|Date of Birth||13 September 1903, Saint-Mandé, Seine [now Val-de-Marne], France|
|Date of Death||30 July 1996, Speightstown, Barbados (after a series of strokes)|
|Birth Name||Emilie Claudette Chauchoin|
|Height||5' 4½" (1.64 m)|
Mini Bio (3)
One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette grew up, she wanted nothing more than to play to Broadway audiences (in those days, any actress or actor worth their salt went for Broadway, not Hollywood). After her formal education ended, she enrolled in the Art Students League, where she paid for her dramatic training by working in a dress shop. She made her Broadway debut in 1923 in the stage production of "The Wild Wescotts". It was during this event that she adopted the name Claudette Colbert.
When the Great Depression shut down most of the theaters, Claudette decided to make a go of it in films. Her first film was called For the Love of Mike (1927). Unfortunately, it was a box-office disaster. She wasn't real keen on the film industry, but with an extreme scarcity in theatrical roles, she had no choice but to remain. In 1929 she starred as Joyce Roamer in The Lady Lies (1929). The film was a success and later that year she had another hit entitled The Hole in the Wall (1929). In 1930 she starred opposite Fredric March in Manslaughter (1930), which was a remake of the silent version of eight years earlier. A year after that Claudette was again paired in a film with March, Honor Among Lovers (1931). It fared well at the box-office, probably only because it was the kind of film that catered to women who enjoyed magazine fiction romantic stories. In 1932 Claudette played the evil Poppeia in Cecil B. DeMille's last great work, The Sign of the Cross (1932), and once again was cast with March. Later the same year she was paired with Jimmy Durante in The Phantom President (1932). By now Claudette's name symbolized good movies and she, along with March, pulled crowds into the theaters with the acclaimed Tonight Is Ours (1933).
The next year started a little on the slow side with the release of Four Frightened People (1934), where Claudette and her co-stars were at odds with the dreaded bubonic plague on board a ship. However, the next two films were real gems for this young actress. First up, Claudette was charming and radiant in Cecil B. DeMille's spectacular Cleopatra (1934). It wasn't one of DeMille's finest by any means, but it was a financial success and showcased Claudette as never before. However, it was as Ellie Andrews, in the now famous It Happened One Night (1934), that ensured she would be forever immortalized. Paired with Clark Gable, the madcap comedy was a mega-hit all across the country. It also resulted in Claudette being nominated for and winning the Oscar that year for Best Actress. IN 1935 she was nominated again for Private Worlds (1935), where she played Dr. Jane Everest, on the staff at a mental institution. The performance was exquisite. Films such as The Gilded Lily (1935), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) and No Time for Love (1943) kept fans coming to the theaters and the movie moguls happy. Claudette was a sure drawing card for virtually any film she was in. In 1944 she starred as Anne Hilton in Since You Went Away (1944). Again, although she didn't win, Claudette picked up her third nomination for Best Actress.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s she was not only seen on the screen but the infant medium of television, where she appeared in a number of programs. However, her drawing power was fading somewhat as new stars replaced the older ones. In 1955 she filmed the western Texas Lady (1955) and wasn't seen on the screen again until Parrish (1961). It was her final silver screen performance. Her final appearance before the cameras was in a TV movie, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (1987). She did, however, remain on the stage where she had returned in 1956, her first love. After a series of strokes, Claudette divided her time between New York and Barbados. On July 30, 1996, Claudette died in Speightstown, Barbados. She was 92.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
Screenwriter Allan Scott was one of Claudette Colbert's biggest fans after working with her on Skylark (1941) and So Proudly We Hail! (1943). When she had trouble with one of his scenes she never said, "I can't play this scene"; her attitude was, "I think I'm missing something here", he recalled decades later when writing about Colbert's deep understanding as a friend. In their first film together, he was especially impressed with her improvisation of a tightly blocked comedy scene where she prepared a meal aboard a yacht during a storm. She did it in one take. Her "New York Times" obituary gave more insight into her professionalism: "She could appear worldly and sophisticated yet down to earth, and this quality, combined with acute attention to camera angles, lighting and other professional details, helped her to sustain a remarkably durable career that encompassed more than 60 films and many stage appearances". In 1981, in her seventh decade in show business, "New York Times" critic Frank Rich, praising her performance in the Broadway flop "A Talent for Murder", called her 'a lady of piquant, irrepressible, ever-so-amusing common sense", with "her big Betty Boop eyes, curly light hair" and "her low, one-of-the-boys voice, effortlessly hurling asides like pool balls into every pocket of the house."
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Claudette Colbert was born in Paris and brought to the United States as a child three years later. Born Lily Claudette Chauchoin, she went to high school in New York. She was studying at the Art Students League when, in 1923, she took the name Claudette Colbert for her first Broadway role in "The Wild Westcotts". Her most noteworthy stage vehicle was the "The Barker" in 1927. Her first film was a silent For the Love of Mike (1927), directed by Frank Capra. Made on a shoestring, the movie was a flop, and she vowed that it would be her last film role: "I only left Broadway when the crash came. The Depression killed the theater, and the pictures were manna from heaven". She had her first film success the next year, however, in The Lady Lies (1929). Her early notable films were all box-office hits and included Cleopatra (1934), in which she played the title role enticingly. She had her greatest triumph playing a runaway heiress, with enormous charm, opposite Clark Gable in Capra's comedy It Happened One Night (1934), for which she won the Academy Award as Best Actress. By 1938 her keen ability in business made her the highest paid star in Hollywood. By 1950, though, her star had begun to wane. She returned to the stage in 1956 when she replaced Margaret Sullavan during the spring and summer in the comedy "Janus". Appearances in other Broadway productions followed, including "The Marriage-Go-Round". Besides the stage, she did TV specials and had a supporting role in a notable TV movie, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (1987), for which she received a Golden Globe award. In 1989 she was presented with a Life Achievement award from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She married actor Norman Foster in 1928, although they never lived together and were divorced after seven years. She married surgeon Dr. Joel Pressman soon after and remained married until his death in 1968. In recent years she divided her time between an apartment in New York and a 200-year-old plantation house in Speightstown, Barbados, where she entertained such guests as Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan. She remained on Barbados after her stroke three years ago.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|Dr. Joel Pressman||(24 December 1935 - 26 February 1968) (his death)|
|Norman Foster||(13 March 1928 - 1935) (divorced)|
Personal Quotes (14)
|It Happened One Night (1934)||$50,000|
|She Married Her Boss (1935)||$50,000|
|The Bride Comes Home (1935)||$150,000|
|Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)||$150,000|
|Since You Went Away (1944)||$265,000|