Claudette Colbert Biography

Birthday: 1903-09-13
Place of Birth: Saint-Mandé, Seine [now Val-de-Marne]
Height: 5' 4½" (1.64 m)
Wiki Biography: One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint-Mandé, France. Her banker father moved the family 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 onboard 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) (TV). 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 Mini Biography 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."

Claudette ColbertPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Best Of Broadway 1954 Comedy
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
For the Love of Mike 1927 Drama, Romance
The Smiling Lieutenant 1931 Comedy, Romance, Musical
His Woman 1931 Drama, Romance
Misleading Lady 1932 Comedy
The Man from Yesterday 1932 Drama, Romance
The Sign of the Cross Poppea 1933 Drama, History
I Cover the Waterfront 1933 Drama, Romance
Three-Cornered Moon Elizabeth Rimplegar 1933
Torch Singer 1933 Drama, Musical, Romance
It Happened One Night Ellie 1934 0
Four Frightened People 1934 Adventure, Drama
The Gilded Lily Marilyn David 1935 Comedy, Romance
Private Worlds Dr. Jane Everest 1935
Under Two Flags 1936 Adventure, Romance
I Met Him in Paris 1937
Maid of Salem 1937
Tovarich Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna Romanov 1937 Comedy
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife Nicole de Loiselle 1938
Midnight Eve Peabody/"Baroness Czerny" 1939
It's a Wonderful World Edwina Corday 1939
Drums Along the Mohawk 1939 Drama, Romance
Boom Town Betsy Bartlett 1940 Adventure, Drama, Romance
Remember the Day 1941 Drama, Romance
The Palm Beach Story Gerry Jeffers 1942 Romance, Comedy
No Time for Love 1943
So Proudly We Hail! 1944 Drama, Romance
Since You Went Away 1944 Drama, Romance
Tomorrow is Forever Elizabeth (MacDonald) Hamilton 1946
Without Reservations 1946 Comedy, Romance
The Secret Heart 1946 Drama
The Egg and I Betty MacDonald 1947 0
Sleep, My Love Alison Courtland 1948 Drama, Mystery
Three Came Home Agnes Newton Keith 1950 Drama
Let's Make It Legal Miriam Denham 1951 0, Biography
Texas Lady 1955
General Motors 50th Anniversary Show 1957
Parrish Ellen McLean 1961
The Two Mrs. Grenvilles 1987 Drama