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In The Spotlight Redux

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » May 12th, 2008, 11:41 am

In the Spotlight: PAULETTE GODDARD
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The raven haired beauty was born Marion Pauline Levy on June 3, 1910 in Whitestone Landing, Queens, Long Island. She was the only child of a Jewish father Joseph Russell Levy, and an Episcopalian mother Alta Mae Goddard. Her parents divorced while she was young, and she was raised by her mother.
She and her mother struggled those early years, with her uncle, Charles Goddard (her mother's brother) lending a hand.

Charles Goddard helped his niece find jobs as a fashion model, and with the Ziegfeld Follies as one of the Ziegfeld Girls from 1924 to 1928. She attended Washington Irving High School in Manhattan at the same time as actress Claire Trevor.

Her stage debut was in the Ziegfeld revue "No Foolin" in 1926. The next year she made her stage acting debut in "The Unconquerable Male". She also changed her first name to Paulette and took her mother's maiden name.
She married an older, wealthy lumber tycoon
in 1926 or 1927 and moved to North Carolina to be a socialite, but divorced him in 1930 and received a huge divorce settlement.

In 1929 she came to Hollywood with her mother after signing a contract with Hal Roach Studios, and appeared in small parts of several films over the next few years, starting with Laurel & Hardy shorts.

At Samuel Goldwyn Productions, she also joined such future notables as Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Ann Sothern, and Jane Wyman as "Goldwyn Girls" with Eddie Cantor in films such as "The Kid from Spain", "Roman Scandals" and "Kid Millions".

In 1932, she met Charlie Chaplin and began an eight-year personal and cinematic relationship with him. Chaplin bought Goddard's contract from Roach Studios and cast her as a street urchin opposite his Tramp character in the 1936 film "Modern Times", which made Goddard a star. During this time she lived with Chaplin in his Beverly Hills home.
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Goddard with Charles Chaplin in "Modern Times" (1936).

Their actual marital status was and has remained a source of controversy and speculation. During most of their time together, both refused to comment on the matter.
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Goddard the blonde goddess.

Goddard began gaining star status after appearing in "The Young in Heart", "Dramatic School", and a supporting role in "The Women" which starred Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Rosalind Russell.
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During filming of "The Women", Goddard was considered as a finalist for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 film "Gone with the Wind", but after many auditions and a Technicolor screen test, lost the part to Vivien Leigh. It has been suggested that questions regarding her marital status with Chaplin, in that era of morals clauses, may have cost her the role.
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Goddard came very close to playing Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind."

Nonetheless, in 1939, Goddard signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and her next film "The Cat and the Canary" with Bob Hope, was a turning point in the careers of both actors. The duo reteamed for the successful comedy "The Ghost Breakers."
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"The Cat and the Canary" with Bob Hope in 1939.

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"Ghost Busters" (1939) with Bob Hope.

Goddard starred with Chaplin again in his 1940 film "The Great Dictator", in DeMille's "North West Mounted Police" and then was Fred Astaire's leading lady in the musical "Second Chorus", where she met future husband Burgess Meredith.
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Goddard with Fred Astaire in "Second Chorus" (1940).
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Chaplin and Goddard would split amicably, and she allegedly obtained a divorce in Mexico in 1942, with Chaplin agreeing to a generous settlement. For years afterward, Chaplin stated that they were married in China in 1936, but to private associates and family, he claimed they were never legally married, except in common law.
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Goddard with 'husband' Charles Chaplin (1936 - 1942).

In his memoirs, "My Father Charlie Chaplin," from 1960, Charles Jr. describes her as a lovely, caring and intelligent woman throughout the book.

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Goddard with Charles Boyer & Olivia de Havilland in "Hold Back the Dawn" (1941).

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Actress Claire Trevor once reminisced on her friendship with Goddard. She said that Goddard was a year older, and that they had attended high school and sorority together, and that the guys were "gaga" over the lovely, young Pauline.

One of her best-remembered film appearances was in the variety musical "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1943) in which she sang a comic number "A Sweater, a Sarong, and a Peekaboo Bang" with contemporary sex symbols Dorothy Lamour and Veronica Lake.
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Goddard, Dorothy Lamour & Veronica Lake performing 'A Sweater, a Sarong, and a Peekaboo Bang' in "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1943).

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In a 1944 picture with Fred MacMurray.

