Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965), was an American stage, film, radio and television actress. She was a major Hollywood star during the 1920s and 1930s and for a time during the early 1930s, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, as well as one of the most popular. Bennett frequently played society women, focusing on melodramas in the early 1930s and then taking more comedic roles in the late 1930s and 1940s. She is best known today for her leading roles in What Price Hollywood? (1932), Bed of Roses (1933), Topper (1937), Topper Takes a Trip (1938), and had a prominent supporting role in Greta Garbo's last film, Two-Faced Woman (1941).She was the daughter of stage and silent film star Richard Bennett, and the older sister of actress Joan Bennett.
After some time spent in a convent, Bennett went into the family business. Independent, cultured, ironic and outspoken, Constance, the first Bennett sister to enter motion pictures, appeared in New York-produced silent movies before a meeting with Samuel Goldwyn led to her Hollywood debut in Cytherea (1924). She abandoned a burgeoning career in silents for marriage to Philip Plant in 1925, but resumed her film career after their divorce, with the advent of talking pictures (1929), and with her delicate blonde features and glamorous fashion style, she quickly became a popular film star. In the early 1930s, Bennett was frequently among the top actresses named in audience popularity and box-office polls. For a short time, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. So successful was Bennett during this time, that RKO, Bennett's home studio at the time, controlled the careers of actresses Ann Harding and Helen Twelvetrees in a similar manner, hoping to duplicate Bennett's success.In 1931, a short-lived contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer earned her $300,000 for two movies which included The Easiest Way and made her one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood. Warner Brothers paid her the all-time high salary of $30,000 a week for Bought! in 1931. Richard Bennett, her father, was also cast in this film. The next year she moved to RKO, where she acted in What Price Hollywood? (1932), directed by George Cukor, an ironic and at the same time tragic behind-the-scenes looks at the old Hollywood studio system, in which she portrayed waitress Mary Evans, who becomes a movie star. Lowell Sherman co-starred as the film director who discovers her, and Neil Hamilton as the wealthy playboy she marries. It was a critical and box office hit at the time of its release. The film Morning Glory had been written with Bennett in mind for the lead role, but producer Pandro S. Berman gave the role to Katharine Hepburn, who won an Academy Award for her performance. Bennett next showed her versatility in the likes of Our Betters (1933), writer/director Gregory La Cava's Bed of Roses (1933) with Pert Kelton, After Tonight (1933) (co-starring with future husband Gilbert Roland), The Affairs of Cellini (1934), After Office Hours (1935) with Clark Gable, the original Topper (1937, in a career standout as Marian Kerby opposite Cary Grant, a role she repeated in the 1939 sequel, Topper Takes a Trip), the ultimate madcap family comedy Merrily We Live (1938) and Two-Faced Woman (1941, supporting Greta Garbo). By the 1940s, Bennett was working less frequently in film but was in demand in both radio and theatre. She had her own program, Constance Bennett Calls on You, on ABC radio in 1945-1946. Shrewd investments had made her a wealthy woman, and she founded a cosmetics and clothing company.
Bennett was married five times and had three children. Chester Hirst Moorehead. On June 15, 1921, Bennett eloped with Chester Hirst Moorehead of Chicago, a student at the University of Virginia who was the son of oral surgeon, Frederick Moorehead. They were married by a justice of the peace in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bennett was 16 at the time. A New York Times article that reported the elopement noted, "The parents of Miss Bennett were opposed to their marriage at this time solely on account of their youth." The marriage was annulled in 1923. Philip Morgan Plant. Bennett's next serious relationship was with millionaire socialite Philip Morgan Plant. Her parents planned a cruise to Europe, taking Constance with them, to separate the couple. As the ship was preparing to leave port, however, the Bennetts saw Plant and his parents boarding, too. A contemporary newspaper article reported, "Now the little beauty and the heir to all the Plant millions were assured a week of the cosy intimacy which an ocean liner affords." In November 1925, the two eloped and were married in Greenwich, Connecticut, by the same justice of the peace who officiated at Bennett's wedding to Moorehead. They divorced in a French court in 1929.In 1932, Bennett returned from Europe with a three-year-old child, whom she claimed to have adopted and named Peter Bennett Plant (born 1929). In 1942, however, during a battle over a large trust fund established to benefit any descendants of her former husband, Bennett announced that her adopted son actually was her natural child by Plant, born after the divorce and kept hidden to ensure that the child's biological father did not get custody. During the court hearings, the actress told her former mother-in-law and her husband's widow that "if she got to the witness stand she would give a complete account of her life with Plant." The matter was settled out of court. Henri de la Falaise. In 1931, Bennett made headlines when she married one of Gloria Swanson's former husbands, Henri le Bailly, the Marquis de La Coudraye de La Falaise, a French nobleman and film director. She and de la Falaise founded Bennett Pictures Corp. and co-produced two films which were the last filmed in Hollywood in the two-strip Technicolor process, Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) filmed in Bali, and Kilou the Killer Tiger (1936), filmed in Indochina. They were divorced in Reno, Nevada in 1940. Gilbert Roland and John Theron Coulter. Bennett's fourth marriage was to actor Gilbert Roland. They were married in 1941 and had two daughters, Lorinda "Lynda" (b. 1938) and Christina "Gyl" (b. 1941). They divorced in 1946, with Bennett winning custody of their children. Later that year, Bennett married for the fifth and final time to US Air Force Colonel (later Brigadier General) John Theron Coulter. After her marriage, she concentrated her efforts on providing relief entertainment to US troops still stationed in Europe, winning military honors for her services. Bennett and Coulter remained married until her death in 1965.
