Paulette Goddard (born Marion Levy; June 3, 1910 – April 23, 1990) was an American actress, a child fashion model and a performer in several Broadway productions as a Ziegfeld Girl; she became a major star of Paramount Pictures in the 1940s. Her most notable films were her first major role, as Charlie Chaplin's leading lady in Modern Times, and Chaplin's subsequent film The Great Dictator. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in So Proudly We Hail! (1943). Her husbands included Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich Maria Remarque.
Early films. Goddard first visited Hollywood in 1929, when she appeared as an uncredited extra in two films, the Laurel and Hardy short film Berth Marks (1929), and George Fitzmaurice's drama The Locked Door (1929).Following her divorce, she briefly visited Europe before returning to Hollywood in late 1930 with her mother. Her second attempt at acting was no more successful than the first, as she landed work only as an extra. Sam Goldwyn. In 1930, she signed her first film contract with producer Samuel Goldwyn to appear as a Goldwyn Girl in Whoopee! (1930). She also appeared in City Streets (1931), Ladies of the Big House (1931), and The Girl Habit (1931) for Paramount, Palmy Days (1931) for Goldwyn, and The Mouthpiece (1932) for Warners. Goldwyn and she did not get along, and she began working for Hal Roach Studios, appearing in a string of uncredited supporting roles for the next four years, including Show Business (1932), Young Ironsides (1932), Pack Up Your Troubles (1932) (with Laurel and Hardy), and Girl Grief with Charley Chase.Goldwyn used Goddard in The Kid from Spain (1932), The Bowery (1933), Roman Scandals (1933), and Kid Millions (1934). Charlie Chaplin. The year she signed with Goldwyn, Goddard began dating Charlie Chaplin, a relationship that received substantial attention from the press. It marked a turning point in Goddard's career when Chaplin cast her as his leading lady in his next box office hit, Modern Times, in 1936. Her role as "The Gamin", an orphan girl who runs away from the authorities and becomes The Tramp's companion, was her first credited film appearance and garnered her mainly positive reviews, Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times describing her as "the fitting recipient of the great Charlot's championship". David O. Selznick & MGM. Following the success of Modern Times, Chaplin planned other projects with Goddard in mind as a co-star, but he worked slowly, and Goddard worried that the public might forget about her if she did not continue to make regular film appearances. She signed a contract with David O. Selznick and appeared with Janet Gaynor in the comedy The Young in Heart (1938) before Selznick lent her to MGM to appear in two films. The first of these, Dramatic School (1938), co-starred Luise Rainer, but the film received mediocre reviews and failed to attract an audience.Her next film, The Women (1939), was a success. With an all-female cast headed by Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell, the film's supporting role of Miriam Aarons was played by Goddard. Pauline Kael later wrote of Goddard, "she is a stand-out. Fun." = Scarlett O'Hara. = Selznick was pleased with Goddard's performances, particularly her work in The Young in Heart, and considered her for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. Initial screen tests convinced Selznick and director George Cukor that Goddard would require coaching to be effective in the role, but that she showed promise, and she was the first actress given a Technicolor screen test.Russell Birdwell, the head of Selznick's publicity department, had strong misgivings about Goddard. He warned Selznick of the "tremendous avalanche of criticism that will befall us and the picture should Paulette be given this part...I have never known a woman, intent on a career dependent upon her popularity with the masses, to hold and live such an insane and absurd attitude towards the press and her fellow man as does Paulette Goddard...Briefly, I think she is dynamite that will explode in our very faces if she is given the part." Selznick remained interested in Goddard for the role of Scarlett. After he was introduced to Vivien Leigh, he wrote to his wife that Leigh was a "dark horse" and that his choice had "narrowed down to Paulette, Jean Arthur, Joan Bennett, and Vivien Leigh".After a series of tests with Leigh that pleased both