Gloria McMillan

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Gloria McMillan
Gloria McMillan.jpg
McMillan in 1953
Born(1933-03-13)March 13, 1933
DiedJanuary 19, 2022 (aged 88)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materWestlake School for Girls
Mount Saint Mary's College
OccupationActress
Years active1947–1990
Known forOur Miss Brooks
Spouse(s)Gilbert W. Allen (1954–1974)
Ron Cocking (June 28, 1987 – January 19, 2022; her death)
Children5

Gloria McMillan (March 13, 1933 – January 19, 2022) was an American actress who worked extensively in radio, but is perhaps best known for her role as Harriet Conklin, the student of Miss Brooks and the daughter of Principal Osgood Conklin, on the 1950s sitcom Our Miss Brooks.

Early years[edit]

McMillan was born in Portland, Oregon, on March 13, 1933,[1] but her family moved to Hollywood, California, when she was 7. She attended Westlake School for Girls,[1] Immaculate Heart High School, and Mount Saint Mary's College.[2] She also studied piano under Amparo Iturbi, fitting four hours of practice in among her other daily activities.[1]

McMillan's sister, Janet, acted on stage and on radio and was a teacher.[3]

Stage[edit]

Early in her career, McMillan acted at the Pasadena Playhouse and with the La Jolla Players.[1] In 1974, she returned to the stage in Seattle, in Under Papa's Picture. The production reunited her with Eve Arden, with whom she had worked in Our Miss Brooks. The play ran for nine weeks and "broke all records in the history of Seattle legitimate theater attractions."[4] The production eventually went on tour to Washington, D.C., Dallas, Toronto, and London.[4]

Radio[edit]

At age 4, McMillan was singing on a radio station in Portland. Three years later, her family's relocation to Hollywood enabled her to become involved with radio entertainment there. The first radio drama on which she worked was Big Town.[1]

From 1948 to 1957, McMillan played Harriet Conklin, daughter of high school principal Osgood Conklin (Gale Gordon), on Our Miss Brooks,[5] from which show she starred opposite Eve Arden. Before beginning that program, she had the role of "Sharlee Bronson", girlfriend of the title character's ward, in Mayor of the Town.[6] She also was a member of the cast of Meet Corliss Archer[7] and was heard often on Dr. Christian.[8]

Television[edit]

From 1952 to 1956, McMillan portrayed Harriet Conklin in the television version of Our Miss Brooks.[9] In 1956, she had that same role in the Our Miss Brooks film.[10]

In the early 1960s, she was host of Faith of Our Children[11] on KRCA-TV.[12] In the fall of 1971, the Chancel Players of First United Presbyterian Church of San Bernardino appeared five times on Sunday Story Time, a children's television program on KABC-TV. The group was directed by McMillan,[13] and she and her husband, the church's pastor, appeared on camera with an introduction and conclusion for each episode.[14]

In 1976, McMillan had the role of nun Sister Ann in the pilot episode of Most Wanted on ABC,[15] and, in 1990, her last credit was an episode of Perfect Strangers.[16]

Teaching[edit]

In September 1969, McMillan opened Star Way Academy of Drama with students enrolled in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of classes.[17] In 1974, she and her second husband, Ron Cocking, opened The Looking Glass Studio of Performing Arts in San Bernardino, California with the goal of building self-confidence and self-respect in children, aiding in "the development of the child into a total person", rather than training "primarily for professional roles. On June 30, 2018, she retired from teaching when all classes at The Looking Glass Studio of Performing Arts transferred to their new Redlands location run by her daughter, Kelly Uminski.[18][15]

Personal life and death[edit]

On November 23, 1954, McMillan married Gilbert W. Allen,[19] a senior at the University of Southern California,[20] in Beverly Vista Community Church in Beverly Hills, California. The wedding had Our Miss Brooks connections, as Gale Gordon gave the bride away,[21] Richard Crenna was an usher, and Eve Arden's daughter was a junior bridesmaid.[22] They had two sons and two daughters.[23] Their marriage ended in divorce, and she later married Ron Cocking.[24]

She was a member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.[17]

Gloria McMillan died at her home in Huntington Beach, California, on January 19, 2022, aged 88. She had been diagnosed two months earlier, in November 2021, with a cancerous tumor in her bile duct.[25][26]

Church activities[edit]

