Jean Arthur
Actress
Jean Arthur
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.
Biography
Jean Arthur's personal information overview.
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Television movies for the week of Aug. 28 - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Jean Arthur. An Iowa congresswoman rivals a bistro singer for an Army captain in postwar Berlin. (NR) (2:00) TCM: Wed. 1:30 AM • Foreigner 2: Black Dawn '05. Steven Seagal. A CIA agent races against time to prevent arms dealers from selling a nuclear
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Hollywood's chased romantic hero - Bay Area Reporter
Google News - over 5 years
Plain, husky-voiced Jean Arthur and smoldering Rita Hayworth both want to take him higher. Whom will he pick? Directed by Hawks. (Mon., 9/5, matinee/evening) Hitchcock's superb Notorious (1946) highlights Grant's passive/aggressive misogynism
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At Large with Tom Williams > A look at some films & film classics - Shore News Today
Google News - over 5 years
Also starring Jean Arthur, Claude Rains and Edward Arnold. Stewart was nominated for an Oscar as best actor (Robert Donat won for Goodbye, Mr. Chips). The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). This Hitchcock film pairs Stewart and Doris Day as parents trying
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The height of manipulation - Sydney Morning Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Alan Ladd as Shane and Jean Arthur and Vann Heflin as the Starretts in Shane. Note how Ladd seems tall til you compare leg lengths. For an industry near-obsessed with image, one of the basic, legitimate measures of it is more obscured than ever before
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James Stewart's early roles featured Aug 13 on TCM's Summer Under The Stars - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
Not only does Mr. Smith re-team Stewart and Capra, but it also reunites Stewart with his 1938 You Can't Take It With You co-star as Jean Arthur once again cast as the object of Stewart's affections, although this time, she's the one resisting at first
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James Stewart Movie Schedule: ANATOMY OF A MURDER, THE MURDER MAN - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Cast: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains. BW-130 mins. 11:15 AM WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936) A secretary becomes so valuable to her boss that it jeopardizes his marriage. Dir: Clarence Brown. Cast: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy. BW-88 mins
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Claudette Colbert Q&A Pt.1: 'The Claudette Colbert Business' - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Would you say there's something that distinguishes Claudette Colbert from the other screwball comediennes of the 1930s — Jean Arthur, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard? And if so, how would you define that special "it" that Colbert possessed?
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Freeport Theatre Festival classic goes beyond the laughter - Tarentum Valley News Dispatch
Google News - over 5 years
The 1938 film version, directed by Frank Capra, starred Jean Arthur, James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore, receiving two Academy Awards. Freeport Theatre Festival director Tom Abbott of Natrona Heights suggested to his cast that they not watch the film
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Cary Grant Movies List - Screen Junkies
Google News - over 5 years
“Only Angels Have Wings” Cary Grant and Jean Arthur prove to be a charming pair in this film about the relationship that unfolds between a pilot and a young entertainer. Directed by Hollywood icon Howard Hawks, this emotional and thrilling film was
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Harel Freres Planning Record Sugar Production in Mauritius - Bloomberg
Google News - over 5 years
... a Port Louis, Mauritius-based sugar producer, will have a record 85000 metric tons of specialty sugar production this year because of beneficial weather, according to Jean Arthur Pilot-Lagesse, general manager of the company's sugar division
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Shane revisited - BusinessWorld Online
Google News - over 5 years
The film is seen from his point of view so naturally the adult cast of Alan Ladd (Shane), Van Heflin (the father) and Jean Arthur (the mother) are slightly ennobled from his innocent perspective. George Stevens wisely allows the locale to add to the
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2011 Film Fest to feature labor rights - Traverse City Record Eagle
Google News - over 5 years
Other outdoor movies are the original "Star Wars: Episode IV," July 26; "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," a 1936 movie starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, July 27; "Mrs. Doubtfire," with Robin Williams dressed as a housekeeper to spend time with his kids,
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Narrow search by Category: - WilliametteLive.com
Google News - over 5 years
Rebecca Maitland, Reed Opera House, 189 Liberty St. NE, Salem, Runs until 07/06 Classic Film: Shane (George Stevens, 1953) with Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Jack Palance. A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family,
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What's All The Hulu-baloo About? This Week In Criterion's Hulu Channel - CriterionCast.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Charles Boyer is Paul Dumond, a charming Parisian who Irene Vail (Jean Arthur) falls in love with. The problem is Bruce (Colin Clive), Irene's ex-husband, doesn't want to give her up and will stop at nothing to get her back
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A few films for the Fourth - MyCentralJersey.com
Google News - over 5 years
“Shane” (1953): One of the greatest (albeit sappy) Westerns of all time, Jean Arthur's final film stars Alan Ladd as a man who tries to hang up his six-gun but ends up in the middle of a dispute between a greedy cattle baron and a bunch of farmers
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Good Morning! - KWTX
Google News - over 5 years
In 1991, actress Jean Arthur died in Carmel, Calif., at age 90. In 1999, author Stephen King was seriously injured when he was struck by a van driven by Bryan Smith in North Lovell, Maine. Britain's Prince Edward married commoner Sophie Rhys-Jones in
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Funny girls. . . who says women aren't the Mae West? - Irish Independent
Google News - over 5 years
Jean Arthur was successfully teamed with Grant in a string of films, most memorably in George Stevens's 1942 comedy Talk of the Town. Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn once unkindly described Ms Arthur's profile as "half angel, and the other half
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jean Arthur
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1991
    Age 90
    Arthur died from heart failure June 19, 1991, at the age of 90.
