Date of Birth : Oct 17th 1900

The daughter of a commercial artist, Jean Arthur became a model early in life, then went on to work in films. Whatever self-confidence she may have built up was dashed when she was removed from the starring role of Temple of Venus (1923) after a few days of shooting. It was the first of many disappointments for the young actress, but she persevered and, by 1928, was being given co-starring roles at Paramount Pictures. Arthur’s curious voice, best described as possessing a lilting crack, ensured her work in talkies, but she was seldom used to full advantage in the early ’30s. Dissatisfied with the vapid ingenue, society debutante, and damsel-in-distress parts she was getting (though she was chillingly effective as a murderess in 1930’s The Greene Murder Case), Arthur left films for Broadway in 1932 to appear in Foreign Affairs. In 1934, she signed with Columbia Pictures, where, at long last, her gift for combining fast-paced verbal comedy with truly moving pathos was fully utilized. She was lucky enough to work with some of the most accomplished directors in Hollywood: Frank Capra (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town [1936], You Can’t Take It With You [1938], Mr. Smith Goes to Washington [1939]); John Ford (The Whole Town’s Talking [1935]); and Howard Hawks (Only Angels Have Wings [1937]). Mercurial in her attitudes, terribly nervous both before and after filming a scene — she often threw up after her scene was finished — and so painfully shy that it was sometimes difficult for her to show up, she was equally fortunate that her co-workers were patient and understanding with her.




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