Born in Vienna, Missouri, Candy Toxton moved with her family to East St. Louis, Illinois, when she was young. She attended St. Teresa High School and after graduation became a model in St. Louis.
While in New York, an agent from the Charles Feldman agency spotted her and convinced her to take acting lessons. The agent got her bit parts in six movies and she was signed to a contract by Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures. Cohn changed her stage name to Susan Perry.