    More Details Hide Details No funeral service was held. She was cremated and her remains were scattered off the coast of Point Lobos, California. She had great-nephews and great-nieces. Upon her death, film reviewer Charles Champlin wrote the following in the Los Angeles Times: For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Jean Arthur has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6333 Hollywood Blvd. The Jean Arthur Atrium was her gift to the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. On May 2, 2015, the city of Plattsburgh, New York honored her with a plaque in front of the house where she was born (94 Oak Street).
  • 1975
    Age 74
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The play went on with Jane Alexander playing the role intended for Arthur. After the First Monday in October incident, Arthur then retired for good, retreating to her oceanside home in Carmel, California, steadfastly refusing interviews until her resistance was broken down by the author of a book about Capra. Arthur once famously said that she would rather have her throat slit than do an interview.
  • 1973
    Age 72
    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.
    More Details Hide Details An animal lover her entire life, Arthur said she trusted them more than people. She was convicted, fined $75 and given three years' probation. Arthur turned down the role of the female missionary in Lost Horizon (1973), the unsuccessful musical remake of the 1937 Frank Capra film of the same name.
  • 1967
    Age 66
    In 1967, Arthur was coaxed back to Broadway to appear as a midwestern spinster who falls in with a group of hippies in the play The Freaking Out of Stephanie Blake.
    More Details Hide Details In his book The Season William Goldman reconstructed the disastrous production, which eventually closed during previews when Arthur refused to go on. Arthur next decided to teach drama, first at Vassar College and then the North Carolina School of the Arts. While teaching at Vassar, she stopped a rather stridently overacted scene performance and directed the students' attention to a large tree growing outside the window of the performance space, advising the students on the art of naturalistic acting: "I wish people knew how to be people as well as that tree knows how to be a tree." Her students at Vassar included the young Meryl Streep. Arthur recognized Streep's talent and potential very early on and after watching her performance in a Vassar play, Arthur said it was "like watching a movie star."
  • 1966
    Age 65
    In 1966, the extremely reclusive Arthur took on the role of Patricia Marshall, an attorney, on her own television sitcom, The Jean Arthur Show, which was canceled mid-season by CBS after only 12 episodes.
    More Details Hide Details Ron Harper played her son, attorney Paul Marshall.
  • 1965
    Age 64
    In 1965, she returned to show business in an episode of Gunsmoke.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1954
    Age 53
    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.
    More Details Hide Details After Shane and the Broadway play Joan of Arc, Arthur went into retirement for 12 years.
  • FORTIES
  • 1950
    Age 49
    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.
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  • 1945
    Age 44
    A prime example was in 1945, when she was cast in the lead of the Garson Kanin play, Born Yesterday.
    More Details Hide Details Her nerves and insecurity got the better of her and she left the production before it reached Broadway, opening the door for a then-unknown Judy Holliday to take the part.
  • 1944
    Age 43
    Arthur retired when her contract with Columbia Pictures expired in 1944.
    More Details Hide Details She reportedly ran through the studio's streets, shouting "I'm free, I'm free!" For the next several years, she turned down virtually all film offers, the two exceptions being Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair (1948), in which she played a congresswoman and rival of Marlene Dietrich, and as a homesteader's wife in the classic Western Shane (1953), which turned out to be the biggest box-office hit of her career. The latter was her final film, and the only color film in which she appeared. Arthur's post-retirement work in theater was intermittent, somewhat curtailed by her unease and discomfort about working in public. Capra claimed she vomited in her dressing room between scenes, yet emerged each time to perform a flawless take. According to John Oller's biography, Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew (1997), Arthur developed a kind of stage fright punctuated with bouts of psychosomatic illnesses.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1937
    Age 36
    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."
