Born in Saint Mandé, France on September 13th, 1903, Emilie Claudette Chauchoin knew from an early age that her life’s goal was to be on the stage. She made her Broadway debut in 1923, but a force called The Great Depression would soon shift her out west, to Hollywood.
Claudette’s was my first major Hollywood death as a wee fangirl, in 1996. I remember seeing it reported on The Today Show, which I watched during summer vacation like your regular 12 year old. I asked my mom if she’d ever heard of her. “Didn’t she kill a bunch of people?”
No, mom. No, she did not. Unless you count the deaths that her movie characters may have been responsible for. Anyway, the first old movie I was ever just incredibly enamored with was The Egg & I. 12/13 year old me thought it was the most brilliant thing ever written and filmed. That was also the first time I ever experienced true hair envy. I mentioned Claudette to my aging junior high history teacher, and the puzzled look on her face cemented it- I had made a wise life choice in being a Claudette fan. Weird looks and adults wondering what’s wrong with you? Excellent. Most excellent. (I’m totally serious.)
But back to Claudette who, again, never killed a bunch of people, in case google has picked this up and you’re searching for famous serial killers.
Actually, no, I just really needed to write this to make sure my mom knows that Claudette Colbert was not a serial killer and also tell you all to watch her in LITERALLY EVERYTHING SHE EVER DID BECAUSE GLORIOUS.
This Thursday, we’re going to crack open The Secret Heart, starring Claudette, Walter Pidgeon, and June Allyson as a really weird teenager.