Gloria Dawn (actor)

Gloria Dawn (26 February 1929 – 2 April 1978) was an Australian actress of film and stage, singer and vaudevillian performer. She was one of leading stars of the stage from the 1950s to her death.

Early life

Dawn was born in Port Melbourne, Victoria, the only daughter of theatrical agent William Edward Evans and Zilla Emma Edith Odling, a native of Thailand. Both her parents were vaudeville performers, known as "Billy and Weatherly", and she toured with them, appearing on stage from infancy and doing Shirley Temple impersonations. At 12 Dawn was one of the Tivoli Gang of juvenile stars, performing in the Crazy Show at the Tivoli Theatre.[1] She also began playing soubrette on stage, in shows such as the Naughty Nineties at the Tivoli.[2]


Dawn featured in everything from pantomime, cabaret, vaudeville, revue and musical and comedy drama. In 1949 she was the star of the show, Sunny, at the Cremorne Theatre in Brisbane.[3]

In the 1950s, as the queen of revue, she appeared in productions such as Once Upon a Mattress and C.J. Dennis' iconic The Sentimental Bloke and A Cup of Tea, a Bex and a Good Lie Down. In the 1970s stage roles included The Slaughter House of St. Theresa Day, Mother Courage and A Hard God. According to The Canberra Times, Dawn "won the greatest acclaim of her career for the leading role in Gypsy, a musical based on the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee".[4]

Her film credits include They're a Weird Mob in 1966 The Mango Tree in 1977.

Personal life

Dawn married variety artist Francis Patrick McCleary in Brisbane on 15 January 1947 and had four children. They separated in 1970.[5]

She died from cancer at the King George V Hospital in Camperdown, Sydney on 2 April 1978.[4]


  1. "Music in the Open Air". Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954). 1 March 1941. p. 12. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  2. "Gloria Gay Glamor Girl". Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954). 9 April 1944. p. 27. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. "No title". Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954). 26 March 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. "In Brief". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 3 April 1978. p. 3. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. "Gloria Dawns Anew". The Australian Women's Weekly. 34, (41). Australia, Australia. 8 March 1967. p. 2. Retrieved 8 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
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