Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert (* September 13, 1903 in Saint- Mandé, France, † July 30, 1996 in Speightstown, Barbados; actually Emilie Claudette Chauchoin ) was a French- American actress who in the 1930s and 1940s the most popular and highest-paid female stars in Hollywood counted. For her performance in It Happened One Night, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In the course of her career, she received two more nominations in the category.


The actress began her film career in New York's Astoria studios Paramount and turned the early '30s often the French-language versions of studio productions, a then common method. Overall, she remained contractually bound over 15 years the studio. With her role in The Smiling Lieutenant alongside Maurice Chevalier, she had a first success, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. They then completed in order colorful performances in melodramas, comedies and as a historical figure in epics. Cecil B. DeMille in 1932 as she sat next to Popea Charles Laughton and Fredric March in The Sign of the Cross, a. The director was by actress so impressed that he even committed a few more times for his films, particularly spectacular as Cleopatra in the eponymous film of 1934. During the same year, Colbert, who had been a very busy actress of medium popularity, had her breakthrough. After with $ 50,000 paid her at Columbia Pictures double their previous wage and her had promised in three weeks before the filming, she took over the lead role in Frank Capra's comedy It Happened One Night after each other well established actress in Hollywood offer had rejected, Constance Bennett, Miriam Hopkins and Margaret Sullavan. The male lead went to Clark Gable, who was punished by studio boss Louis B. Mayer personally and was on loan from MGM to Columbia Pictures. The film evolved after moderate start one of the biggest successes of the year. Colbert and Gable each won Oscars for Best Actor.

Colbert turned later in the year at Universal Pictures, the tearful melodrama about racial prejudice and Mother Love Imitation of Life, directed by John M. Stahl, with whom she had another hit at the box office. Paramount gave her after returning to the studio, a larger wardrobe and substantial roles in successful comedies such as The Bride Comes Home, The Gilded Lily and senior physician Dr. Monet, a drama about a psychiatrist with Charles Boyer, Joel McCrea and Frances Dee, the actress in 1935 earned an Oscar nomination. After The Gilded Lily, the actress turned together with Fred MacMurray and 1949 a total of 7 films and the two competed with William Powell and Myrna Loy for the title of the perfect screen couple.

In 1936, Colbert already earned $ 306,000, making him the highest paid female movie star of the country. After occasional forays into dramatic roles, as in 1937 as one accused of witchcraft in Puritan Maid of Salem, which were less savored by the audience, Colbert focused on light comedies. Unveiling at midnight, Breathless to Florida, Practically Yours and Guest Wife - These include classics such as Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, Midnight were. Mid- forties reached their career climax. Your salary per film was $ 250,000 and made ​​it one of the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. Courageous women she presented in 1943 as a nurse who has to suffer terrible torments among the Japanese after the fall of Bataan. Paulette Goddard and Veronica Lake played supporting roles. A year later she was in Since You Went Away to see a David O. Selznick production that grossed nearly $ 5.5 million and Colbert earned another nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1946, secret of the heart was successful, which showed Colbert as a widow with lovesickness. In the same year she starred opposite George Brent and Orson Welles in Tomorrow is eternity a young woman whose first husband believed dead, played by Welles, surprisingly re-emerges. After the success of The Egg and I, who came to the rental in 1947 and for the supporting cast Marjorie Main and Percy Kilby as Ma and Pa Kettle its own spin-off earned with a number of films, but the career of the actress went surprisingly quickly in mediocrity. 1948 failed participation in the film adaptation of the Broadway success, The best man, since producer Frank Capra not paid on Colbert's demand for an additional day's leave was received. Katharine Hepburn played the role. Her career was then rapidly disappearing. 1950 Claudette Colbert was the first choice for the lead role in All About Eve, but she sprained in a fall during the Rotary Beiten to three returned home a vortex and was replaced at the end by Bette Davis. The last years were spent actress in great luxury on the Caribbean island of Barbados, where she owned a villa in a magnificent location. Supposedly Colbert's intervention with President Ronald Reagan have been the reason for the American invasion of the neighboring island of Grenada, as there communists took over the regiment.

The actress was known to show only her left half of the face in profile shots, which led to some expensive renovation work on the sets. Besides Greta Garbo Colbert was the actress who urged most rigorously to comply with the contractually agreed working hours: they turned not after 17 clock and turned no close-ups in the afternoon.

From 1928 she was married about seven years with director Norman Foster.

Filmography (selection)


Academy Award for Best Actress

  • Oscars 1935 - won for It Happened One Night
  • Academy Awards 1936 - Nominated for gynecologist Dr. Monet
  • Oscars 1945 - Nomininierung for Women Who Dared

Emmy Award

Golden Globe Award

Tony Award