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Paulette Goddard ( Marion Pauline Goddard Levy ; Long Island, New York, June 3, 1910 – Ronco, Ticino, Switzerland, April 23, 1990) was an American silent and sound film actress.
He was born in Whitestone Landing, Queens, Long Island. She was the only daughter of Joseph Russell Levy, a Jew, and Alta Mae Goddard, who belonged to an Episcopal church and had British ancestry, and whose parents divorced when she was very young and raised by her mother. Her father practically disappeared from her life, and she returned in the late 1930s, after she became famous. At first, her new relationship with her father seemed very good and they went together to the premieres in the cinema, but later he sued her legally when he read an interview in a magazine where he claimed that he abandoned her in his childhood. They would never reconcile. When he died, he left only one dollar in his will. She always had a close relationship with her mother.
Charles Goddard, his great-uncle, helped his niece to find employment as an advertising model, and then, between 1924 and 1928, as one of the Ziegfeld Girls in the musical company Ziegfeld Follies, by Florenz Ziegfeld. He attended Washington Irving High School in Manhattan at the same time as Claire Trevor, who would also be an actress.
After marrying a millionaire named Edgar James, he moved to live in Hollywood. At the beginning of the 1930s he participated in supporting roles in works such as Las calles de la ciudad (1931), by Rouben Mamoulian, with Gary Cooper and Sylvia Sidney, or in Torero a la fuerza (The Kid from Spain, 1932), by Leo McCarey, along with Eddie Cantor.
In 1936 he shot, along with Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times (1936), the last film in which Charlot appears as a character. After filming the film they were married in a secret ceremony, by agreement of both. Four years later they returned to film together in the film, The Great Dictator (The Great Dictator, 1940), a critical film against German Nazism and, by extension, against all totalitarianisms and dictatorships. Both titles make up two of the masterpieces of the great director. That same year they married.
During that time he acted in other important films such as Women (The Women, 1939), George Cukor, along with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine, and in a comedy directed by Elliott Nugent with comedian Bob Hope, The cat and the canary (1939).
In the trailer of So Proudly We Hail!
In the 1940s he shot most of his films, among which the musical Al Fin Solos (1940), directed by H.C. Potter and starring Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith (with the latter he married soon after in real life, despite rejecting his character in the film); The damn castle, by David Butler (The Ghost Breakers, 1940), again with Bob Hope; If dawn not (1941), Mitchell Leisen, with Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland, in one of the golden melodramas of the decade; Reap the Wild Wind (1942) and Los inconquistables (1947), both by Cecil B. DeMille, the first in the company of John Wayne, Robert Preston and Susan Hayward, and the second with Gary Cooper; Blood in the Philippines (So Proundy We Hail, 1943), by Mark Sandrich, for which she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and in which she worked alongside Veronica Lake; La bribona (1945), by Mitchell Leisen, a classic melodrama in which he performed one of his best performances; Memoirs of a maiden (The Diary of a Chambermaid, 1946) by Jean Renoir, which she produced with her husband at the time, Burgess Meredith, about Octave Mirbeau’s novel and which continues to be considered one of Renoir’s jewels in its North American phase ; An ideal husband (1947), by Alexander Korda, unanimously praised as the best version of Oscar Wilde’s play of the same title, and Una mujer rebelde (1949), by Emilio Fernández, along with Mexican Pedro Armendáriz, in a story set in the midst of the Mexican Revolution.
In the ’50s and’ 60s he was surprised to want to remain active professionally, at a time when actresses were retiring when they were 40-50 years old. Of this time they date his appearances in several television productions and emphasizes his participation in The indifferent ones, shot in Italy in 1966 by Francesco Maselli, in which he shared poster with Rod Steiger and Shelley Winters.
Paulette Goddard died of “natural causes”, according to the medical report, in the Swiss town of Porto Ronco, where she lived in the house she had shared with her last husband, the German writer Erich Maria Remarque.
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