Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1908-10-06
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Carole Lombard (born Jane Alice Peters; October 6, 1908 – January 16, 1942) was an American actress, particularly noted for her energetic, often off-beat roles in screwball comedies. She was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s and in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema. Lombard was born into a wealthy family in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but was raised in Los Angeles by her single mother. At 12, she was recruited by director Allan Dwan and made her screen debut in A Perfect Crime (1921). Eager to become an actress, she signed a contract with the Fox Film Corporation at age 16, but mainly played bit parts. She was dropped by Fox just before her 18th birthday after a shattered windshield from a car accident left a scar on her face. Lombard appeared in fifteen short comedies for Mack Sennett between 1927 and 1929, and then began appearing in feature films such as High Voltage (1929) and The Racketeer (1929). After a successful appearance in The Arizona Kid (1930), she was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures. Paramount quickly began casting Lombard as a leading lady, primarily in drama films. Her profile increased when she married William Powell in 1931, but the couple divorced amicably after two years. A turning point in Lombard's career came when she starred in Howard Hawks's pioneering screwball comedy Twentieth Century (1934). The actress found her niche in this genre, and continued to appear in films such as Hands Across the Table (1935) (forming a popular partnership with Fred MacMurray), My Man Godfrey (1936), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Nothing Sacred (1937). At this time, Lombard married "The King of Hollywood", Clark Gable, and the supercouple gained much attention from the media. Keen to win an Oscar, Lombard began to move towards more serious roles at the end of the decade. Unsuccessful in this aim, she returned to comedy in Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be (1942), her final film role. Lombard's career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 aboard TWA Flight 3, which crashed on Mount Potosi, Nevada, while returning from a war bond tour. Today, she is remembered as one of the definitive actresses of the screwball comedy genre and American comedy, and as an icon of American cinema.
Childhood, family and education. Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908 at 704 Rockhill Street. Christened with the name Jane Alice Peters, she was the third child and only daughter of Frederick Christian Peters (1875–1935) and Elizabeth Jayne "Bessie" (Knight) Peters (1876–1942). Her two older brothers, to each of whom she was close, both growing up and in adulthood, were Frederick Charles (1902–1979) and John Stuart (1906–1956). Lombard's parents both descended from wealthy families and her early years were lived in comfort, with the biographer Robert Matzen calling it her "silver spoon period". The marriage between her parents was strained, however, and in October 1914, her mother took the children and moved to Los Angeles. Although the couple did not divorce, the separation was permanent. Her father's continued financial support allowed the family to live without worry, if not with the same affluence they had enjoyed in Indiana, and they settled into an apartment near Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles. Described by her biographer Wes Gehring as "a free-spirited tomboy", the young Lombard was passionately involved in sports and enjoyed watching movies. At Virgil Junior High School, she participated in tennis, volleyball, and swimming, and won trophies for her achievements in athletics. At the age of 12, this hobby unexpectedly landed Lombard her first screen role. While playing baseball with friends, she caught the attention of the film director Allan Dwan, who later recalled seeing "a cute-looking little tomboy ... out there knocking the hell out of the other kids, playing better baseball than they were. And I needed someone of her type for this picture." With the encouragement of her mother, Lombard happily took a small role in the melodrama A Perfect Crime (1921). She was on set for two days, playing the sister of Monte Blue. Dwan later commented, "She ate it up".
Movies & TV Series
They Knew What They Wanted
When visiting San Francisco, Tony Patucci, an ageing winegrower from the Napa Valley, sees waitress Amy Peters and falls in love. Returning home, he persuades his foreman Joe, an incorrigible womanize...
Vigil in the Night
A good nurse ruins her career by covering up for her sister's careless mistake.
Breakdowns of 1938
This was one of the annual "blooper" reels screened by the Warners Club, an organization of Warners actors, crew and executives. It was meant to poke fun at the flubs and bloopers that occurred ont th...
Fools for Scandal
Carole Lombard is a Hollywood star who goes to Paris to meet a penniless nobleman who follows her to London.
Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest, and therefore unsuccessful lawyer. Helen starts a new job, and when her employer is found dead, ...
When a small-town girl is diagnosed with a rare, deadly disease, an ambitious newspaper man turns her into a national heroine.
Swing High, Swing Low
In Panama, Maggie King meets soldier Skid Johnson on his last day in the army and reluctantly agrees to a date to celebrate. The two become involved in a nightclub brawl which causes Maggie to miss he...
The Princess Comes Across
A Swedish princess boards an ocean liner in Europe en route to an acting career in America, and finds herself getting inconveniently attached to a bandleader returning home. To complicate matters, a b...
Love Before Breakfast
Scott is a very rich businessman who hangs out with a snooty, silly Countess, but has the hots for Kay who is already engaged to Bill. Scott pursues Kay like crazy, going so far as to buy Bill's oil c...
My Man Godfrey
Fifth Avenue socialite Irene Bullock needs a "forgotten man" to win a scavenger hunt, and no one is more forgotten than Godfrey Park, who resides in a dump by the East River. Irene hires Godfrey as a ...
