‘I Will Survive’ Documentary Tells the Story of Gloria Gaynor

Singer Gloria Gaynor performs at the Diamond Soiree Gala, as part of the Diamond Soiree weekend, at the Spanish Riding School June 26, 2004 in Vienna, Austria
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Gloria Gaynor has, in fact, survived. In her new documentary, she opens up about the struggles she has faced in her career from being a disco star to hitting rock bottom. Gaynor proves that she isn’t done yet and the documentary details her journey to record a gospel album. For decades, she has been best known for her anthem “I Will Survive,” and in recent years she achieved her dream of writing and recording a new type of album, all while dealing with the ups and downs of life.

After Gaynor won her first Grammy in 1980, her career slowed down quite a bit. She explained in a new interview, “Well, because my management found that I was becoming popular in other countries and so started booking me in other countries and just kind of forgot about the United States. And I was a young artist. I didn’t know any better. I thought he knew what was best and whatever. He, by the way, was my husband. And so I just agreed with him and went along with him. And therefore my career ended up being very, very shallow here in the United States, but huge in over 90 other countries.”

Gloria Gaynor performs during the "Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive" premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival at Spring Studios on June 09, 2023 in New York City

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

In the documentary, Gaynor also opens up about her relationship with her ex-husband and former manager Linwood Simon. She shares that she let him control her and her career because she suffered from a fear of abandonment. She revealed, “The sad thing is that for years, I thought that someone was in charge who really cared about me and was going to do what was best for me and knew better than me. I didn’t know how to take control. I didn’t think I was worthy of taking control. You have no idea – unless you’ve experienced a fear of abandonment, you have no idea how controlling that element can be.”

The documentary is truly a story of survival and reinvention. She decided to divorce Simon in 2005 and restart her career. She released her gospel album in 2019 and won a second Grammy for Testimony.

Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive is brought to fans by Fathom Events and will be playing in select theaters on February 13, 2024. After the film, there will be a sing-a-long of “I Will Survive.”

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July 2023

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