Selznick and Cukor, Selznick cancelled the further tests that had been scheduled for Goddard, and the part was given to Leigh. It has been suggested that Goddard lost the part because Selznick feared that questions surrounding her marital status with Charlie Chaplin would result in scandal. However, Selznick was aware that Leigh and Laurence Olivier lived together, as their respective spouses had refused to divorce them, and in addition to offering Leigh a contract, he engaged Olivier as the leading man in his next production Rebecca (1940). Chaplin's biographer Joyce Milton wrote that Selznick was worried about legal issues by signing her to a contract that might conflict with her pre-existing contracts with the Chaplin studio. Paramount. Goddard signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and her next film, The Cat and the Canary (1939) with Bob Hope, was a turning point in the careers of both actors. They promptly were re-teamed in The Ghost Breakers (1940). Goddard starred with Chaplin again in his 1940 film The Great Dictator. The couple split amicably soon afterward, and Goddard allegedly obtained a divorce in Mexico in 1942, with Chaplin agreeing to a generous settlement. At Paramount, Goddard was used by Cecil B. De Mille in the action epic North West Mounted Police (1940), playing the second female lead. She was Fred Astaire's leading lady in Second Chorus (1940), where she met actor Burgess Meredith, her third husband,. Goddard made Pot o' Gold (1941), a comedy with James Stewart, then supported Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), from a script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, directed by Mitchell Leisen. Goddard was teamed with Hope for a third time in Nothing But the Truth (1942), then made The Lady Has Plans (1942), a comedy with Ray Milland. She did Reap the Wild Wind (1942), playing the lead, a Scarlett O'Hara type character. Co-starring Milland and John Wayne, it was a huge hit. Goddard did The Forest Rangers (1942). One of her better-remembered film appearances was in the variety musical Star Spangled Rhythm (1943), in which she sang "A Sweater, a Sarong, and a Peekaboo Bang" with Dorothy Lamour and Veronica Lake. She and Milland did The Crystal Ball (1943). = Oscar nomination. = Goddard received one Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 1943 film So Proudly We Hail!. Goddard was teamed with Fred MacMurray in Standing Room Only (1944) and Sonny Tufts in I Love a Soldier (1944). She was one of many Paramount stars in Duffy's Tavern (1945). Goddard's most successful film was Kitty (1945), in which she played the title role. Producer. In The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946), Goddard starred with Burgess Meredith, to whom she was married at the time, under the direction of Jean Renoir. It was made for United Artists. At Paramount she did Suddenly It's Spring (1947) and De Mille's Unconquered (1947). During the Hollywood Blacklist, when she and blacklisted husband Meredith were mobbed by a baying crowd screaming "Communists!" on their way to a premiere, Goddard is said to have turned to her husband and said, "Shall I roll down the window and hit them with my diamonds, Bugsy?" In 1947, she made An Ideal Husband in Britain for Alexander Korda, and was accompanied on a publicity trip to Brussels by Clarissa Spencer-Churchill, niece of Sir Winston Churchill and future wife of future Prime Minister Anthony Eden. Goddard and her husband were among several stars in On Our Merry Way (1948). At Paramount, she did two movies with MacDonald Carey: Hazard (1948) and Bride of Vengeance (1949). She then left the studio. Freelance. In 1949, she formed Monterey Pictures with John Steinbeck. Goddard starred in Anna Lucasta (1949), then went to Mexico for The Torch (1950). In England, she was in Babes in Bagdad (1952); then she went to Hollywood for Vice Squad (1953), Sins of Jezebel (1953), Paris Model (1953), and Charge of the Lancers (1954). Her last starring role was in the English production A Stranger Came Home (known as The Unholy Four in the United States). Television. Goddard began appearing in summer stock and on television, guest starring on episodes of Sherlock Holmes, an adaptation of The Women, this time playing the role of Sylvia Fowler, The Errol Flynn Theatre, The Joseph Cotten Show, and The Ford Television Theatre. She was in an episode of Adventures in Paradise and a TV version of The Phantom.
