Family tree of Gladys SWARTHOUT

Singer & Musician

AmericanBorn Gladys SWARTHOUT

American mezzo-soprano opera singer

Born on December 25, 1900 in Deepwater, Missouri, USA , United States

Died on July 07, 1969 in Florence, Italy

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While studying at the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, a group of friends arranged an audition for her with the Chicago Civic Opera Company. Much to her surprise, she ended up with a contract, though at the time she didn't know a single operatic role. By her debut a few months later, she had memorized 23 parts and participated in over half of the season's operas. She sang for the Ravinia Opera Company of Chicago for three seasons. In 1929, she made her debut with the New York Metropolitan Opera Company, where she was a participant for several decades. She regularly worked eight hours a day with vocal coaches, and would spend an hour or more singing duets with her husband. She also advocated inflating balloons and blowing bubbles to strengthen the chest.

She starred in five films for Paramount Pictures, including Rose of the Rancho, Romance in the Dark, Give Us This Night and Ambush. For the movie Champagne Waltz with Fred MacMurray, she sang her songs in five languages, including French, German, Italian, and Spanish for the foreign versions of the films. Swarthout also performed on a number of opera shows on television. In one of her final public singing performances, she did a concert in January 1951 at the Met. She continued to make public appearances, including an appearance on What's My Line? in 1951. The Railroad Hour presented Martha on February 22, 1954. She was often heard on radio programs, including those of General Motors, RCA-Magic Key, Camel Caravan, the Ford Symphony and the Prudential Family Hour. In a 1942 article, Time Magazine reported that she had earned $1,250,000 in her lifetime. One of her signature songs on the radio was Bless this House featured in advertising and commonly found framed in many homes throughout America. Shortly after World War II Swarthout recorded "Just Awearyin' for You" (w. 1894 by Frank Lebby Stanton, m. 1901 by Carrie Jacobs-Bond).


She received an honorary Doctor of Music degree, and is the only woman to have sung for the entire assembled Congress of the United States. She also sang for the Diplomatic Corps, Supreme Court and the President on the occasion of the 150th Session of Congress.

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Geographical origins

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