Constance Bennett was born in New York City, the eldest of three daughters of actress Adrienne Morrison and actor Richard Bennett. Her younger sisters were actresses Joan Bennett and Barbara Bennett. All three girls attended the Chapin School in New York.
Movies & TV shows
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...
A woman married to a wealthy socialite, is compromised by the accidental death of a man who had been romantically pursuing her, and is forced by her mother-in-law to assume a new identity to save the ...
It Should Happen to You
Gladys Glover has just lost her modeling job when she meets filmmaker Pete Sheppard shooting a documentary in Central Park. For Pete it's love at first sight, but Gladys has her mind on other things, ...
As Young as You Feel
Sixty-five-year-old John Hodges must retire from Acme Printing. He later impersonates the president of the parent company and arrives at his old plant on an inspection tour. Acme president McKinley is...
2 TV shows
Robert Montgomery Presents
Robert Montgomery Presents is an American dramatic television series which was produced by NBC from January 30, 1950 until June 24, 1957. The live show had several sponsors during its seven-year run, ...
Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows was a live 90-minute variety show that was broadcast weekly in the United States on NBC, from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Other fe...
1 TV show
Suspense is an American television anthology series that ran on CBS Television from 1949 to 1954. It was adapted from the radio program of the same name which ran from 1942 to 1962. Like many early te...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
Angel on the Amazon
An expedition exploring the Amazon jungle comes across a jungle goddess who lives among the animals and fears none of them--and apparently has found the secret of eternal youth.
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show ran on CBS from 1948 to 1971 and was hosted by Ed Sullivan. In 2002, The Ed Sullivan Show was ranked #15 on TV Guide's 50 greatest TV shows of all time.
A crusading DA falls for a defense attorney with a criminal past.
In 1876 Philadelphia, two sisters (Jeanne Crain and Linda Darnell) vie for the affections of a Frenchman (Cornel Wilde) who's come to town to prepare the French pavilion for the Centennial exposition....
Constance Bennett both produced and starred in the espionager Paris Underground. Bennett and Gracie Fields play, respectively, an American and an English citizen trapped in Paris when the Nazis invade...
Joan Bannister is the wife of globe-trotting war correspondent David Bannister. Returning to the US, Bannister becomes suspicious when Joan begins keeping company with known Nazi functionaries, notabl...
Wild Bill Hickok Rides
The Western hero takes on a ruthless land baron whose henchmen killed his best friend.
Two con artists arrive in a western boom town that they think is ripe for the pickings, only to get swindled themselves.
A woman pretends to be her own twin sister to win back her straying husband.
Law of the Tropics
Jim Conway, who works on a South American rubber plantation, leaves to meet a girl from the United States whom he is to marry. But he receives a telegram from her telling him she has married someone e...
Escape to Glory
The Grand Hotel formula that was so overworked in the 1930s made an encore appearance in 1940's Escape to Glory. The story is given timeliness by placing the characters on a British merchant ship on t...
Trixie is a female pilot looking to win a big race to advance her career. During one race, however, her plane becomes damaged, and she needs help to repair it. She meets a Navy pilot named "Tex" Price...
