Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Chaplin’
“Mr. Chaplin asked me if I would like to act in pictures with him. I laughed at the idea, but agreed to try it. I guess he took me because I had nothing to unlearn and he could teach me in his own way. I want to tell you that I suffered untold agonies. Eyes seemed to be everywhere. I was simply frightened to death. But he had unlimited patience in directing me and teaching me.” ~ Edna Purviance
Edna Purviance was an American actress during the silent movie era. She was the leading lady in many of Charlie Chaplin’s early films and in a span of eight years, she appeared in over thirty films with him. She was born October 21, 1895 in Paradise Valley, Nevada to Louis and Madison Gates Purviance. When she was three, the family moved to Lovelock, Nevada, where they assumed ownership of a hotel property. Her parents divorced in 1902, and her mother later married Robert Nurnberger, a German plumber. As a child Purviance was a talented pianist. She left her home in Lovelock in 1913 and attended business college in San Francisco. In 1915 Edna Purviance was working as a secretary in San Francisco, when Chaplin was working on his second film with Essanay Studios in Niles, California. Chaplin was looking for a leading lady for “A Night Out” (1915) when one of his associates noticed Purviance at a Tate’s Café in San Francisco and thought she should be cast in the role. Chaplin arranged a meeting with her and although he was concerned that she might be too serious for comedic roles, she won the job. Purviance went on to appear in 33 of Chaplin’s productions, including “The Tramp” (1915), “The Immigrant” (1917), “Easy Street” (1917), “The Idle Class” (1921) and the 1921 classic “The Kid”. Her last film with him, “A Woman of Paris” (1923), was also her first lead role. Purviance went on to appear in two more films, “The Sea Gull”, which Chaplin never released, and “Education de Prince”, a French film released in 1927, just before she retired as an actress. Purviance has been credited as an extra in Chaplin’s final two American movies, “Monsieur Verdoux” (1947) and “Limelight” (1952).
Edna Perviance was romantically involved with Chaplin starting in 1915 but the relationship ended abruptly after he was forced into a shotgun wedding with teenager Mildred Harris in 1918. Nevertheless, Perviance continued to be his leading lady, with her sweet girlish on-screen demeanor being a great counterbalance to his rambunctious antics. It has been speculated by many that if they had married, Chaplin could have been spared much of the domestic troubles and scandals that later plagued him in his life. After Purviance retired in 1926, Chaplin continued to keep her on his payroll for decades, showing her much more concern and consideration than he did to any of his former wives.
Edna Purviance was married once, to John P. Squire in 1938. They remained married until his death in 1945.
Purviance died of throat cancer on January 11, 1958 at the age of 62 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California and was interred at Grand View Memorial Park, Glendale, California, USA, in the West Mausoleum.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“Movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“The glamour of it all! New York! America!” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I have no further use for America. I wouldn’t go back there if Jesus Christ was President.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I lived in Hollywood long enough to learn to play tennis and become a star, but I never felt it was my home.” ~ Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard was an American film and theatre actress. A former child fashion model, she appeared in several Broadway productions as a Ziegfeld Girl, and she became a major star of the Paramount Studio in the 1940s. She was married to several notable men, including Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich Maria Remarque.
Goddard was born Marion Pauline Levy on June 3, 1910 in Whitestone Landing, Queens, Long Island. She was the only child of Joseph Russell Levy and Alta Mae Goddard. Her parents divorced while she was young, and she was raised by her mother. Her father virtually vanished from her life, only to resurface later in the late 1930s after she became a star. At first, their newfound relationship seemed genial and they attended film premières together, but later he sued her over a magazine article in which she purportedly claimed he abandoned her when she was young. They were never to reconcile. She remained very close to her mother, however, as both had struggled through those early years, with her great uncle, Charles Goddard (her grandfather’s brother) lending a hand. Charles Goddard helped his great niece find jobs as a fashion model, and with the Ziegfeld Follies as one of the heavily decorated Ziegfeld Girls from 1924 to 1927. Her stage debut was in the Ziegfeld revue “No Foolin” in 1926. The next year she made her stage acting debut in “The Unconquerable Male”. She also changed her first name to Paulette and took her mother’s maiden name (which also happened to be her favorite great uncle Charles’ last name) as her own last name.