Goddard married the much older lumber tycoon Edgar James on June 28, 1927, when she was 17 years old; the couple moved to North Carolina. They separated two years later and divorced in 1932.In 1932, Goddard began a relationship with Charlie Chaplin. She later moved into his home in Beverly Hills. They were reportedly married in secret in Canton, China, in June 1936. Years later Chaplin privately told relatives that they were married only in common law. Aside from referring to Goddard as "my wife" at the October 1940 premiere of The Great Dictator, neither Goddard nor Chaplin publicly commented on their marital status. On June 4, 1942, Goddard was granted a Mexican divorce from Chaplin.In May 1944, she married Burgess Meredith at David O. Selznick's home in Beverly Hills. They divorced in June 1949.In 1958, Goddard married author Erich Maria Remarque. They remained married until Remarque's death in 1970.Goddard had no children. In October 1944, she suffered the miscarriage of a son with Burgess Meredith.
Goddard was the daughter of Joseph Russell Levy (1881–1954), the son of a prosperous cigar manufacturer from Salt Lake City, and Alta Mae Goddard (1887–1983). Her father was Jewish, her mother Episcopalian of English ancestry. They married in 1908 and separated while their daughter was very young, although the divorce did not become final until 1926. According to Goddard, her father left them, but according to J. R. Levy, Alta absconded with the child. Goddard was raised by her mother, and did not meet her father again until the late 1930s, after she had become famous.In a 1938 interview published in Collier's, Goddard claimed Levy was not her biological father. In response, Levy filed a suit against his daughter, claiming that the interview had ruined his reputation and cost him his job, and demanded financial support from her. In a December 17, 1945, article written by Oliver Jensen in Life, Goddard admitted to having lost the case and being forced to pay her father $35 a week. To avoid a custody battle, she and her mother moved often during her childhood, even relocating to Canada at one point. Goddard began modeling at an early age to support her mother and herself, working for Saks Fifth Avenue, Hattie Carnegie, and others. An important figure in her childhood was her great uncle, Charles Goddard, the owner of the American Druggists Syndicate. He played a central role in Goddard's career, introducing her to Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld.In 1926, she made her stage debut as a dancer in Ziegfeld's summer revue, No Foolin', which was also the first time that she used the stage name Paulette Goddard. Ziegfeld hired her for another musical, Rio Rita, which opened in February 1927, but she left the show after only three weeks to appear in the play The Unconquerable Male, produced by Archie Selwyn. It was, however, a flop and closed after only three days following its premiere in Atlantic City.Soon after the play closed, Goddard was introduced to Edgar James, president of the Southern Lumber Company, located in Asheville, North Carolina, by Charles Goddard. Aged 17, considerably younger than James, she married him on June 28, 1927, in Rye, New York. It was a short marriage, and Goddard was granted a divorce in Reno, Nevada, in 1929, receiving a divorce settlement of $375,000.
Movies & TV shows
This Is Bob Hope...
During his career, Bob Hope was the only performer to achieve top-rated success in every form of mass entertainment. American Masters explores the entertainer’s life through his personal archives and ...
The Great Dictator: The Clown Turns Prophet
In this visual essay, Charles Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance, author of "Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema", draws upon a wealth of photography as well as a wide range of interviews (Paulette Goddard, S...
That's Entertainment! III
Some of MGM'S musical stars review the studios history of musicals. From The Hollywood Revue of 1929 to Brigadoon, from the first musical talkies to Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain.
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage
Out-takes (mostly from Warner Bros.), promotional shorts, movie premieres, public service pleas, wardrobe tests, documentary material, and archival footage make up this star-studded voyeuristic look a...
1 TV show
Adventures in Paradise
Adventures in Paradise is an American television series created by James Michener which ran on ABC from 1959 until 1962, starring Gardner McKay as Adam Troy, the captain of the schooner Tiki III, whic...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
The first American television series of Sherlock Holmes adventures aired in syndication in the fall of 1954. The 39 half-hour mostly original stories were produced by Sheldon Reynolds and filmed in Fr...
The Stranger Came Home
Someone knocked out a man and left him for dead during a fishing trip in Portugal. That someone is either his fetching wife, or two business partners, all sporting guilty faces after his unexpected re...