As a youth, McMillan was involved in church activities, including teaching a Sunday School class of first-grade children and leading her church's eighth-grade girls' club.[27] Six months after her wedding, McMillan announced that she was giving up acting to help her husband in his ministry as he was preparing to enter the Presbyterian San Francisco Theological Seminary. The couple met through their mutual work with young people at Beverly Vista Community Church. McMillan said, "We've both had a good taste of church work, and we love it."[28]

In 1965, McMillan and Allen led in establishing the first Presbyterian church in Huntington Beach, California, with Allen having been assigned that role by the Presbytery of Los Angeles.[29] McMillan directed the drama group of First Presbyterian Church in San Bernardino, California, when her husband was pastor there in the late 1960s.[17]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1956 Our Miss Brooks Harriet Conklin [26][30]
1975 Smile Lady Judge [31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "'Our Miss Brooks' Actress Seems Headed For Stage Stardom". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. May 1, 1949. p. A-17. Retrieved February 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  2. ^ "Mount Drama Club, 'The Upstagers', To Present 'The Heiress' Nov. 29". The View. California, Los Angeles. November 12, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Two from Ontario Will Be in Community Theater Play". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. April 4, 1954. p. 13. Retrieved February 3, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ a b Perlee, Charles D. (June 1, 1974). "Roles somewhat reversed". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. 27. Retrieved February 6, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 262–263. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  6. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 443. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  7. ^ "Meet Corliss Archer". Variety. January 30, 1952. p. 31.
  8. ^ "Gloria McMillan, CBS Feature Player, Reaches Crossroads". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. April 16, 1950. p. 58. Retrieved February 3, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  9. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 798. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  10. ^ "Our Miss Brooks (1956)". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Simpson, Millie (May 1, 1960). "9 P.M., Daring, Thrilling, 'Aquarodeo' on Ch. 4". Independent Star-News. California, Pasadena. p. 73. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  12. ^ "Gloria McMillan ToBe Hostess". The Desert Sun. California, Palm Springs. April 30, 1960. p. 9. Retrieved February 5, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  13. ^ Perlee, Charles D. (October 28, 1971). "San Bernardino's Chancel Players To Appear on TV". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. C-1. Retrieved February 6, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ "Chancel Players On TV Sunday". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. October 28, 1971. p. C-4. Retrieved February 6, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ a b Hite, Rosemary (September 22, 1976). "Poise grows through the Looking Glass". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. 34. Retrieved February 7, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  16. ^ Sheeran, Owen (May 13, 1991). "Kids are getting into the act". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. D-1. Retrieved February 7, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  17. ^ a b c "Actress Sets Opening For Academy". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. September 18, 1969. p. 33. Retrieved February 5, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  18. ^ "History". LGSPA. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  19. ^ "Marriages". Variety. December 1, 1954. p. 79.
  20. ^ "Actress Marries". The Marshall News Messenger. Texas, Marshall. Associated Press. November 25, 1954. p. 5. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  21. ^ Goode, Bud (April 1955). "Faith in each other". TV Radio Mirror. 43 (5): 36–37, 81–82. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "SC Student to Wed Actress Gloria McMillan". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. November 16, 1954. p. 6. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  23. ^ Oliver, Ione (May 4, 1969). "She Loves Family, Church and the Arts". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. 15.
  24. ^ Wilson, Margo (April 28, 1994). "Dancers on their toes for new ballet". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. p. D-1. Retrieved February 7, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  25. ^ Barnes, Mike (2022-01-25). "Gloria McMillan, Actress in 'Our Miss Brooks,' Dies at 88". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  26. ^ a b "'Our Miss Brooks' Star Gloria McMillan Dies at 88". Extratv.com. January 20, 2022. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  27. ^ "Church Leader". The Bridgeport Post. Connecticut, Bridgeport. August 29, 1954. p. 35. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  28. ^ Bacon, James (September 1, 1955). "Leaving TV For Role as Pastor's Wife". Des Moines Tribune. Iowa, Des Moines. Associated Press. p. 19. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  29. ^ "Minister, Actress Start New Church". Independent. California, Long Beach. January 9, 1965. p. 9. Retrieved February 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  30. ^ "Our Miss Brooks". www.tcm.com. TCM Movie Database. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  31. ^ "SMILE (1975)". American Film Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2022.

External links[edit]