She received her only Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, in 1944 for "So Proudly We Hail!" (1943). Her most successful film was "Kitty" (1945), where she played the title role. In "The Diary of a Chambermaid" (1946), she starred opposite Burgess Meredith, by then her husband.
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Veronica Lake, Goddard, & Claudette Colbert in "So Proudly We Hail!" (1943). Goddard received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

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Goddard with John Wayne (1942).

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In the little known, lively Mitchell Leisen film, Kitty (1945).

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With Gary Cooper in 1946.

Her career began to fade in the late 1940s. In 1946 she made DeMille's "Unconquered" with Gary Cooper and in 1947 she made "An Ideal Husband" in Britain . In 1949, she formed Monterey Pictures with John Steinbeck. Her last starring roles were the English production "The Unholy Four", and "Charge of the Lancers" in 1954.
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Goddard with then husband Burgess Meredith in "A Miracle Can Happen" (1947).

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A practical joker, Goddard's trademark infectious grin lent her a
bewitching appeal that few could resist.

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Two of Goddard's 1949 appearances on the screen.
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Edward G. Robinson with Miss G. in "Vice Squad" (1953).

She also acted in summer stock and on television. In 1964, she attempted a comeback in films with a supporting role in the Italian film "Time of Indifference", but that turned out to be her last feature film. Her last acting role was in "The Snoop Sisters" (1972) for television.
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Goddard with good friend Joan Crawford (1972).

Goddard was married to actor Burgess Meredith from 1944 to 1949. She suffered a miscarriage while married to him. She had no children. In 1958 she married the author Erich Maria Remarque. They remained married until his death in 1970.
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The lady was also known for her impressive jewelry collection.

Goddard was treated for breast cancer, apparently successfully, although the surgery was very invasive and the doctor had to remove several ribs.
She later settled in Ronco sopra Ascona, Switzerland, where she died a few months before her 80th birthday, following a short battle with emphysema.
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She is buried in Ronco cemetery, next to Remarque and her mother.

In her will, she left $20 million to New York University (NYU). Goddard Hall, an NYU freshman residence hall on Washington Square, is named in her honor.

Former TCM/SSO board member Larry Russell was close friends with Paulette Goddard, often recollecting what a beautiful person she was. They especially enjoyed going to the Ice Cream Parlor for banana splits. Those were the days in the golden age of Hollywood.

Quoted: I lived in Hollywood long enough to learn to play tennis and become a star, but I never felt it was my home.

Miss Goddard has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Dearest Paulette

Postby Vecchiolarry » May 13th, 2008, 4:21 pm

Dearest Joe,

:D Wow!! Imagine my tuning in to your “Spotlight” thread and seeing that wonderful beaming face – it was like she was in the room….
Thank you so much for featuring Paulette, a true star! 8)
I was thinking about her only last week, remembering that she was born on June 3rd; and I always have a banana split on her birthday and toast her in cherries and whipped cream – her favourite…..
I have missed talking to her for about 2 decades now but still can hear that unique voice and wicked giggle (“How’s my baby?”)….. :lol:

After reading your tribute, I went and looked at the large malachite egg and the two copper & topaz pheasants she willed to me (one – the male - stands a foot tall and the other – the female – lies looking upward at him) both have tails with large to small topazes in them.
I still have the Burmese ruby ring she gave me on my 18th birthday.

Some trivia:-
1) She not only received a huge settlement from her first husband but a large green Duisenberg convertible car, which she drove out to Hollywood and ever after. No other car on Earth looked that big or quite like it; when you saw that car coming, you knew it was Paulette….

2) She said she was married to Charlie Chaplin by a mandarin in a Chinese ceremony in Canton, China in 1936. Charlie & Paulette did go to China then for the premiere of “Modern Times”.
She told me once that that is when & where she met Madame Chiang Kai Shek, whom she knew in the 70’s again in New York City.

3) She stayed friends with Claire Trevor, Ann Sothern and I think Jane Wyman (?) but didn’t much care for Lucille Ball and for some reason detested Betty Grable (??)…..

Time for a banana split!!!

Thanks again,
Larry

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Postby moira finnie » May 13th, 2008, 6:59 pm

It's nice to see you posting here, Larry. I wish I had a nickel for all the times I've thought of you. Mongo's tributes are always the best, wherever they appear! I'm glad that he could remind you of your beautiful friend in the Duesenberg car. :wink: Take care.
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Postby mrsl » May 13th, 2008, 10:10 pm

'Dearest Larry:'

What a joy it is to see you posting. I have missed you sorely my friend. Please don't vanish again!

