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March 30, 2021

Stunning Portraits of Gloria Swanson in the 1920s

In the mid-1920s, Gloria Swanson (March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983) was considered the most bankable star of her era. She made a number of financially successful films for Famous Players-Lasky during her seven years at the company, but decided to turn down a one-million-dollar-a-year contract with Paramount in order to join United Artists. Similar to many actresses at the time, Swanson started her own production company, which was the umbrella organization for her agreement with United Artist.

Under the Swanson Producing Corporation, she produced The Love of Sunya (1927) with herself in the title role. Swanson’s decision made her a notable exception, as actresses rarely got involved in the business side, while Swanson herself chose to handle the details of her company.

In 1927, Swanson’s company moved forward with Sadie Thompson (1928), a movie considered extremely controversial due to its subject matter. The film turned out to be a financial and critical success, earning Swanson her first nomination for Best Actress at the first annual Academy Awards. She, however, was in dire financial straits by the end of 1927, as her two productions failed to generate income quick enough to offset her production loan debts. Swanson made her sound film debut in The Trespasser (1929), also a financial and critical success, earning her a second Academy Award nomination.

Take a look back at a stunning Swanson in the Twenties through 24 beautiful vintage portraits:

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