The theater may have gone dark yet Gloria Dorson’s light shines brightly.
Gloria Dorson, actress, mother, and friend, died on Wednesday in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was 90. Gloria was preceded in death by her husband, Richard M. Dorson, and her daughter, Linda Marie Dorson.
Gloria’s sparkling blue eyes and deep dimples lit up the stage, the screen, and the tennis court. A theater major and graduate of Michigan State University, Gloria met Dick when she took his class and her grade kept her off the Dean’s List. Love triumphed and she married him nonetheless.
Gloria put acting on hold when she took on her favorite role: mom to Roland, Jeffrey, and Linda. Still, she employed her theater chops by teaching creative dramatics to children in Bloomington, Indiana, where she thrived when Dick became a professor at IU.
After the children were grown, Gloria renewed her acting dream in regional theater productions including the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Minnesota, and others. Perhaps you saw her in one of her seven plays at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis.
In 1985, Gloria was cast as the wife of the Hickory High principal in Hoosiers. With two contacts and no agent or manager, Gloria set out at age 55 to conquer Hollywood.
And conquer she did. Gloria appeared in Golden Girls, LA Law, Home Improvement, General Hospital, and many other TV shows. In addition to television, Gloria cussed out Arnold Schwarzenegger as the woman in the phone booth in Total Recall, a scene that sent her young grandsons into gales of laughter.
Gloria also pursued live theatre, appearing in plays at the Geffen Theatre, the Pasadena Playhouse, Seattle ACT, the Alaska Repertory Theatre, and other theatres on the west coast. At the same time, she perfected her tennis game, culminating in a national tournament win in Indian Wells, California at 75.
Later in life, Gloria frequently traveled the world with niece Mary Scott, nephew Kevin Saunders, and grandniece Molly Saunders-Scott. Last summer, she was delighted to meet her great grandniece Moira.
Gloria (a/k/a Moudly/Grandmoudly) is survived by sons Roland and Jeffrey, daughter-in-law Patti, adored grandsons Ben and Daniel, beloved nieces and nephews, and her adopted Indianapolis family.
The family thanks the staff at Marquette Senior Living for all the loving care and comfort they provided to Gloria.
A celebration of Gloria’s life will take place in May. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to the Humane Society of Louisiana, (https://humanela.org/donate/) or Planned Parenthood Action (https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org), or a nonprofit of your choice.
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