Take a look at them eyes!
Has such a saucy, playful expression ever been better projected by any other major screen star of the Thirties and Forties?
We are talking here, of course, of Claudette Colbert, described as a “tender comedienne” who was perhaps at her peak from 1934 to 1944, tossing off performances enriched with a “frothy lightness.” She was tops at delivering a sharp line of dialogue.
Her career in Hollywood was lengthy (covering six decades), laden with an Oscar and other awards, and for the most part, a delight to behold from start to finish. Colbert died in 1996 at age 92.
She is certainly worth knowing about in some detail. Thus our Monday Quiz with questions today and the answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Claudette Colbert was the first choice for the role of Margo Channing, in 1950’s All About Eve which, of course, went to Bette Davis. a) True; or b) False?
2) Question: Colbert won a best-actress Oscar for a movie created by the same director who was in charge of her very first movie at the tail end of the “silent” film era. Who is this person?
3) Question: Although Colbert sported a French-sounding name, she was really born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey. a) True; or b) False?
4) Question: In addition to winning a best actress Oscar, Colbert was nominated (but didn’t won) in that category for her work in which two of the following films? a) Since You Went Away; b) I Met Him In Paris; c) Private Worlds; or d) She Married Her Boss.
5) Question: Although most often linked with Clark Gable for 1934’s It Happened One Night, Colbert’s most frequent costar was another top male star. Who is he? a) Melvyn Douglas; b) Fred MacMurray; c) Ronald Coleman; or d) Charles Boyer.
6) Question: Colbert was the subject of scandalous Hollywood gossip in her time, including a report about a supposed love affair with another actress. Who was this supposed paramour? a) Hedy Lamarr; b) Marlene Dietrich; c) Lilli Damita; or d) Greta Garbo.
7) Question: Colbert often found herself playing maternal roles although she looked slim, trim and glamorous. At age 41, for example, she played in 1944’s Since You Went Away the mother of two almost-grown daughters coping with an absent father during World War II. Which of the following played the daughters? a) Jennifer Jones; b) Margaret O’Brien; c) Shirley Temple; or d) Deanna Durbin.
8) Question: During the filming of Since You Went Away, Colbert and costar Joseph Cotten shared a secret about another actress in the cast and the famous producer of the picture. What was it about? a) That the actress was the illegitimate child of the producer; b) That the actress dumped her husband to take up with the producer; c) That the actress and the producer had carried on an old fashioned love affair; or d) That the actress had rebuffed repeated advances made by the producer.
9) Question: Despite all the money she earned as a top star, Colbert died virtually broke. a) True; or b) False?
10) Question: What was Colbert’s real name? a) Daisy Mettinger; b) Emily Cauchon; c) Claudette Steinberg; or d) Nancy Dalton.