Charge of the Lancers
The downward spiral of the quality of films Paulette Goddard appeared in in the 1950's would cause a gravitational blackout to anyone viewing them in a single day, but with some of the all-time great ...
A Los Angeles police captain (Edward G. Robinson) ties the case of a slain policeman to a bank robbery, all in a day.
Anthology of short tales about different women who purchase copies of the same Paris gown.
Sins of Jezebel
Biblical costume drama starring Paulette Goddard as the beautiful pagan Jezebel, corruptor of men.
The story of a fear-inspiring revolutionary general who develops a passion for the daughter of a wealthy villager. It's hate at first sight so far as the girl is concerned, but this will soon change.
A prostitute is thrown out of her house by her alcoholic father, and her scheming brother-in-law tries to devise a plan to marry her off and make some money in the process.
Bride of Vengeance
A female Borgia is sent out to live up to the family name by killing someone, but falls in love with her intended victim. [IMDB]
2 Movies · 1 TV show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was ...
On Our Merry Way
Oliver Pease gets a dose of courage from his wife Martha and tricks the editor of the paper (where he writes lost pet notices) into assigning him the day's roving question. Martha suggests, "Has a lit...
As part of a bet, a compulsive gambler agrees to marry the winner, a professional gambler. Before he can "collect," she skips town. The gambler hires a private detective to track her down so he can co...
Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, exchange identities, and cause comic con...
An Ideal Husband
A prominent politician is preparing to expose a financial scandal. But then a woman who has invested heavily in the shady venture threatens to uncover a damaging secret in the politician's past if he ...
Suddenly It's Spring
A WAC officer returns from the war to find her husband wants a divorce.
England, 1763. After being convicted of a crime, the young and beautiful Abigail Hale agrees, to escape the gallows, to serve fourteen years as a slave in the colony of Virginia, whose inhabitants beg...
The Diary of a Chambermaid
Celestine, the chamber-maid, has a new job in the country, at the Lanlaires. She has decided to use her beauty to seduce a wealthy man, but Mr. Lanlaire is not a right choice: the house is firmly cont...
The life of Pickpocket Kitty changes when Thomas Gainsborough paints her portrait. Sir Hugh Marcy decided to use the artwork for his benefit after gaining the attention of the artwork.
I Love a Soldier
During World War II in San Francisco, Eve Morgan and her single girlfriends spend their days welding ships and their nights dancing with soldiers and sailors shipping out that night. Eve is determined...
The staff of a record factory drown their sorrows at Duffy's Tavern, while the company owner faces threats of bankruptcy.
Standing Room Only
During WWII, an executive and his secretary arrive in Washington, DC on business but, because of the housing shortage, are unable to find hotel rooms. In desperation, they pretend to be married and hi...
So Proudly We Hail
A group of people in the United States. In December 1941, army nurses leave San Francisco for a tour of duty in Hawaii. The attack on Pearl Harbor makes a difference in their lives. The nurses are on ...
The Crystal Ball
A young woman pretends to be a fortune teller in order to find romance.
Reap the Wild Wind
The Florida Keys in 1840, where the implacable hurricanes of the Caribbean scream, where the salvagers of Key West, like the intrepid and beautiful Loxi Claiborne and her crew, reap, aboard frail scho...
Star Spangled Rhythm
Pop, a security guard at Paramount has told his son that he's the head of the studio. When his son arrives in Hollywood on shore leave with his buddies, Pop enlists the aid of the studio's dizzy switc...
The Lady Has Plans
Some dastardly criminals have stolen some top secret plans and tattoo them on the back of a woman so she can sell them to the highest bidder in Lisbon. This woman plans to take the place of a 'Sidney ...
The Forest Rangers
Ranger Don Stuart fights a forest fire with timber boss friend Tana 'Butch' Mason, and finds evidence of arson. He suspects Twig Dawson but can't prove it. Butch loves Don but he, poor fool, won't not...
Hold Back the Dawn
Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who's done lik...