In 1927 she married Edgar James, an older, wealthy businessman, lumber tycoon and moved to North Carolina. They divorced and Goddard returned to Hollywood in 1929. Upon her return to Hollywood, with her mother, Goddard appeared in small roles in “The Girl Habit” (1931) and “The Mouthpiece” (1932). She signed a contract with Hal Roach Studios, and appeared in films such as “The Kid from Spain” (1932) and Laurel and Hardy’s “Pack Up Your Troubles” (1932). Goddard then appeared in a few films for Samuel Goldwyn Productions. Along with such actresses as Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, and Ann Sothern, Goddard became a “Goldwyn Girl” and was featured in films such as “Roman Scandals” (1933) and “Kid Millions” (1934).
In 1932, she met Charlie Chaplin and he bought out her contract from Roach. She lived with Chaplin in his Beverly Hills home. Their marital status was a source of controversy and speculation. During most of their time together, both refused to comment on the matter. Chaplin maintained that they were married in China in 1936, but to private associates and family, he claimed they were never legally married, except in common law. Chaplin and Goddard starred together in “Modern Times” (1936) which was a great success.
After the success of “Modern Times” Goddard signed a contract with David O. Selznick and appeared with Janet Gaynor in the comedy “The Young in Heart” (1938) before Selznick loaned her to MGM to appear in two films. The second of these, “The Women” (1939), was a huge success. With an all-female cast headed by Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell, Goddard played the supporting role of Miriam Aarons. Selznick was so impressed with Goddard’s work that he considered her for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind” and gave her a screen test. The O’Hara role came down to Goddard and Vivien Leigh, but Leigh was chosen.
After losing the role of Scarlett O’Hara Goddard signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and her next film was “The Cat and the Canary” (1939) starring opposite Bob Hope and she then starred as Fred Astaire’s leading lady in the musical “Second Chorus” (1940), where she met Burgess Meredith. She starred again with Chaplin 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.
One of Goddard’s best-remembered film appearances was in the variety musical “Star Spangled Rhythm” (1943) in which she sang a comic number, “A Sweater, a Sarong, and a Peekaboo Bang”, with fellow sex symbols Dorothy Lamour and Veronica Lake. She received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in “So Proudly We Hail” (1943). She next starred in what was her most successful film “Kitty” (1945), in which she played the title role. She then appeared in “In The Diary of a Chambermaid” (1946), starring opposite her then husband Burgess Meredith (they had married in 1944). Cecil B. DeMille next cast her in three blockbusters: “Northwest Mounted Police” (1940), “Reap the Wild Wind” (1942), and “Unconquered” (1947). For whatever reason, Goddard’s career then began to fade in the late 40’s and Paramount dropped her in 1949. She had roles in a few more movies but never again regained the star status she enjoyed earlier in her career.
Goddard and Burgess Meredith divorced in 1949. In 1958 she married Erich Maria Remarque, author of, among other best-sellers, “All Quiet on the Western Front”. They remained married until his death in 1970, and she inherited much of his money and several important properties across Europe including a wealth of contemporary art, which augmented her own long-standing collection. During this period, her talent at accumulating wealth became a byword amongst the old Hollywood elite. During the 1980s she became a fairly well known and highly visible socialite in New York City society, appearing, covered with jewels, at many high-profile cultural functions with several well-known men including Andy Warhol, with whom she sustained a friendship with for many years until his unexpected death in 1987.
Paulette Goddard died April 23, 1990 in Ronco sopra Ascona, Switzerland after a short illness (reportedly emphysema) several months before her 80th birthday. She is buried in Ronco cemetery, next to her late husband Erich Maria Remarque and her mother Alta Mae.
“You live in the present and you eliminate things that don’t matter. You don’t carry the burden of the past. I’m not impressed by the past very much. The past bores me, to tell you the truth; it really bores me. I don’t remember many movies and certainly not my own.” ~ Paulette Goddard