    More Details Hide Details Arthur's next film was The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936), on loan to RKO Pictures, in which she starred opposite William Powell on his insistence, and hoped to take a long vacation afterwards. Cohn, however, rushed her into two more productions, Adventure in Manhattan (1936) and More Than a Secretary (1936). Neither film attracted much attention. Next, again without pause, she was re-teamed with Cooper, playing Calamity Jane in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman (1936) on another loan, this time for Paramount Pictures. Arthur, who was De Mille's second choice after Mae West, described Calamity Jane as her favorite role thus far. Afterwards, she appeared as a working girl, her typical role, in Mitchell Leisen's screwball comedy, Easy Living (1937), with Ray Milland. She followed this with another screwball comedy, Capra's You Can't Take It with You, which teamed her with James Stewart. The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture with Arthur getting top billing.
  • 1936
    Age 35
    In 1936 alone, she earned $119,000, more than the President of the United States and baseball player Lou Gehrig.
    More Details Hide Details With fame also came media attention, something Arthur greatly disliked. She did not attend any social gatherings, such as formal parties in Hollywood, and acted difficult when having to work with an interviewer.
  • 1934
    Age 33
    The turning point in Arthur's career came when she was chosen by Frank Capra to star in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Capra had spotted her in a daily rush from the film Whirlpool in 1934 and convinced Cohn to have Columbia Studios sign her for his next film as a tough newspaperwoman who falls in love with a country bumpkin millionaire.
    More Details Hide Details Even though several colleagues later recalled that Arthur was troubled by extreme stage fright during production, Mr. Deeds was critically acclaimed and propelled her to international stardom.
    Even though hesitant to give up her stage career, Arthur signed the five-year contract on February 14, 1934.
    More Details Hide Details In 1935, at age 34, Arthur starred opposite Edward G. Robinson in the gangster farce The Whole Town's Talking, also directed by Ford, and her popularity began to rise. It was the first time Arthur portrayed a hard-boiled working girl with a heart of gold, the type of role she would be associated with for the rest of her career. She enjoyed the acting experience and working opposite Robinson, who remarked in his biography that it was a "delight to work with and know" Arthur. By the time of the film's release, her hair, naturally brunette throughout the silent film portion of her career, was bleached blonde and would mostly stay that way. She was known for maneuvering to be photographed and filmed almost exclusively from the left; Arthur felt that her left was her best side, and worked hard to keep it in the fore. Director Frank Capra recalled producer Harry Cohn's description of Jean Arthur's imbalanced profile: "half of it's angel, and the other half horse." Her next few films, Party Wire (1935), Public Hero No. 1 (1935) and If You Could Only Cook (1935), did not match the success of The Whole Town's Talking, but they all brought the actress positive reviews. In his review for The New York Times, critic Andre Sennwald praised Arthur's performance in Public Hero No. 1, writing that she "is as refreshing a change from the routine it-girl as Joseph Calleia is in his own department."
  • 1933
    Age 32
    With an improved résumé, she returned to Hollywood in late 1933, and turned down several contract offers until she was asked to meet with an executive from Columbia Pictures.
    More Details Hide Details Arthur agreed to star in a film, Whirlpool (1934), and during production she was offered a long-term contract that promised financial stability for both her and her parents.
    The Curtain Rises, which ran from October to December 1933, was Arthur's first Broadway play in which she was the center of attention.
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  • 1932
    Age 31
    She married producer Frank Ross, Jr., in 1932. They divorced in 1949.
    More Details Hide Details She had no children by either union.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Arthur returned to California for the holidays, and appeared in the RKO film The Past of Mary Holmes (1933), her first film in two years. Back on Broadway, Arthur continued to appear in small plays that received little attention. Critics, however, continued to praise her in their reviews. It has been argued that in this period, Arthur developed confidence in her acting craft for the first time. On the contrast between films in Hollywood and plays in New York, Arthur commented: I don't think Hollywood is the place to be yourself. The individual ought to find herself before coming to Hollywood. On the stage I found myself to be in a different world. The individual counted. The director encouraged me and I learned how to be myself. I learned to face audiences and to forget them. To see the footlights and not to see them; to gauge the reactions of hundreds of people, and yet to throw myself so completely into a role that I was oblivious to their reaction.
  • 1931
    Age 30
    In late 1931, Arthur returned to New York City, where a Broadway agent cast Arthur in an adaptation of Lysistrata, which opened at the Riviera Theater on January 24, 1932.
    More Details Hide Details A few months later, she made her Broadway debut in Foreign Affairs opposite Dorothy Gish and Osgood Perkins. Even though the play did not fare well and closed after twenty-three performances, critics were impressed by her work on stage.
    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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1930
    Age 29
    Following a string of "lifeless ingenue roles" in mediocre films, she debuted on stage in December 1930 with a supporting role in Pasadena Playhouse's ten-day run production of Spring Song.
