So, how much did you know about Claudette Colbert?
Not covered in yesterday’s Monday Quiz is this telling factoid — Colbert felt her left side photographed best, and only reluctantly permitted full face or right-profile shots.
Whatever this says about her (she claimed a nose injury created a slight facial protuberance on her right) it’s evident that Colbert did not regard herself as one of Hollywood’s classic beauties. She made up for it with her sharp way with witty dialogue and sophisticated repartee.
So good was she that for from the mid-Thirties to the mid-Forties, she reigned as a big box office star who just happened to participate in some of the most entertaining films Hollywood ever produced. She invariably handled herself with style onscreen.
So let’s get to the answers to our Monday Claudette Colbert Quiz. To refresh yourselves, the questions are enumerated in the blog just below. Here we go:
1) Answer: a) True. Colbert was first sought to play the Margo Channing role, but the actress ruptured a disc in her back during the production of director Jean Negulesco’s World War II drama, Three Came Home, and was not available. Enter Bette Davis.
2) Answer: Frank Capra, who not only directed Colbert in her Oscar-winning turn in 1934’s It Happened One Night but also directed her in her movie debut in 1927’s For the Love Of Mike.
3) Answer: b) False. Colbert was born in France in 1903, but her family emigrated to the U.S. when she was just six years old.
4) Answer: Colbert won an Oscar nominations for (a) 1944’s Since You Went Away and (c) for 1935’s Private Worlds.
5) Answer: b) Colbert and Fred MacMurray costarred in a total of seven movies beginning with 1935’s The Gilded Lily and ending in 1948’s Family Honeymoon.
6) Answer: b) Marlene Dietrich supposedly had “a passionate affair” with Colbert during the 1930’s. (Note: Colbert was married twice, the latter to surgeon Dr. Joel Pressman, a union that lasted from 1935 to his death in 1968.)
7) Answer: (a) Jennifer Jones and (c) Shirley Temple.
8) Answer: (b). The producer of Since You Went Away was David O Selznick. Actress Jennifer Jones was married at the time to actor Robert Walker but all was not well with their six-year union. Costar Joseph Cotten remembered that one day while sitting quietly between rehearsals, Colbert turned to him and asked, “Is it true, Jo, this talk I hear around the lot?” Cotten responded, “What talk? I haven’t heard a word.” Concluded Colbert, “If you haven’t heard about it, it’s not true.” The subject was dropped and never brought up again. A few days later director Alfred Hitchcock visited the movie set, and blabbed to Cotten that “I suppose David and Jennifer are going to get married as soon as his divorce is final. I had a letter from England today.” A stunned Cotten later recalled that “Claudette and I, each thinking that we were sitting on a powder keg, remained silent. The picture was not in any way affected by their romance.”
9) Answer: b) False. After her second husband’s death, Colbert retired to the Caribbean, to Barbados, and lived out her life comfortably. Among the friends invited to her place: Nancy and Ronald Reagan.
10) Answer: b) Colbert was born Emily Claudette Chauchoin.