Childhood & Early Life
Anne Gwynne was born on December 10, 1918 at Waco, Texas, in the United States.
She was the daughter of Jefferson Benjamin Trice, an apparel manufacturer, and Pearl (nee Guinn). During her early years, her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she learned drama at Stephens College. Career
As part of his job, Jefferson Benjamin Trice was required to travel and attend conventions. Anne accompanied her father to one of these conventions, held in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, she acquired a modeling job for Catalina Swimwear.
Having begun as a model, Anne Gwynne soon graduated to acting, a passion she had nurtured since a young age and one which led her to choose Drama as a subject in college.
Her initial professional appearances as an actor were in small theatre performances. In the early days of her acting career, during the 1930s, she -appeared in a newsreel and in a charity short.
In 1939, Anne got a big break when she signed a contract with Universal Studios. Following the contract, she was almost immediately offered a role in the Universal production, ‘Unexpected Father.’
Working with Universal, Anne became a darling of the audience. The studio cast her repeatedly in genre films, including musical comedy, a form that was popular during that era, and film noir.
She featured in a few Westerns too, with Universal. These include the popular film, ‘Men of Texas’, in which she appeared with Broderick Crawford and Robert Stack. Another of her memorable performances in a Western was in ‘Ride ‘Em Cowboy’, in which she shared the screen with the comedy duo Abbott and Costello. Both these films, which released in 1942, were among Anne’s favorite projects.
Though she started the 1940s with appearances in successful Westerns, it was a string of horror films of that decade that strengthened her reputation as an actress. The very first horror film in which Anne appeared was ‘Black Friday.’ In the film, released in 1940, she played the daughter of the character played by the legendary Boris Karloff.
She featured in ‘House of Frankenstein’ in 1944, which was to be her last horror film with Universal Pictures.
Anne brought to the horror pictures, an ethos of acting which was distinctly hers. As Tom Weaver, a writer and a horror genre expert, says, "To fans of the Universal horror films of the 1940s, Anne was one of the best and most popular leading ladies… Unlike the exotic 1930s horror heroines who generally were, or at least acted English or European or 'mid-Atlantic' at best, Anne was the spunky, bubbly, very American girl-next-door type -- the stuff of instant crushes for these movies' mostly male audiences."
Working through the years when the Second World War shook the world, Anne became a favorite pin-up among the American soldiers who were stationed in distant shores.
Anne Gwynne was also a pioneer in television acting. She played a prominent character in the very first filmed television series, ‘Public Prosecutor.’ The show was aired from 1947 to 1948. In the series, Gwynne played the role of Pat Kelly, the District Attorney’s secretary. She was part of the regular cast.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1945, Gwynne married Max M. Gilford, a Hollywood attorney. They had two children, Gregory and Gwynne. Unfortunately, Max passed away in 1965. Gwynne went on to become an actress, following in her mother’s footsteps.
Anne Gwynne died from a stroke, on March 31, 2003, at the Motion Picture Country Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.