    More Details Hide Details Back in Hollywood, Arthur saw her career deteriorating, and she dyed her hair blonde in an attempt to boost her image and avoid comparison with more successful actress Mary Brian.
    By 1930, her relationship with Selznick had ended, causing her career at Paramount to slip.
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  • 1929
    Age 28
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Following a silent B-western called Stairs of Sand (1929), she received some positive notices when she played the female lead in the lavish production of The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929). Arthur was given more publicity assignments, which she carried out, even though she immediately disliked posing for photographers and giving interviews. Through Selznick, Arthur received her "best role to date" opposite famous sex symbol Clara Bow in the early sound film The Saturday Night Kid (1929). Of the two female leads, Arthur was thought to have "the better part", and director Edward Sutherland claimed that "Arthur was so good that we had to cut and cut to keep her from stealing the picture" from Bow. While some argued that Bow resented Arthur for having the "better part", Bow encouraged Arthur to make the most of the production. Arthur later praised her working experience with Bow: "Bow was so generous, no snootiness or anything. She was wonderful to me." The film was a moderate success, and The New York Times wrote that the film would have been "merely commonplace, were it not for Jean Arthur, who plays the catty sister with a great deal of skill."
  • 1928
    Age 27
    Arthur's first marriage, to photographer Julian Anker in 1928, was annulled after one day.
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  • 1927
    Age 26
    In 1927, Arthur attracted more attention when she appeared opposite Mae Busch and Charles Delaney as a gold digging chorus girl in Husband Hunters.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequently, she was romanced by actor Monty Banks in Horse Shoes (1927), both a commercial and critical success. She was cast on Banks' insistence, and received a salary of $700. Next, director Richard Wallace ignored Fox's wishes to cast a more experienced actress by assigning Arthur to the female lead in The Poor Nut (1927), a college comedy which gave her wide exposure to audiences. A reviewer for Variety did not spare the actress in his review: "With everyone in Hollywood bragging about the tremendous overflow of charming young women all battering upon the directorial doors leading to an appearance in pictures, it seems strange that from all these should have been selected two flat specimens such as Jean Arthur and Jane Winton. Neither of the girls has screen presence. Even under the kindliest treatment from the camera they are far from attractive and in one or two side shots almost impossible." Fed up with the direction that her career was taking, Arthur expressed her desire for a big break in an interview at the time. She was skeptical when signed to a small role in Warming Up (1928), a film produced for a big studio, Famous Players-Lasky, and starring Richard Dix. Promoted as the studio's first sound film, it received wide media attention, and Arthur earned praise for her portrayal of a club owner's daughter. Variety opined, "Dix and Arthur are splendid in spite of the wretched material", while Screenland wrote that Arthur "is one of the most charming young kissees who ever officiated in a Dix film.
  • 1924
    Age 23
    Aside from appearing in films for Action Pictures between 1924 and 1926, she appeared in some independent westerns including The Drug Store Cowboy (1925), and westerns for Poverty Row, as well as having an uncredited bit part in Buster Keaton's Seven Chances (1925).
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1915
    Age 14
    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".
    More Details Hide Details Presaging many of her later film roles, she worked as a stenographer on Bond Street in lower Manhattan during World War I and the early 1920s. Both her father (at age 55, claiming to be 45) and siblings registered for the draft. Her brother Albert died as a result of injuries sustained in battle during WWI. Discovered by Fox Film Studios while she was doing commercial modeling in New York City in the early 1920s, Arthur landed a one-year contract and debuted in the silent film Cameo Kirby (1923), directed by John Ford. She reputedly took her stage name from two of her greatest heroes, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) and King Arthur. The studio was at the time looking for new American sweethearts with sufficient sex appeal to interest the Jazz Age audiences. Arthur was remodeled as such a personality, a flapper. Following the small role in Cameo Kirby, she received her first female lead role in The Temple of Venus (1923), a plotless tale about a group of dancing nymphs. Dissatisfied with her lack of acting talent, the film's director Henry Otto replaced Arthur with actress Mary Philbin during the third day of shooting. Arthur agreed with the director: "There wasn't a spark from within. I was acting like a mechanical doll personality. I thought I was disgraced for life." She was planning on leaving the California film industry for good, but reluctantly stayed due to her contract, and appeared in comedy shorts instead.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1908
    Age 7
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The product of a nomadic childhood, Arthur also lived at times in Jacksonville, Florida; Schenectady, New York; Saranac Lake, New York; and, during a portion of her high school years, in the Washington Heights neighborhood – at 573 West 159th Street – of upper Manhattan.
  • 1900
    Born
    Born on October 17, 1900.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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