Paulette Goddard was an American actress whose film career spanned from the 1920s to the 1960s. Born Marion Levy on June 3, 1910, in Whitestone Landing, Queens, New York, she was a child model and appeared in several Ziegfeld productions as well as a short career on Broadway before making her way to Hollywood.
Goddard was known for her beauty, charm, and wit, which helped her rise in the film industry during the 1930s. She received significant attention for her role in Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" (1936), which was a major stepping stone in her career. This performance showcased her talent and set the stage for more substantial parts.
Her relationship with Charlie Chaplin was not only professional but also personal. They were married in secret around 1936, after having started living together several years earlier. They divorced in 1942. Her involvement with Chaplin added to her fame and was also a point of media interest.
Goddard continued to build her career with comedies and dramas. One of her most significant roles was in "The Great Dictator" (1940), again with Chaplin, where she played Hannah, a Jewish ghetto resident. This film was Chaplin's first talkie and a powerful piece of anti-fascist satire, and Goddard's performance was critically acclaimed.
She was also well-regarded for her performance in "The Women" (1939), a film with an all-female cast that included Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. Her role as Miriam Aarons displayed her ability to hold her own among an ensemble of strong actresses.
One of her best-remembered roles is in "So Proudly We Hail!" (1943), where she played a nurse during WWII. This role earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards. Goddard lost to Katina Paxinou for her performance in "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
Goddard's filmography includes many other notable films such as "Kitty" (1945), where she portrayed a young woman who rises from street urchin to aristocracy in 18th-century England, and "Hold Back the Dawn" (1941), which featured her opposite Charles Boyer.
Throughout the 1940s, she remained a popular star, but her career slowed down in the 1950s as she began to appear less frequently in films. However, she worked in theater and television sporadically during this period and the years following.
In terms of her personal life, Goddard was married multiple times. After her marriage with Chaplin, she was married to actor Burgess Meredith and then to author Erich Maria Remarque.
Paulette Goddard passed away on April 23, 1990, in Ronco sopra Ascona, Ticino, Switzerland, from emphysema. She left most of her estate to New York University, which established the Remarque Institute in her late husband’s name to study Europe.
While her career had peaks and valleys, Paulette Goddard remains remembered as a significant figure from Hollywood's Golden Age, having worked with some of the era's most renowned directors and actors.
For comprehensive information about her life and career, you might explore biographies such as "Paulette: The Adventurous Life of Paulette Goddard" by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein, as well as detailed archives of her work through film databases and retrospectives of classic cinema artists.