She was as brainy as she was beautiful. She was, at least for a time, the apple of Charlie Chaplin’s eye. She always displayed a yen for luxury, and let no festive occasion pass without generous helpings of champagne and caviar.
Not bad for Pauline Marion Levy, a Long Island girl born to an impoverished family in 1905, 1910, 1911 or 1915 (take your pick; no one is really sure). As Paulette Goddard, she lit up the screen for more than four decades covering some 63 movie and tv credits, and then departed Hollywood without a backward glance, embarking on a marriage to European sophisticate who had romanced Garbo and Dietrich.
Goddard is not the best known actress from Hollywood’s classic period of the Forties, but she had (and has) her loyal fans. She was from the beginning a smart, fun-loving, independent woman and spent the lavish sums she made with style and purpose. How much do you know about her?
Why not take our Monday Quiz to find out? (We’ll provide the answers tomorrow.)
Happy to say that our inspiration here is the 1985 biography Paulette: The Adventurous Life of Paulette Goddard, co-authored by Edward Z. Epstein and Classic Movie Chat’s own Joe Morella. If I may say so (Frank speaking) the book is a wonderful read, and an essential reference on Goddards’s adventurous life. Ok, here we go:
1) Question: When Goddard was a very young girl, she caught the attention of Broadway audiences by being serenaded by her leading man in a musical that required her to pose in an unusual setting. What was the setting? a) She was spread-eagled on a platform five feet above the stage; b) She was seated on the lap of her leading man; c) She was perched on a cutout of the moon; or d) She hung precariously from a ceiling wire.
2) Question: When she was still a teenager, Goddard was married for a short time to a Palm Beach socialite. She won a generous divorce settlement in 1929. How much did Paulette walk away with? a) $50,000; b) $4,000; c) $100,000; or d) $20,000.
3) Question: When they first met in the early Thirties, Charlie Chaplin was especially impressed with which one of Goddard’s qualities? a) Paulette’s shapely legs; b) Her girlish sense of humor; c) Her creativity; or d) Her keen business sense.
4) Question: Which of these Chaplin classics did Goddard NOT appear in? a) Monsieur Verdoux, b) The Great Dictator; c) Limelight or d) Modern Times.
5) Question: Exactly when and where did Goddard and Chaplin officially tie the knot? a) 1933 in Yuma, Arizona; b) 1936 in China; 1934 in Hoboken, New Jersey; or 1936 in Santa Monica, Calif.
6) Question: Goddard had a celebrated affair with a famous American composer. Can you identify him? a) Aaron Copeland; b) George Gershwin; c) Cole Porter; or d) Harold Arlen.
7) Question: Goddard also had an affair with which one of the following stars but was turned off by his thriftiness (he was cheap)? a) Ray Milland; b) Gary Cooper; c) Clark Gable; or d) Bob Hope.
8) Question: Which one of the following was Paulette’s last husband, a famous European novelist who preferred her for her brains than for her good looks and social amiability? a) Thomas Mann; b) Erich Maria Remarque; c) Franz Kafka; or d) Umberto Echo.
9) Question: Goddard throughout her career had a physical shortcoming that she took pains to conceal. Was it a) Being slightly cross-eyed; b) A hook nose; c) A slightly receding hairline; or d) A persistent case of acne.
10) Question: The cinematographer of a movie teaming Goddard with Gary Cooper claimed that both stars had been difficult to photograph as the “young” leads demanded by the script. a) True; or b) False.