Saturday, August 21, 2010

RIP Gloria Winters

Gloria Winters, Perky Star of Wholesome 'Sky King', Dies

Gloria Winters, who personified youthful, clean-cut American innocence
in the 1950s children's television series "Sky King," died on Aug. 14 at
her home in Vista, Calif., just north of San Diego. She was in her late

The cause was complications of pneumonia, her family told The Los
Angeles Times.

"Sky King" was a contemporary western about an Arizona rancher and
pilot, the title character, who ran into the likes of jewel smugglers,
bank robbers and gangsters. Ms. Winters played Sky's blond, baby-faced,
perky but earnest and unfailingly helpful teenage niece, Penny, who
often became involved in the adventures.

She played the role in 72 episodes from 1952 to 1959. (Kirby Grant, who
played Sky King, died in 1985.)

Although she retired from show business after "Sky King" went off the
air, during its run Ms. Winters also did guest acting roles in numerous
1950s series, including "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," "Racket
Squad" and "Death Valley Days." She had made her credited television
debut as Babs, the dreamy-eyed teenage daughter, in the first season
(1949-50) of the working-class sitcom "The Life of Riley," when Jackie
Gleason played Riley. William Bendix played the role in later seasons.

Ms. Winters was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 28 - sources disagree on
whether the year was 1931 or 1932 - and began acting as a child. She
found love through her most famous role, marrying Dean Vernon, a sound
engineer on "Sky King." He died in 2001.

Some five years after the series ended, Ms. Winters wrote an etiquette
book for young girls, "Penny's Guide to Teenage Charm and Personality."
That book led to a more recent claim to fame.

In the mid-1990s the alternative rock group Nada Surf used text from the
book for its song and video "Popular." Along with advice on breaking up
with a boy (if you are straightforward, he'll "respect you for your
frankness"), Ms. Winters declared, "Being attractive is the most
important thing there is."

Born: 11/28/1932, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 8/14/2010, Vista, California, U.S.A.

Gloria Winter's westerns – actress:
El Paso – 1949 (Francine Maylon)
The Lone Ranger (TV) – 1950 (Bonnie Dexter)
Stagecoach Driver – 1951 (Sue Cassidy)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1951 (Sue Miller)
The Range Rider (TV) – 1951, 1952 (Nicky Ann Brown, Sally Roberts, Linda Tyler, Jerry Harris)
The Roy Rogers Show (TV) – 1952 (Laraine Dunlap)
Sky King (TV) – 1952-1955 (Penny King)
The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (TV) – 1953 (Coralee Bradley)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1953 (Millie Stewart)
Stories of the Century (TV) – 1954 (Little Britches)
Brave Eagle (TV) – 1955 (Lieutenant's fiance)
Judge Roy Bean (TV) – 1956 (Beth)
Sheriff of Cochise (TV) – 1957 (Nancy)
Frontier Doctor (TV) – 1959 (waitress)
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1960 (Ruthie Jensen)


  1. A dear friend for the last eight years, a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul, she will be missed by all who knew her. Keep flyin', Penny.

    Goodbye, Gloria.

  2. Many a young boy's first real crush with Penny's character. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Gloria and her husband a number of years ago. Both were so down to earth it was very easy to talk to them.

  3. Penny is gone,well another dream date is gone :(
    SKY KING was a great show and early influence on my dreams.