Nothing But the Truth
Gwen is attempting to double her investment in the family firm by teaming up with her uncle's employee, Steve Bennett. Her uncle T.T would be happy if she reached the $20,000 mark. There will be a mat...
Pot o' Gold
Jimmy, the owner of a failed music shop, goes to work with his uncle, the owner of a food factory. Before he gets there, he befriends an Irish family who happens to be his uncle's worst enemy because ...
Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are rival trumpeters with the Perennials, a college band, and both men are still attending college by failing their exams seven years in a row. In the midst of a performa...
North West Mounted Police
"Aren't that a contradiction in terms?", another character asks the Texas Ranger, who traveled to Canada in the 1880s in search of Jacques Corbeau, who was wanted for murder. He wanders into the midst...
The Great Dictator
The poor Jewish barber is trying to avoid persecution from the Dictator, while the Dictator tries to expand his empire.
The Ghost Breakers
After intrepid working girl Mary Carter becomes the new owner of a reputedly haunted mansion located on Black Island near the Cuban coast, a stranger phones and warns her to stay away from the castle....
A happily married woman allows her catty friends to talk her into a divorce when her husband strays.
The Cat and the Canary
Cyrus Norman's will will be read out to his six relatives, including Joyce Norman and Wally Campbell. Six people meet at Norman's New Orleans Gothic mansion, organized by Crosby. Someone will be dead ...
Aspiring actress Louise Muban attends the prestigious Paris School of Drama during the day and assembles gas meters at night.
The Young in Heart
The Carletons like to find new suckers and make a living as card sharps. They were asked to leave Monte Carlo when their latest scam went wrong. They meet Miss Fortune, a very wealthy elderly lady, at...
"In the Gay Nineties New York had grown up into bustles and balloon Sleeves ... but The Bowery had grown younger, louder and more rowdy until it was known as the 'Livest Mile on the face of the globe'...
A kind-hearted young man is thrown out of his corrupt home town of West Rome, Oklahoma. He falls asleep and dreams that he is back in the days of olden Rome, where he gets mixed up with court intrigue...
All at Sea
"All at Sea" is a short documentary of Cooke, Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard all on Chaplin's yacht on an afternoon sail.
The girls and their pet monkey create havoc on board a train carrying a traveling Broadway troupe.
The Kid from Spain
Eddie and his Mexican friend Ricardo are expelled from college after Ricardo put Eddie in the girl's dormitory when he was drunk. Per chance Eddie gets mixed up in a bank robbery and is forced to driv...
Pack Up Your Troubles
The story begins in 1917 with Stan and Ollie being drafted into the U.S. The army is going to fight in World War I. While in the Army, the pair befriend a man named Eddie Smith, who was killed during ...
Although terrified of girls, Charley must take a job teaching at a girls school.
A prosecutor quits his job and becomes a defense attorney when he finds out that a man he got convicted and executed was actually innocent.
The Girl Habit
Ladies of the Big House
A woman (Sylvia Sidney) tries to save her husband (Gene Raymond) from the electric chair after both are sent to prison for a murder they didn't commit.
Musical comedy antics in an art deco bakery (motto: "Glorifying the American Doughnut") with Eddie Cantor as an assistant to a phoney psychic, who is mistaken for an efficiency expert and placed in ch...
The Kid was cast as Gary Cooper's racketeers. He chose a life of crime because he was in love with the daughter of a mob henchman. The Kid refused to give up the rackets, even after being railroaded i...
Western sheriff Bob Wells is preparing to marry Sally Morgan; she loves part-Indian Wanenis, whose race is an obstacle. Sally flees the wedding with hypochondriac Henry Williams, who thinks he's just ...
The story involves Stan and Ollie as two musicians attempting to travel by train to Pottsville. It was only their second sound film, but a silent version was also made for cinemas at the time that wer...
The Locked Door
On her first anniversary, Ann Reagan discovers that her sister-in-law is involved with a shady character that she used to be intimate with, and decides to intervene.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paulette_Goddard", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.