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Bennett in Rockabye (1932)
Constance Campbell Bennett
October 22, 1904
New York City, U.S.
|Died||July 24, 1965 60) (aged|
Fort Dix, New Jersey, U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
Chester Hirst Moorhead
(m. 1921; annul. 1923)
Philip Morgan Plant
(m. 1925;div. 1929)
(m. 1931;div. 1940)
(m. 1941;div. 1946)
John Theron Coulter
|Parent(s)|| Richard Bennett |
|Relatives|| Lewis Morrison (maternal grandfather)|
Barbara Bennett (sister)
Joan Bennett (sister)
Morton Downey Jr. (nephew)
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.
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.
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, 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.[ citation needed ] 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. [ citation needed ]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.
On June 15, 1921, Bennett eloped with Chester Hirst Moorehead of Chicago, a student at the University of Virginiawho 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bennett supported Barry Goldwater in the 1964 United States presidential election.
She had a major supporting role in The Unsuspected (1947), in which she played Jane Moynihan, the program director who helps prove that radio host Victor Grandison (Claude Rains) is guilty of murder. In 1957–1958, she toured the United States in the title role of Auntie Mame.and in 1945-1946, she hosted The Constance Bennett Show on ABC Radio. In the 1950s, As Young as You Feel , found her playing opposite a young Marilyn Monroe, and she played herself in a cameo on "It Should Happen to You" in 1957. Bennett made her final screen appearance in the 1965 film Madame X (released posthumously in 1966), as the blackmailing mother-in-law.
On July 25, 1965, shortly after filming of Madame X was completed, Bennett collapsed and died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 60. In recognition of her military contributions, and as the wife of John Theron Coulter, who had achieved the rank of brigadier general, she was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Coulter died in 1995 and was buried with her.
Bennett has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the film industry. Her star is located at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard,a short distance from the star of her sister, Joan.
|1916||The Valley of Decision||Unborn soul||Lost|
|1922||Reckless Youth||Chorus Girl|
|1922||What's Wrong with the Women?||Elise Bascom||Lost|
|1924||Into the Net||Madge Clayton, his sister||Lost|
|1925||The Goose Hangs High||Lois Ingals||Lost|
|1925||Code of the West||Georgie May||Lost|
|1925||My Son||Betty Smith||Lost|
|1925||My Wife and I||Aileen Alton||Lost|
|1925||The Goose Woman||Hazel Woods|
|1925||Wandering Fires||Guerda Anthony|
|1925||Sally, Irene and Mary||Sally|
|1925||The Pinch Hitter||Abby Nettleton||Lost|
|1926||Married ?||Marcia Livingston|
|1929||Rich People||Connie Hayden|
|1929||This Thing Called Love||Ann Marvin||Lost|
|1930||Son of the Gods||Allana|
|1930||Three Faces East||Frances Hawtree / Z-1|
|1930||Common Clay||Ellen Neal|
|1930||Sin Takes a Holiday||Sylvia Brenner|
|1931||The Easiest Way||Laura Murdock|
|1931||Born to Love||Doris Kendall|
|1931||The Common Law||Valerie West|
|1932||Screen Snapshots||Herself||Short Subject|
|1932||Lady with a Past||Venice Muir|
|1932||What Price Hollywood?||Mary Evans|
|1932||Two Against the World||Miss Adele 'Dell' Hamilton|
|1933||Our Betters||Lady Pearl Grayston|
|1933||Bed of Roses||Lorry Evans|
|1933||After Tonight||Carla Vanirska, aka K-14 and Karen Schöntag|
|1934||Moulin Rouge||Helen Hall / Raquel|
|1934||The Affairs of Cellini||Duchess of Florence|
|1935||After Office Hours||Sharon Norwood|
|1935||Starlit Days at the Lido||Herself||Short subject|
|1936||Everything Is Thunder||Anna von Stucknadel|
|1936||Ladies in Love||Yoli Haydn|
|1937||Daily Beauty Rituals||Herself||Short subject|
|1938||Merrily We Live||Jerry Kilbourne|
|1938||Service de Luxe||Helen Murphy|
|1938||Topper Takes a Trip||Marion Kerby|
|1939||Tail Spin||Gerry Lester|
|1940||Escape to Glory||Christine Blaine|
|1941||Law of the Tropics||Joan Madison|
|1941||Picture People No. 2: Hollywood Sports||Herself||Short subject|
|1941||Two-Faced Woman||Griselda Vaughn|
|1942||Wild Bill Hickok Rides||Belle Andrews|
|1942||Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 5||Herself||Short subject|
|1942||Sin Town||Kye Allen|
|1942||Madame Spy||Joan Bannister|
|1945||Paris Underground||Kitty de Mornay||Also produced|
|1946||Centennial Summer||Zenia Lascalles|
|1947||The Unsuspected||Jane Moynihan|
|1948||Smart Woman||Paula Rogers|
|1948||Angel on the Amazon||Dr. Karen Lawrence|
|1951||As Young as You Feel||Lucille McKinley|
|1954||It Should Happen To You||Guest Panelist|
|1966||Madame X||Estelle||Released posthumously|
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Nancy Kelly was an American actress in film, theater and television. A child actress and model, she was a repertory cast member of CBS Radio's The March of Time and appeared in several films in the late 1920s. She became a leading lady upon returning to the screen in the late 1930s, while still in her teens, and made two dozen movies between 1938 and 1946, including portraying Tyrone Power's love interest in the classic Jesse James (1939), which also featured Henry Fonda, and playing opposite Spencer Tracy in Stanley and Livingstone later that same year. After turning to the stage in the late 1940s, she had her greatest success in a character role, the distraught mother in The Bad Seed, receiving a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the 1955 stage production and an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for the 1956 film adaptation, her last film role. Kelly then worked regularly in television until 1963, then took over the role of Martha in the original Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for several months. She returned to television for a handful of appearances in the mid-1970s.
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Joan Geraldine Bennett was an American stage, film, and television actress. She came from a show-business family, one of three acting sisters. Beginning her career on the stage, Bennett appeared in more than 70 films from the era of silent movies, well into the sound era. She is best remembered for her film noir femme fatale roles in director Fritz Lang's movies, including Man Hunt (1941), The Woman in the Window (1944), and Scarlet Street (1945), and for her television role as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in the gothic 1960’s soap opera Dark Shadows.
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Constance Bennett Calls on You, talk.
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