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Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert (September 13, 1903 - July 30, 1996), born Émilie Claudette Chauchoin, was an American actress. With her round face, big eyes, and flair for light comedy and emotional drama, Claudette's versatility led to her becoming one of the best-paid stars of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the 12th-greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema.


The Smiling Lieutenant (1933)

It Happened One Night (1935)

Imitation of Life (1935)

Cleopatra (1935)


Most shots of Claudette in her films were of her left profile. She considered her left side to be her best due to an injury on the right side of her nose. Once an entire set had to be rebuilt so she would not have to show her right side.

After filming The Secret Heart (1946) together, she and co-star June Allyson became great friends. Claudette became godmother to June's daughter.

Claudette was one of Cecil B. DeMille's favorite actresses. She starred in three of his movies: The Sign of the Cross (1932), Four Frightened People (1934), and Cleopatra (1935).

By the early 1950s, Claudette had basically retired from the screen in favor of television and stage work. She received a Sarah Siddons Award for her Chicago theater work in 1980.

In 1935, she became the only actress to date to star in three films nominated for Best Motion Picture in the same year: Cleopatra, Imitation of Life and It Happened One Night.

In 1936, Claudette signed a new contract with Paramount, making her Hollywood's highest-paid actress. Two years later, she was earning a salary of $426,924. At the peak of her popularity in the late 1930s, she earned $150,000 per film.

Claudette made an effort to learn about lighting and cinematography and refused to begin filming until she was satisfied that she would be shown to her best advantage.

In 1956, she hosted the 28th Academy Awards ceremony.

Claudette never had children. She left most of her estate, estimated at $3.5 million, to a long-time friend, Helen O'Hagan, a retired director of corporate relations at Saks Fifth Avenue.

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Claudette Colbert the 12th-greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema.

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