Silent screen star Gloria Swanson was known as a fashion icon of her day, despite her unglamorous screen debut in a Mack Sennett comedy playing a handy woman. Her rise to stardom was meteoric. She soon became a favorite of director Cecil B. DeMille who cast her in many of his epic movies. Her stardom allowed her to take a break from filming movies and focus on her passion for fashion. She made the successful transition into talkies, but quickly went into semi-retirement while at the top of her profession. She remained a Hollywood social fixture regardless. After effectively being out of movies for over fifteen years, she gave a tour-de-force performance in what is considered her comeback role as faded movie queen Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950).