programs as “Burke’s Law,” ”The Love Boat” and “Murder, She Wrote.”