Claudette Colbert

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Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert (September 13, 1903 - July 30, 1996) was a French-American actress. Born Lily Claudette Chauchoin in Paris, France, around 1905 her family emigrated to the United States and settled in New York city. She began acting in high school plays and a few years later in 1923 appeared on the Broadway stage in a bit part. Hooked, she gave up on her plans to be a fashion designer to instead pursue a career in acting. She made her first motion picture appearance in 1927, in For the Love of Mike, a silent film shot on location in Paramount Studios in New York, New York facilities. However, talking films were taking over and two years later, Colbert appeared in her first talking film, The Hole in the Wall, co-starring another newcomer, Edward G. Robinson .

With her heart-shaped face, lively wide eyes, and aristocratic manner, Colbert transcended type, making her equally convincing in diverse roles. Her versatility led to major parts in top motion pictures and made her one of the biggest box-office stars of her time.

In 1934 she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role opposite Clark Gable in the Frank Capra film, It Happened One Night. Colbert epitomized witty sophistication when she starred in Preston Sturges' classic screwball comedy, The Palm Beach Story, oppostite Joel McCrea.

From 1936 to 1944, she starred in numerous programs of Cecil B. DeMille's Lux Radio Theater, which was one of the most popular dramatic radio shows at the time. In 1952, she returned to work in her native France where she stayed until 1955.

After making two more Hollywood films, she went back to Broadway in 1958 doing "The Marriage Go-Round" with Charles Boyer, earning a 1959 Tony Award nomination for her work. Also for her Chicago theatre work, in 1980 she won the Sarah Siddons Award. Ms. Colbert's last film was Parrish in 1961. She acted in numerous Broadway plays for the next twenty years. In 1987, she did a television mini-series titled The Two Mrs. Grenvilles and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-series or a Special. In 1988, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for TV.

During her long and successful career, Claudette Colbert played in sixty-five films. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6812 Hollywood Blvd.

Colbert died at her vacation home in Speightstown, Barbados, following a massive stroke at the age of 92, and she was interred there in the Parish of St. Peter Cemetery. A requiem mass was held at St. Vincent Ferrer church in New York later.

Filmography


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