Jean Arthur

Born Oct 17, 1900

Jean Arthur was an American actress and a major film star of the 1930s and 1940s. She remains arguably the epitome of the female screwball comedy actress. As James Harvey wrote in his recounting of the era, "No one was more closely identified with the screwball comedy than Jean Arthur. So much was she part of it, so much was her star personality defined by it, that the screwball style itself seems almost unimaginable without her.… Read More

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1900 Birth Born on October 17, 1900.
1908 7 Years Old She lived on and off in Westbrook, Maine, from 1908 to 1915 while her father worked at Lamson Studios in Portland, Maine, as a photographer. … Read More


1915 14 Years Old The family's relocation to New York City occurred in 1915, where Arthur dropped out of high school in her junior year due to a "change in family circumstances". … Read More


1924 - 1927 2 More Events
1928 27 Years Old Arthur's first marriage, to photographer Julian Anker in 1928, was annulled after one day.
1929 28 Years Old …  Her personal involvement with rising Paramount executive David O. Selznick – despite his relationship with Irene Mayer Selznick – proved substantial; she was put on the map and became selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1929. … Read More
1930 29 Years Old 1 More Event
…  By 1930, her relationship with Selznick had ended, causing her career at Paramount to slip.


1931 30 Years Old 1 More Event
Her effort did not pay off: when her three-year contract at Paramount expired in mid-1931, she was given her release with an announcement from Paramount that the decision was due to financial setbacks caused by the Great Depression.
1932 31 Years Old 1 More Event
She next won the female lead in The Man Who Reclaimed His Head, which opened on September 8, 1932, at the Broadhurst Theatre to mostly mixed notices for Arthur, and negative reviews for the play caused the production to be halted quickly. … Read More
1933 32 Years Old 1 More Event
The Curtain Rises, which ran from October to December 1933, was Arthur's first Broadway play in which she was the center of attention.
1934 33 Years Old 1 More Event
Even though hesitant to give up her stage career, Arthur signed the five-year contract on February 14, 1934. … Read More
1936 35 Years Old In 1936 alone, she earned $119,000, more than the President of the United States and baseball player Lou Gehrig. … Read More
1937 36 Years Old She was named the American Greta Garbo – who was also known for her reclusive life – and magazine Movie Classic wrote of her in 1937: "With Garbo talking right out loud in interviews, receiving the press and even welcoming an occasional chance to say her say in the public prints, the palm for elusiveness among screen stars now goes to Jean Arthur." … Read More


1944 43 Years Old Arthur retired when her contract with Columbia Pictures expired in 1944. … Read More
1945 44 Years Old A prime example was in 1945, when she was cast in the lead of the Garson Kanin play, Born Yesterday. … Read More
1950 49 Years Old She did score a major triumph on Broadway in 1950, starring in an adaptation of Peter Pan playing the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up when she was almost 50.


1954 53 Years Old She tackled the role of her namesake, Joan of Arc, in a 1954 stage production of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, but she left the play after a nervous breakdown and battles with director Harold Clurman. … Read More


1965 - 1967 3 More Events
1973 72 Years Old While living in North Carolina, in 1973, Arthur made front-page news by being arrested and jailed for trespassing on a neighbor's property to console a dog she felt was being mistreated. … Read More
1975 74 Years Old Then, in 1975, the Broadway play First Monday in October, about the first woman to be a Supreme Court justice, was written especially with Arthur in mind, but once again she succumbed to extreme stage fright and quit the production shortly into its out-of-town run after leaving the Cleveland Play House. … Read More
1991 91 Years Old Arthur died from heart failure June 19, 1991, at the age of 90. … Read More
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