Anne
Anne


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movieman1957
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Postby movieman1957 » May 13th, 2008, 10:50 pm

Ah, Larry.

It does my heart good to see you even if for only a little while. I hope you are well.

We miss you.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » May 14th, 2008, 8:09 am

Larry, thanks for your input regarding the lovely Paulette Goddard.
The tid-bits that you recollected are very much appreciated.
You are fortunate to still have the priceless possessions that she gave to you.
One thing for certain, I know you will be enjoying a banana split on June 3rd.

Thanks again for dropping in.

Joe
Joseph Goodheart

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » May 14th, 2008, 9:40 am

Larry!!!!

I'm so happy to see you back. Now, get to work: go through all the posts you haven't yet commented on, and tell us all the good, inside stuff we might have missed.

And don't think I don't love you for yourself, 'cause I do!

Warmest regards,
Judith

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Postby Vecchiolarry » May 14th, 2008, 9:54 am

Good Morning Moira, Anne, Chris & Judith,

Nice to read such kind words - thank you....

The big green Duisenberg did make it over to Switzerland with her but sadly it was way to big to navigate those narrow streets.
She gave it to a museum in Geneva but after that, I don't know what happened to it. It would be worth a fortune today to a collector.

I can't count the times I've been in it - front seat, back seat and even on the running board!!!
We've sped up & down Sunset, Wilshire and even to downtown LA to collect my great grandmother, Estelle.
By 1954, Estelle was rather large and Paulette told her, "Come on Estelle, haul ass into the backseat!!"... Well, that got a gasping reaction from my very Catholic great granny.... We took her to 'Ciro's' ("a den of sin" according to Estelle) and then Paulette told her to take her hat off and let the wind blow through her hair as we went out to Santa Monica and made her take her shoes & stockings off and wade into the Ocean.
All very strange to Estelle...
When she finally got home she told the nuns, who served her and me, "I wondered what else she was going to make me take off!!"....
All in all though, she liked dear Paulette, even though she perported to disapprove of her life-style.

Larry

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Postby knitwit45 » May 14th, 2008, 9:59 am

Hi again, Larry. Your stories of your Grandmother always fascinate. This is the first time I've ever heard of anyone getting the better of her. Paulette must have been a wonderful person to be around. Her joy of life is contagious, even now.

hope to hear from you again, my friend!
Nancy

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Postby vallo » May 14th, 2008, 10:20 am

Good to see you again Larry, Where were you this winter...Snow Bound?
Glad you returned. You've been missed.

Mongo, great thread as always...


Bill (vallo)
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster

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Postby Vecchiolarry » May 14th, 2008, 11:55 am

Hi,

Thanks Bill......

Nancy -
That wasn't my grandmother I wrote about. Nell never went driving with Paulette.
It was my greatgrandmother (or more accurately, step greatgrandmother, - she wasn't Nell's mother) Estelle.
She was my greatgrandfather's second wife. Nell's mother died.

Estelle was a very straight-laced Catholic lady, who built St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral in LA and was a benefactress of several charities (the Doheny Eye Institute & the Doheny Wing at Cedar-Sinai Hospital) and was made a Princess of the Church by Pius XII in 1939.

Her drive with Paulette would have been her version of a ride to Hell or something close.
Although - she did talk about it a lot to guests!!

Larry

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Postby knitwit45 » May 14th, 2008, 12:03 pm

See what happens when you aren't here to keep me on my toes??? :lol:

I just couldn't see Grandmother Nell being told to do anything....let alone going along with it!

Thanks for the story, I love all of them. Please start your Memories thread here.

Nancy
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » May 15th, 2008, 11:02 am

Larry, the more I think about a scenario of your religious greatgrandmother riding around with the boisterous Paulette Goddard...the more I crack up. Good stuff.

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Postby mongoII » May 16th, 2008, 10:43 am

In the Spotlight: WALLACE FORD
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The stocky, essential character actor was born Samuel Jones Grundy on February 12, 1898 in Bolton, Lancashire, England.
He was raised in a London orphanage and transferred to its Canadian branch where he also lived in foster homes. At age 11 he ran away and joined a vaudeville troupe called Winnipeg Kiddies.
At one time he teamed with a friend named Wallace Ford as a hobo, “traveling the rails” and after the friend was crushed to death by a railroad car, he took the name Wallace Ford in his memory.