Merrily We Live
Society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome tramp who shows up at her doorstep and ends up in a chauffeur's uniform. He also catch...
Topper Takes a Trip
Mrs Topper's friend Mrs Parkhurst has convinced Mrs topper, to file for a divorce from Cosmo, due to the strange circumstances of his trip with ghost Marion Kirby. Marion comes back from heaven's door...
Service de Luxe
Glamorous and efficient Helen Murphy runs a service that will provide any type of assistance to wealthy customers, but what she's really looking for is a man who can take care of himself.
Screen Snapshots: Series 16, No. 12
A tour of Hollywood, featuring such star frequented spots as the Vendome, the Lakeside Golf Club, the West Side Tennis Club, the Santa Anita Racetrack, the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove, the Biltm...
Daily Beauty Rituals
Constance Bennett demonstrates her morning skin care and make-up regimen.
Madcap couple George and Marion Kerby are killed in an automobile accident. They return as ghosts to try and liven up the regimented lifestyle of their friend and bank president, Cosmo Topper. When To...
Starlit Days at the Lido
This is a commercial for Hollywood's Lido Lounge and also for MGM contract players. The Lido is a large watering hole and we visit one afternoon with an orchestra playing, all sorts of stars and would...
After Office Hours
Hard-hitting news editor Jim Branch falls for high-society type Sharon Norwood but can't get to first base as he continually makes use of her knowledge of the rich and famous to try to solve the murde...
A singer marries a famous composer, and after a while she gets the itch to go back on the stage. However, her husband won't let her. When she hears that a popular French singer named "Raquel" is comin...
A woman's dubious past proves to be a stumbling block when she becomes engaged to marry.
The Affairs of Cellini
Despite the duke, the 16th-century sculptor woos the Duchess of Florence.
Bed of Roses
A girl from the wrong side of the tracks is torn between true love and a life of sin.
Although the British upper class may be thought our betters in society, they are certainly not our betters, and perhaps are our equals, in morality.
A Russian spy falls for an Austrian captain in this WW1 romance.
Two Against The World
A socialite finds herself involved in a murder trial that is prosecuted by her boyfriend.
Lady with a Past
A wealthy girl hires a male escort to make one of her male friends jealous. She spreads rumours about her character that makes her popular amongst all bachelors in the city including her friend.
A Broadway actress with a problematic past falls hard for the author of her new play.
What Price Hollywood?
Sassy and ambitious waitress Mary Evans amuses and befriends amiable seldom-sober Hollywood film director Max Carey when he stumbles into her restaurant. Max invites Mary to his film premiere and, aft...
Working-class girl dreams of living a better life and forsakes her friends when she has a chance to break into high society.
Born to Love
A pregnant American nurse living in London during the First World War married a wealthy industrialist so she could have a child with him.
The Common Law
They fall in love with an artist when a woman models for them. Is the artist able to overcome her past as another man's mistress?
The Easiest Way
Growing up in a poor working-class family, Laura decided not to marry the boy next door and instead accepted a wealthy older man's invitation to move in with her. After falling in love with young up-a...
Young Ellen Neal gets work as a servant with the wealthy Fullerton family. She falls in love with the Fullerton's handsome young son. But he leaves her with child, and when she attempts to gain recogn...
Sin Takes a Holiday
Dowdy Sylvia accepts her boss' marriage proposal, even though he only asked her to avoid marriage to another woman. As a wealthy wife, Sylvia changes from ugly duckling to uninhibited swan and even co...
Son of the Gods
The popular Caucasian-looking son (Richard Barthelmess) of a wealthy Chinese businessman lives away from his widowed father and passes as white, but experiences prejudice, rejection, insult, and heart...
Three Faces East
The action takes place during the Great War in the home of the First Lord of the Admiralty.
My Wife and I
In a wealthy society family, the mother is forced to sit by and watch while her husband and son both compete for the affections of a pretty young temptress.
Sally, Irene and Mary
The three are showgirls, each with a different approach to life and love.
A mother and her son's lives are upended by the arrival of a wealthy flapper to their small New England fishing village.
The Goose Woman
A famous opera singer lost her voice when her son was born, and has drowned her sorrows in drink. When a murder is committed near her house, she invents a story in order to get herself back in front o...
Code of the West
Code of the West (1925)
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