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Saint-Mandé, France
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Saint-Mandé, France

Claudette Colbert was a French-born actress who emigrated to America as a kid and became one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses during the Golden Era. She wanted to be a painter as a child because she was artistic and creative. She made her theatrical debut while still in high school, despite her desire to be a painter. She had wanted to become a fashion designer when she was a young woman, but fate had different ideas for her. She was offered a role in a Broadway play when she was young and gorgeous, and she quickly signed a long-term contract. Along with her stunning beauty, she possessed exceptional acting abilities, making her a sought-after Broadway actor. She preferred the theatre to acting in movies, believing that the stage provided her with more artistic flexibility. After the depression, when her theater career began to suffer, she had to consider movie opportunities. She was able to use her biggest asset—her gorgeous, velvety voice—on screen during the talkie period. She was first terrified of being labeled as a “French Girl,” therefore she worked hard to try out numerous types of roles to avoid being stereotyped.

Childhood and Adolescence

Emilie Chauchoin was born in Paris, France, to Georges Claude Chauchoin and Jeanne Marie. When she was a tiny child, her family moved to New York City, New York.
She has always been artistically inclined and enjoyed drawing since she was a child. She had hoped to be a painter when she grew up for a long time.

Her teacher urged her to try her hand at acting at Washington Irving High School. At the age of 15, she made her stage debut in the play “The Widow’s Veil.”

She enrolled in the Art Students League of New York to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. While she was there, she was offered a part in one of Anne Morrison’s plays.

Claudette Colbert’s Career

Determined to build a name for herself in the theater, she used the stage name Claudette Colbert and began acting. In 1923, she made her Broadway debut in the play “The Wild Wescott’s,” in which she played a minor role.

Following her debut, she had numerous offers and appeared in a number of plays. However, because she was of French descent, she was frequently cast as the ‘French Girl,’ an image she despised. She desired to take on a variety of parts that would allow her to test her acting abilities.

She debuted in films in the late 1920s, and in 1930, she starred in the film Manslaughter,’ in which she played a lady accused of vehicular manslaughter. Her acting in the film received positive reviews.

During the 1930s, she had a lot of success and was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses. In the 1935 film ‘Private Worlds,’ she played a psychiatrist in a story about the personnel and inmates at a mental hospital. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for this film, which was a critical hit.

She was paid $150,000 for each picture at the height of her professional career. ‘She Married Her Boss’ (1935), ‘Under Two Flags’ (1936), and ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ were some of her other features during the 1930s (1939).

She began performing for radio in the 1930s, and from 1935 through 1954, she appeared in 22 episodes of CBS’s popular radio show “Lux Radio Theater.” She began performing for the radio show ‘The Screen Guild Theater’ in 1939 and continued until 1952.

For a time, her career was delayed by World War II, but she rebounded with the 1947 film ‘The Egg and I,’ which was based on Betty MacDonald’s book of the same name.

She began her television career after a successful film career. She appeared in various television shows beginning in the mid-1950s, including adaptations of ‘Blithe Spirit’ (1956) and ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s (1959). In 1958, she returned to Broadway with ‘The Marriage-Go-Round.’

Colbert, no longer young, preferred to make fewer public appearances as she grew older. In the 1961 drama picture ‘Parrish,’ she played Ellen McLean. She decided to focus on theatre and television after this film failed to attract any interest.

In 1987, she landed the role of Alice Grenville in ‘The Two Mrs. Grenvilles,’ a television film based on the Woodward murder case. This was her final performance before retiring from all types of acting.

Colbert’s Major Projects

She is best known for her portrayal as the main woman in the 1934 romantic comedy “It Happened One Night,” in which she portrays a spoiled socialite who falls in love with a reporter. The film was a big hit, winning multiple Academy Awards.

Achievements and Awards

In 1935, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Ellen Andrews in “It Happened One Night.”

For the television movie ‘The Two Mrs. Grenvilles,’ she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series in 1988.

In 1999, she was named the “12th Greatest Female American Screen Legend” by the American Film Institute.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1928, she married actor and director Norman Foster. They married in secret for a long time before divorcing in 1935.

Joel Pressman, a throat specialist, and surgeon was her second husband. They were married for 33 years until Pressman died in 1968. They didn’t have any children.
She died at the age of 92 on July 30, 1996.

Estimated Net worth

Colbert was never a father. Helen O’Hagan, a retired director of corporate relations at Saks Fifth Avenue, received the majority of her assets, valued at $3.5 million and including her Manhattan residence and Bellerive.