Classic Film Club



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


It Happened One Night

  • Oscar iconActressOscar icon
It Happened One Night
  • It Happened One Night
  • 1934

Private Worlds

  • Oscar iconActress
Private Worlds
  • Private Worlds
  • 1935

Since You Went Away

  • Oscar iconActress
Since You Went Away
  • Since You Went Away
  • 1944

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences


The Two Mrs. Grenvilles

  • Emmy iconBest Performance
  • by an Actress
  • in a Supporting
  • Role in a
  • Series, Mini-Series
  • or Motion Picture
  • Made for TV
The Two Mrs. Grenvilles
  • The Two Mrs. Grenvilles
  • 1987
  • NBC


Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert (1934)
  • © Paramount Pictures
  • (Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra, 1934)



Claudette Colbert was born Émilie Chauchoin in Saint-Mandé, France, in 1903.   Her father was a banker.   Her family emigrated to the United States when she was three years old and settled in New York City.

Colbert planned a career in fashion design and attended the Art Students League of New York.   However, she made her Broadway debut in 1923, at the age of 20, and decided instead to pursue a stage career.   Colbert appeared in 19 Broadway productions through 1985, including starring roles in The Marriage-Go-Round (1958-1960), a role for which she received a Dramatic Actress Tony Award nomination, and The Kingfisher (1978-1979).

Colbert made her film debut in a starring role for Robert Kane Productions in 1927, at the age of 24.   She signed a contract with Paramount Pictures, which was intent on making her one of their top stars, in 1928.

Colbert won the Academy Award for Actress for her role in It Happened One Night (1934).   Convinced she would never win, Colbert was not planning on attending the Oscar ceremony and had to be dragged off of an eastbound train when it was announced she had won.   She was nominated twice more for an Actress Oscar for Private Worlds (1935) and Since You Went Away (1944).   After more than 60 features, her last film appearance was in 1961.

By the 1950s, Colbert’s star was diminishing and she began to appear in television roles.   She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Special for The Two Mrs. Grenvilles in 1988.   It was her last role.

Colbert married the director Norman Foster in 1928.   She did not live with him and kept the marriage a secret for many years.   They were discreetly divorced in Mexico in 1935.   Four months after her divorce, Colbert married Joel Pressman, a Los Angeles surgeon.   He passed away in 1968.

Colbert died in Speightstown, Barbados, in 1996.   She was 92 years old.

Other Pictures

Claudette Colbert (1943)



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