Gloria Rachel Bloom was born in a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1941. After high school, she attended University of Pennsylvania, where she met her first husband. In 1961, the couple had their only child Lisa and, shortly after, divorced.
Allred moved back in with her parents and continued her education. In 1963, she earned a Bachelor's degree in English, graduating with honors. She tried her hand at a variety of jobs before she decided to become a teacher, taking a position at Benjamin Franklin High School. She began work on a graduate degree at New York University, where she became interested in the civil rights movement, then gaining momentum. After earning a Master's degree, she became a teacher and, in 1966, moved to Los Angeles, California and lived in Watts.
In 1968, Allred married a second time, to William Allred. They divorced in 1987. Allred graduated from Loyola Law School, in Los Angeles, with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and, in 1975, was admitted to the State Bar of California.
Gloria Allred has represented parties in various high-profile cases, and frequently comments on television. Gloria Allred represented Amber Frey when Frey was a witness in the criminal case against Scott Peterson. She has also represented cases against the Boy Scouts of America for excluding an eleven year old girl named Katrina Yeaw, something she referred to as gender apartheid, and a case against the former Sav-On Drugstore chain for having both a boys and a girls toy section, as well as representing actress Hunter Tylo when producer Aaron Spelling fired her because of her pregnancy.
Early in her career in Los Angeles, Allred made a name for herself by successfully suing the then all-male Friars Club in Beverly Hills, an exclusive private club, over its membership discrimination policies. The lawsuit was brought by a professional woman in the late 1970s who was spurned by the club when her application was rejected based solely on her sex, a fact which the club denied but Allred proved in court.
In 1985, Allred, along with Catherine MacKinnon, drafted a version of the Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance for Los Angeles County. The legislation failed to pass the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
In August 1997, she represented the model Kelly Fisher when she sued Dodi Fayed for allegedly breaking off their engagement to begin his highly-publicized relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales. The suit was dropped not long after Diana and Fayed died in Paris that August.
She represented Nicole Brown Simpson's family during the O. J. Simpson murder trial. She also represented photographer Henry Trappler in a lawsuit against Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Allred is also known for her criticism of pop singer Michael Jackson. After watching media coverage of the Berlin event with Michael Jackson, she wrote a letter to California's Child Protective Services, asking for an investigation into the safety of Jackson's children. She also spoke on CNN about the subject. Child Protective Services does not make their investigations public, so it is not known whether any action was taken as a result of Allred's letter."
Gloria Allred also represented Rhonda Miller in a sexual harassment suit against Arnold Schwarzenegger during his run for California's gubernatorial recall election in 2003. The lawsuit was later dismissed.
In November 2006, Cindy Streit, etiquette consultant in the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan hired Gloria Allred, who demanded that the California Attorney General investigate fraud allegedly committed by Sacha Baron Cohen and the film's producers.
On July 19, 2007 she filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on behalf of Elizabeth Mazzocchi against actor Esai Morales for "intentional and negligent transmission of a sexually transmitted disease, assault, battery, and breach of contract."
She represented three former Circuit City employees on behalf of a large plaintiff class in an age discrimination lawsuit against that company after it fired 3,400 workers nationwide in April 2007.
She represented Mandi Hamlin in a March 2008 complaint against the TSA. Hamlin was reported to have been humiliated when she was made to take off her nipple rings in a Lubbock, Texas, airport.
In April 2008, it was reported that she had been hired by the family of the teenager who had been beaten and filmed by eight Florida teenagers. She also appeared on Today with Jessica Gibson, who is counter-suing Rob Lowe for sexual harassment.
On February 24, 2004, Gloria Allred and her law firm, Allred, Maroko and Goldberg, filed the first lawsuit in California challenging the denial of marriage licenses as being unconstitutional. She took the case pro bono for Robin Tyler and Diane Olson and Rev. Troy Perry and his husband Phillip Ray De Blieck. On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples.
On July 30, 2008, Gloria Allred filed a complaint with federal regulators against Downey Savings and Loan Association regarding check-cashing procedures. Marc Retmier, a 19 year old US Navy Hospitalman, was killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2008. Downey Savings refused to immediately cash his family's military bereavement checks, and Marc Retmier's family were forced to look elsewhere to secure funding necessary to pay for his funeral services.
In December 2009, Allred was retained by Rachel Uchitel after media sources alleged Uchitel had been having an affair with married golfer Tiger Woods. Allred is also representing Joslyn James, a pornographic actress and Woods's alleged mistress.
In February, 2010, Allred was retained by Amanda J. Eneman, a massage therapist and ex-girlfriend of Illinois lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen who once had Cohen arrested, and who had herself been arrested for prostitution.
On May 14, 2010 in a news conference held at Allred's office, English actress Charlotte Lewis, alleged that director Roman Polanski had sexually abused her in his Paris apartment when she was 16 years old. In June 2010 she was hired by Debrahlee Lorenzana, a former bank employee who had drawn wide public attention after alleging she was fired for being too attractive. In August, 2010 Allred represented Jodie Fisher, whose sexual harassment claim led to the resignation of HP CEO Mark Hurd.
Allred appears in a cameo role in the film Rat Race, where Wayne Knight's character exclaims "Oh s**t,its Gloria Allred!" after she has witnessed him hit Enrico Pollini. She also appears earlier in the film where the Cody brothers, played by Seth Green and Vince Vieluf, attempt to start a lawsuit against a hotel by slipping on a glass they placed at the top of a set of stairs. Before they go through with their plan, a woman slips on the glass and falls down the stairs. At the bottom, Gloria Allred introduces herself and plans to sue the hotel for negligence.
In the South Park episode "Cripple Fight," Gloria Allred is Big Gay Al's lawyer against a Boy Scouts-like club that excludes homosexuals. She later accuses Al of homophobia when he attempts to withdraw the lawsuit.
On the April 10, 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live, musical guest Justin Bieber's character Jason told Tina Fey's character that he would be "contacting Gloria Allred" after Fey's character fantasized about Bieber's character. The following season, Allred herself was parodied by Nasim Pedrad for the cold open of the October 9, 2010 episode. She is mocked as an "ambulance chaser".
In the Glee episodes "Britney/Brittany", the Glee club are performing a rendition of Britney Spears' song "Toxic" in the auditorium. Sue pulls the fire alarm resulting in a stampede of students exiting the room, injuring her in the process. Later on, she confronts Will and tells him that due to her injuries she would be contacting Gloria Allred and suing him for damages. Later on the second season, in the episodes The Substitute and A Very Glee Christmas, Sue returns to mention Gloria Allred as her lawyer.