In 1916, Swanson moved to California to appear in Mack Sennett's Keystone comedies opposite Bobby Vernon. With their great screen chemistry, the pair became popular. In 1919, Swanson signed with Paramount Pictures and worked often with Cecil B. DeMille, who turned her into a romantic lead in such films as Don't Change Your Husband (1919), Male and Female (1919), Why Change Your Wife? (1920), Something to Think About (1920), and The Affairs of Anatol (1921).
In the space of two years, Swanson rocketed to stardom and was one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. She was a star in the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon. Throughout the 1920s, Swanson was Hollywood's top box office magnet.
Swanson was nominated for the first Academy Award in the Best Actress category. She also produced her own films, including Sadie Thompson and The Love of Sunya. In 1929, Swanson transitioned to talkies with The Trespasser. Personal problems and changing tastes saw her popularity wane during the 1930s when she moved into theater, and later television.
In 1960, Gloria Swanson was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures at 6750 Hollywood Boulevard, and another for television at 6301 Hollywood Boulevard.
Shortly after returning to New York from her home in the Portuguese Riviera in 1983, Swanson died in New York City in New York Hospital from a heart ailment, aged 84.
As one of the greatest stars of early Hollywood, today, Swanson is most remembered for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in 1950's Sunset Boulevard.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of young Gloria Swanson in the 1920s and 1930s.
Gloria Swanson in the early 1920s
Gloria Swanson in 'My American Wife', 1922
Gloria Swanson in a monkey fur coat, 1922
Gloria Swanson, 1922
Gloria Swanson, 1921
Gloria Swanson, circa 1920s
Gloria Swanson, circa 1920s
Gloria Swanson sits with her knees crossed and wears white gloves, a cloche hat with a leopard print bow, and a matching scarf, 1925
Gloria Swanson photographed by Edward Steichen for 'Vanity Fair', 1924
Gloria Swanson looking to the side and wearing a black dress with a pin on the left lapel, photo by Edward Steichen, 1924
Gloria Swanson from 'The Humming Bird', 1924
Gloria Swanson, 1924
A scene from 'Zaza' with Gloria Swanson in pensive mood, 1923
Gloria Swanson portrait from 'Her Gilded Cage', 1922
Gloria Swanson, 1925
Gloria Swanson, the American leading lady who began her career as a Mack Sennett bathing beauty, 1926
Gloria Swanson plays a woman of ill repute in the film 'Sadie Thompson', 1928
Gloria Swanson in 'The Trespasser', 1929
Gloria Swanson in 'The Trespasser', photograph by Everett, 1929
Gloria Swanson viewed making her debut as a broadcaster over a chain of stations controlled by the National Broadcasting Company, 10th November 1929
American actress Gloria Swanson poses in a long black cloak, which she lifts dramatically at the corners, photo by Ernest Bachrach, 1930
Gloria Swanson by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1930
Gloria Swanson holds a silk scarf up to the light, framing her profile, 1930
Gloria Swanson in 'What a Widow!', 1930
Gloria Swanson lifts a pair of small weights while a set of rings hang over her head, photo by Ernest Bachrach, 1930
Gloria Swanson, circa 1930s
American actress Gloria Swanson in a scene from the film 'Indiscreet', directed by Leo McCarey for Art Cinema Corporation, 1931
Gloria Swanson wearing a fur hat and coat accessorised by a striped scarf and elbow length gloves, photo by Ernest Bachrach, 1931
Gloria Swanson wearing an orchid chiffon velvet 'Tosca' gown with diamonds, tiny mirrors and steel beads, designed by Chanel, 1931
Publicity still of silent screen star Gloria Swanson starring in early talkie 'Tonight or Never', 1931
Gloria Swanson by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1934
Gloria Swanson from 'Music in the Air', 1934
Gloria Swanson in 'Music in the Air', 1934
Gloria Swanson in the film 'Music in the Air', photo by Otto Dyar, 1934
Gloria Swanson leans against an ornate mantelpiece, wearing a two-piece evening gown, photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 21st September 1934
Gloria Swanson leans on a tiger skin, with her hair dressed in a coiled braid, photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 28th February 1934
Gloria Swanson photographed by Clarence Sinclair Bull, circa 1934
Gloria Swanson spreads out her arms to show off the sheer black lace of her wrap, photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 15th October 1934
Gloria Swanson wearing a clinging floor-length evening dress with slit sleeves, photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 23rd February 1934
Gloria Swanson wears a gown designed and created by Rume Hubert for her role in the film 'Music In The Air', directed by Joe May for Fox, 1934
Gloria Swanson, 1934
Gloria Swanson, 1937
Gloria Swanson, 1937
Gloria Swanson by George Hurrell, circa 1930s
Gloria Swanson, circa early 1930s