Gloria Fallon, who passed away this week at age 68, raised genial Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in classic overprotective mom style. If Gloria was trying to prepare her children for success, Jimmy’s meteoric rise through the entertainment business surely saw her strategy affirmed. Fallon himself said his leash was so tight in childhood he was only allowed to hang out with his sister, named Gloria after their mother. “Everybody thought we were boyfriend and girlfriend,” Fallon said in an interview with Jane mag when he was a star on SNL in the 1990s. It wasn’t a cool feeling.
The Fallons left Brooklyn when Jimmy was two and his father took a job in upstate New York with IBM. They finally moved back closer to the city when Jimmy started to make it big, buying a house in Bronxville, a wealthy suburb just north of the city. But the path wasn’t a straight line from Brooklyn to the suburbs to wealth for the Fallons. Syracuse magazine reports that Fallon’s mother was once a nun. But it didn’t take. Gloria Fallon was also raised in an overprotective environment — not “allowed to leave her stoop.” Fallon told New York mag about his mom: “She was a nun for about a month, but then she was like, ‘You know what? I didn’t get the calling!’ Ha! When did Sound of Music come out? I think there was like a thing where everyone wanted to be a nun.” Sound of Music, btw, came out in 1964. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is on a break while Fallon grieves the loss of his mom.