The Gay Bride
Mary wants to marriy a gangster because that is where the money is. Unfortunately, the life expectancy and finances of a gangster are unstable.
Lady by Choice
To improve her image, a fan dancer "adopts" an old woman to be her mother.
Now and Forever
Young freewheeling wanderer Jerry Day and his beautiful wife Toni are at odds over their lifestyle. Jerry can't accept responsibility but Toni yearns for a family and a settled life. Then the Days 're...
Oscar Jaffe is a successful Broadway director, Lily Garland his biggest star. When she leaves his direction, his success goes with her. When he recognizes her aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, the...
The complicated relationship between an ambitious, ruthless nightclub dancer and the woman he loves.
We're Not Dressing
Beautiful high society type Doris Worthington is entertaining guests on her yacht in the Pacific when it hits a reef and sinks. She makes her way to an island with the help of singing sailor Stephen J...
A high living society playboy marries a nightclub singer, and she soon realizes that, though they're genuinely in love, the husband's endless partying completely dominates and is destroying their marr...
After her brother's death, Roma Courtney becomes the heiress to his fortune. When fake psychic Paul Bavian claims to have a message from Roma's dead brother, he coaxes Roma into participating in a séa...
The Eagle and the Hawk
The pilots of a Royal Air Force squadron in World War I face not only physical but mental dangers in their struggle to survive while fighting the enemy.
Gong beaters turn on a ruthless jungle trader and the well-dressed blonde who travels with him.
From Hell to Heaven
The various residents and occupants of a resort hotel await the outcome of a horse race at a nearby track, as it will affect each of their lives in different ways.
Given a second chance after her arrest for prostitution, Mae decides to go straight. Mae is soon befriended by kindly cab driver Jimmy Doyle who gets her work at a diner, where she meets Gert, another...
No One Man
When the boyfriend of a rich, bored socialite dies from a weak heart, she finds herself attracted to the doctor who treated him, a hard-working idealist decidedly different from the usual spoiled soci...
Sinners in the Sun
A New York fashion model finds herself being pursued by a poor but honest garage mechanic and a rich philanderer.
No More Orchids
Despite loving another man, a young woman is talked into marrying a wealthy and boorish prince in order to help her financially-strapped father.
No Man of Her Own
Babe Stewart, a card cheat who has to go on the lam to avoid a pesky cop, meets a lonely, but slightly wild, librarian, Connie Randall, while he is hiding out. The two get married after Connie wins a ...
It Pays to Advertise
To prove his thesis that any product--even one that doesn't exist--can be merchandized if it is advertised properly, a young man gets together with his father's savvy secretary to market a non-existen...
Up Pops the Devil
The marriage of an advertising man is jeopardized when he gets a chance to sell a novel he's been working on and quits his job to concentrate on writing. In order to support the family, the wife is fo...
Man of the World
A young American girl visits Paris accompanied by her fiancee and her wealthy uncle. There she meets and is romanced by a worldly novelist; what she doesn't know is that he is a blackmailer who is usi...
I Take This Woman
A wealthy New York socialite falls for and marries a cowboy while out West. Her father disinherits her, and after trying to make a go of it as a cowboy's wife, they agree to divorce and she returns ba...
A society gigolo goes after a rich mother and her daughter, but tries to find true happiness with his girlfriend, who is neither rich nor in "society."
Safety in Numbers
Before handing over a large inheritance, a guardian hires three chorus girls to educate his charge about the "underside" of big-city life.
The Arizona Kid
The Arizona Kid (Warner Baxter) carries out his mission as a Robin Hood-type bandit while posing as a wealthy and carefree miner. He falls for an eastern girl, Virginia Hoyt (Carole Lombard), accompan...
Fast and Loose
A wealthy family is thrown into turmoil when the daughter falls for the family chauffeur and the son begins to keep company with a chorus girl.
A busload of passengers gets stranded in a snowstorm and take refuge in an abandoned church, where they run into a mysterious man who may be on the run from the law.
This marriage is the second for both Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius McNitt. He is panty-whipped by his social climbing second wife. She has recruited Clifford Figfield to stage and direct a charity pageant,...
A reporter's marriage is jeopardized by his drinking and he finds himself accused of a murder he didn't commit.
This late-20s gangster movie features Carole Lombard as a young gal who agrees to marry a smooth-talking gangster in exchange for the mob man's pledge to arrange a big-time concert appearance for her ...
Smith's Army Life
19th release in 'The Smith Family' series of 2-reel comedies.
Run, Girl, Run
A women's track team is preparing for a big meet against a rival college, but the coach is having trouble getting her team ready. Norma, the team's star, is more interested in slipping out to meet her...
His Unlucky Night
Friends Billy Trotter and Homer Brown are both traveling salesmen who meet up at a hotel on their travels. Since they last saw each other, Billy has gotten married. Homer is lamenting still being sing...
The Campus Vamp
Love triangle in a campus with a blonde girl that really seems to not consider the "other" girl as an obstacle. Who will make it? And actually who cares when parties, sport games and lots of fun are a...