Gia Scala

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Gia Scala
Gia Scala.jpg
Gia Scala
BornGiovanna Scoglio
(1934-03-03)March 3, 1934
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
DiedApril 30, 1972(1972-04-30) (aged 38)
Hollywood, California, USA
Cause of deathAccidental drug and alcohol overdose
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California
OccupationActress, model
Years active1955—1969
Spouse(s)Don Burnett (1959-1970; divorced)
 
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Gia Scala
Gia Scala.jpg
Gia Scala
BornGiovanna Scoglio
(1934-03-03)March 3, 1934
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
DiedApril 30, 1972(1972-04-30) (aged 38)
Hollywood, California, USA
Cause of deathAccidental drug and alcohol overdose
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California
OccupationActress, model
Years active1955—1969
Spouse(s)Don Burnett (1959-1970; divorced)

Gia Scala (March 3, 1934 – April 30, 1972) was an English-born actress and model of Italian and Irish descent.

Early life[edit]

She was born Giovanna Scoglio in Liverpool, Lancashire, to a Sicilian father, Pietro Scoglio, and an Irish mother, Eileen Sullivan. She had one sister, Tina Scala, also an actress.

Scala lived in Rome, and moved to the United States at age fourteen where she studied and worked in New York City. She graduated from Bayside High School in Queens, New York. For a time she was undecided on what to do next. She worked in New York as a filing clerk for an insurance company and as a reservation clerk for Scandinavian Airlines.[1]

Career[edit]

Scala in an undated publicity shot.

Scala studied acting at night and made appearances on some radio shows and television quiz shows. At the end of 1954 an agent had her tested for the role of Mary Magdalene in a film which was to be made called The Gallileans. She did not get the part but was signed to contracts by both Universal Studios and Columbia Pictures in Hollywood. Using the stage name "Gia Scala," she made her film debut in 1955 in All That Heaven Allows with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.

However, personal problems plagued her. In 1958, she attempted suicide. Later that same year, she became an American citizen.[2] She landed roles in Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957), The Garment Jungle also in 1957 and The Tunnel of Love (1958), which featured Richard Widmark and Doris Day. Her performance as a labour organiser in The Garment Jungle was critically acclaimed.

Scala received recognition for her performance as "Anna" in the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, starring Gregory Peck and David Niven.

She made frequent appearances on American television shows during the 1960s. Scala co-starred with William Shatner in a 1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode entitled "Mother, May I Go Out to Swim?," another called "Deathmate," and with Christopher Lee in a 1964 Alfred Hitchcock Hour segment entitled "The Sign of Satan." She also guest starred in other series, Convoy, The Islanders, The Rogues, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Twelve O'Clock High (1965), Tarzan (NBC series) (1967) and It Takes a Thief (1969) in the episode "The Artist Is for Framing."

Scala's career began to deteriorate as a result of alcoholism and she was released from her contracts with Universal Studios and Columbia Pictures. One of her boyfriends was actor Steve McQueen, the two dated from 1952 to 1954. Scala would marry actor/stockbroker Don Burnett on 21 August 1959. The marriage would end in divorce on 1 September 1970.[3]

Later years and death[edit]

Having British citizenship due to her birth, Scala moved to Britain to work in films, but her troubles only escalated. Suffering from severe emotional problems, aggravated by alcohol, she made another unsuccessful suicide attempt before returning to Hollywood.

On the night of April 30, 1972, Scala was found dead in her Hollywood Hills home at 7944 Woodrow Wilson Drive from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. She was 38 years old.[4] Scala's death was later ruled accidental.[5] She is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crivello, Kirk (1990-01-01). Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of 14 Hollywood Beauties. Berkley. p. 180. ISBN 0-425-11968-8. 
  2. ^ Crivello, Kirk (1990-01-01). Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of 14 Hollywood Beauties. Berkley. p. 188. ISBN 0-425-11968-8. 
  3. ^ Crivello, Kirk (1990-01-01). Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of 14 Hollywood Beauties. Berkley. pp. 187–188. ISBN 0-425-11968-8. 
  4. ^ "Gia Scala Is Dead; Film Actress, 38". The New York Times. 1972-05-02. p. 46. 
  5. ^ "The Private Life and Times of Gia Scala". glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 

External links[edit]