Birth Date: April 5, 1922 / Age: 94
Birth Place: McDade, Texas, USA
Also Credited as: Gail Storm
Biography: Josephine Owaissa Cottle (born April 5, 1922), better known as Gale Storm, is an American actress/singer. Born in Bloomington, Texas, her father, William Walter Cottle, passed away when she was 13 months old and her mother, Minnie Corina Cottle, struggled to raise five children alone. Minnie took in sewing, then opened a millinery shop in McDade, Texas, which failed, and then moved to Houston. Josephine learned to be an accomplished skater and dancer, and in Junior High and High School she performed in the drama club. When she was a 17-year-old senior in high school, two of her teachers urged her to enter the Gateway to Hollywood Contest held at the CBS Radio Studio in Hollywood, California where first prize was a one-year contract with a movie studio. She won and was given the name "Gale Storm," while her performing partner, Lee Bonnell from South Bend, Indiana (whom she later married) became Terry Belmont.
After winning, she went on to become an American icon of the 1950s, performing in more than thirty-five motion pictures and starring in two highly successful television shows.
From 1952 to 1955, My Little Margie, originally a summer replacement for I Love Lucy, ran for 126 episodes and was immediately followed by The Gale Storm Show (aka Oh! Susanna), that ran for 143 episodes between 1956 and 1960.
In Gallatin, Tennessee, a 10-year-old girl, Linda Wood, was watching Gale Storm on a Sunday night television comedy show hosted by Gordon MacRae in 1954, singing one of the popular songs of the day. Linda's father, hearing the singing, asked Linda who was singing and was told it was Gale Storm from My Little Margie. Linda's father was Randy Wood, president of Dot Records, and he liked the sound so well that he called to sign Gale Storm before the end of the television show. Her first record, "I Hear You Knockin' " (a cover version of a rhythm and blues hit by Smiley Lewis, in turn based on the old Buddy Bolden standard "The Bucket's Got A Hole In It") sold over a million copies. It was followed in 1957 by the haunting ballad of lost love, "Dark Moon" that went to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. In her career, Gale Storm had several top ten songs, headlined in Las Vegas, and appeared in numerous stage plays.
In 1981, she published her autobiography, I Ain't Down Yet, which described, among other things, her battle with alcoholism.
Gale Storm has three Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Radio, Music, and Television.