Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert

Born Sep 13, 1903

Claudette Colbert was a French-born American stage and film actress, who was a leading lady for two decades. Moved in New York City, Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures. Initially associated with Paramount Pictures, later gradually Colbert shifted to a freelance actor.… Read More

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1903 Birth Born on September 13, 1903.
1906 2 Years Old In order to pursue more employment opportunities, her family including Marie and Emilie Loew emigrated into Manhattan in 1906. … Read More
1912 8 Years Old In 1912 her family was naturalized in the U.S.


1919 15 Years Old Colbert studied at Washington Irving High School (known for having a strong arts program), where her speech teacher, Alice Rossetter, encouraged her to audition for a play Rossetter had written. In 1919, Colbert made her stage debut at the Provincetown Playhouse in The Widow's Veil at the age of 15. … Read More


1925 21 Years Old After signing a five-year contract with the producer Al Woods, Colbert played ingenue roles on Broadway from 1925 through 1929. … Read More
1928 24 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1928, Colbert signed a contract with Paramount Pictures, which was looking for stage actors who could handle dialogue in the new "talkies" medium. … Read More
1929 25 Years Old During production of the 1929 film The Lady Lies, she was appearing nightly in the play See Naples and Die.
1930 26 Years Old In 1930 she starred opposite Maurice Chevalier in The Big Pond, which was filmed in both English and French. … Read More
1932 28 Years Old Colbert established herself as a femme fatale in two of Cecil B. DeMille's films, where she wore fetishistic costumes that enabled her to gradually remove successive layers of clothing. In the 1932 historical epic The Sign of the Cross she starred opposite Fredric March as the Roman empress Poppea. … Read More
1933 29 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1933, Colbert renegotiated her contract with Paramount to allow her to appear in films for other studios.


1935 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Colbert's popularity allowed her to renegotiate her contract, raising her salary. In 1935 and 1936, she was listed in the annual "Quigley Poll of the Top Ten Money-Making Stars," which was compiled from the votes of movie exhibitors throughout the U.S. for the stars who had generated the most revenue in their theaters over the previous year. … Read More
1936 - 1938 3 More Events
1939 35 Years Old She also appeared for another radio program, The Screen Guild Theater, making 13 episodes between 1939 and 1952.
1940 36 Years Old In 1940, Colbert refused a seven-year contract that would have paid her $200,000 a year, after finding out that she could command a fee of $150,000 per film as a freelance artist. … Read More


1945 41 Years Old In 1945, Colbert ended her association with Paramount Studios, and continued to freelance in such films as Guest Wife (1945) with Don Ameche. … Read More
1946 42 Years Old Without Reservations grossed $3 million in the U.S., and the overall popularity of Colbert's films during 1946 led to her third appearance in the "Quigley Poll of the Top Ten Money-Making Stars." … Read More
1949 45 Years Old In 1949, she was originally cast in All About Eve, because producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was enthusiastic about Colbert, feeling that she best represented the style he envisioned for the part. … Read More


In 1954 Colbert turned down a million-dollar broadcast deal with NBC-TV, but made a pact with CBS-TV to star in several teleplays. … Read More
1958 54 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1958, she returned to Broadway in The Marriage-Go-Round, for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Tony Award. … Read More
1959 55 Years Old By the early 1950s, she had largely retired from the screen in favor of television and stage work, earning a Tony Award nomination for The Marriage-Go-Round in 1959. … Read More


1968 64 Years Old The marriage lasted 33 years, until Pressman's death of liver cancer in 1968. … Read More
1970 66 Years Old Colbert's mother Jeanne died in 1970 and her brother Charles died in 1971, so her only surviving relative was a niece, Coco Lewis, Charles' daughter.
1996 93 Years Old Following a series of small strokes during the last three years of her life, Colbert died in 1996 at her second home in Barbados, where she was employing one housekeeper and two cooks. … Read More
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