He then found work in repertoire companies and local theatre groups eventually making his way to Broadway and theatrical success.
His career was interrupted by World War I, where he served with the cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas.
He worked on stage primarily until the 1930s including a role as George in "Of Mice and Men", when he made his first film short "Fore".
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Ford getting started in show business.

He started out playing sidekicks and other good-natured types and ended up playing the grandfatherly, avuncular types.
He had a dough-like, pug face, with a flat smile, sparkling eyes, wavy hair, and a smooth, but mildly twangy voice with a very slight lisp.

He went on to star/co-star in "The Beast of the City" with Jean Harlow in arguably her most hard-bitten role, Tod Browning's "Freaks", "The Wet Parade", "Skyscraper Souls", "The Big Cage" with Anita Page, "The Lost Patrol", "The Informer" as Frankie McPhillip, "It Happened in Hollywood", "Another Face", etc.
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Ford with Jean Harlow in the pre-code crime drama "The Beast of the City" (1931).

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Ford as Phroso with Olga Baclanova as Cleopatra in "Freaks" (above) and Ford with Elizabeth Green the Bird Girl in "Freaks" (1932) (below).
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Robert Young, Walter Huston & Ford in "The Wet Parade" (1932).

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(1934).

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Ford meeting his end with a barrage of bullets in "The Informer" (1935).

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(1939).

He spent the latter part of the 1930s searching for his widowed mother whom he eventually found living in a trailer in Manchester, England with her blind, match-selling new husband.
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In "The Mummy's Hand" with Peggy Moran and Dick Foran in 1940.

He began the 1940's in "The Mummy's Hand", "Blues in the Night", "The Mummy's Tomb", Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt", "The Cross of Lorraine", "Blood on the Sun", "Spellbound", "The Green Years", "Dead Reckoning", "Magic own", "The Set-Up", "The Furies", "He Ran All the Way" with Garfield, "Destry", "The Maverick Queen", "Johnny Concho", "The Rainmaker", "The Last Hurrah", among many others.

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Teresa Wright, Patricia Collinge, Macdonald Carey & Ford (1943).

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Ford with Ingrid Bergman in "Spellbound" (1945).

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Ford (left) with Dennis O'Keefe (center) 1947.

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(1948).

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With Robert Ryan in "The Set-Up" (1949).

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Ford with John Garfield and Shelley Winters (1951).

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With Rock Hudson in "Twilight of the Gods" (1958).

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Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman & Wallace Ford in his final role as Ole Pa in "A Patch of Blue" (1965).

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Ford (Ole Pa) in a tussle with Shelley Winters (Rose-Ann) in "A Patch of Blue"

He appeared on numerous television shows in the 1950's and 1960's including the TV series "The Deputy" wih Henry Fonda.

With one of the longer acting careers in Hollywood, Wallace Ford starred in more than 200 films and was a veteran character actor for over 30 years.
He was directed by John Ford in "The Last Hurrah" (1958), "The Whole Town's Talking" (1935), "They Were Expendable" (1945), "The Lost Patrol" (1934) and "The Informer" (1935).
He gave a fine performance in his final film role as Ole Pa in "A Patch of Blue" and was nominated for a Laurel Award.

He was married to Martha Harworth in 1922 and they had a daughter Patricia.
He was a member of The Lambs and The Masquers clubs.

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A scene from "The Beast of the City" with Jan Harlow & Wallace Ford (1931)
Wallace Ford died of a heart attack on June 11, 1966 in Woodland Hills, California at age 68.
He was cremated and his ashes given to the family.

The impressive character actor does not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Postby moira finnie » May 16th, 2008, 2:00 pm

I'm amazed at the background that you revealed on Wallace Ford. I've begun to appreciate his work in such films as Blues in the Night and The Last Hurrah more in the last few years. How did he translate all those hard knocks he took into such vivid (and often funny) roles on screen? That's real artistry. Thanks for featuring him. I particularly love the boyish photo of him in the chair at the beginning of his career, Mongo.

The mention of his search for his mother rang a bell. Didn't Ann Dvorak go through something similar looking for her father (and even enlisting the public's help as well)? Thanks.
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