Of actress Claudette Colbert it has been written, "[Her]
glamour is the sort that women attain for themselves by using their
intelligence to create a timeless personal style" (Jeanie Basinger in
The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers).
Best known for her stylish portrayals in a series of screwball
comedies in the late 1930s and '40s, Colbert's fine comic timing and her
unique ability to portray characters who thrived in whatever situation
they found themselves made her a model for other actresses. One such resourceful
character was runaway heiress Ellie Andrews in Frank Capra's It Happened
One Night (1934), a surprise hit that earned Colbert and her costar
Clark Gable that year's Oscar for Best Actress and Best Actor.
Also known in Hollywood for her shrewd business sense,
Colbert fashioned for herself a significant screen career, the range of
which is reflected in her other two Best Actress nominations--as a psychiatrist
in Private Worlds (1935) and as a wartime wife in Since You
Went Away (1944).
Born Claudette Lily Chauchoin in Paris, she moved with
her family to New York as a child of 6.