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Claire Trevor

Claire Trevor

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Also Known As: Claire Trevor Bren, Claire Wemlinger Died: April 8, 2000
Born: March 8, 1910 Cause of Death: Complications from a respiratory ailment
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Known among aficionados as "The Queen of Film Noir," Claire Trevor could play any number of heroines, but she proved particularly suited to the shadowy world of crime and mystery showcased in numerous films in the 1940s and 1950s. While not as glamorous as the most prominent actresses of the time, the husky-voiced blonde still captivated through force of character and the sincerity she brought to much of her work. Following some stage assignments and a few undistinguished programmers, Trevor gained her first significant industry attention via an Oscar-nominated performance in "Dead End" (1937). However, it was John Ford's superb Western "Stagecoach" (1939) that really put Trevor on the map and she enjoyed lead roles in several major productions during the years that followed. Her turns in the superior film noir thrillers "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), "Born to Kill" (1947), "Raw Deal" (1948), and "Key Largo" (1948) established Trevor as one of its premiere players and she excelled as both determined heroines and debased antagonists. "Key Largo" also brought Trevor her only Academy Award and the powerful work she did in that John Huston classic as a deglamorized, desperate alcoholic provided a potent...

Known among aficionados as "The Queen of Film Noir," Claire Trevor could play any number of heroines, but she proved particularly suited to the shadowy world of crime and mystery showcased in numerous films in the 1940s and 1950s. While not as glamorous as the most prominent actresses of the time, the husky-voiced blonde still captivated through force of character and the sincerity she brought to much of her work. Following some stage assignments and a few undistinguished programmers, Trevor gained her first significant industry attention via an Oscar-nominated performance in "Dead End" (1937). However, it was John Ford's superb Western "Stagecoach" (1939) that really put Trevor on the map and she enjoyed lead roles in several major productions during the years that followed. Her turns in the superior film noir thrillers "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), "Born to Kill" (1947), "Raw Deal" (1948), and "Key Largo" (1948) established Trevor as one of its premiere players and she excelled as both determined heroines and debased antagonists. "Key Largo" also brought Trevor her only Academy Award and the powerful work she did in that John Huston classic as a deglamorized, desperate alcoholic provided a potent demonstration of her value as a character actress. Later regarded by some as more of a cult actress than a true Golden Age movie star, Trevor's filmography contained many persuasive examples of her versatility, which also extended to her stage and television assignments.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Norman Rockwell's Breaking Home Ties (1987) Grace Porter
2.
 Kiss Me Goodbye (1982) Charlotte Banning
3.
 How To Murder Your Wife (1965) Edna
4.
 The Stripper (1963) Helen Baird
5.
 Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) Clara
6.
 Marjorie Morningstar (1958) Rose Morgenstern
7.
 The Mountain (1956) Marie
8.
 Lucy Gallant (1955) Lady "Mac" MacBeth
9.
 Man Without a Star (1955) Idonee
10.
 The High and the Mighty (1954) May Holst
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Larchmont, New York
:
Began career stage in stock and on Broadway in the late 1920s
:
First film appearance in Vitaphone shorts filmed in Brooklyn
:
Signed to a contract by Warner Bros.; acted in a series of short films; then spent 10 weeks in St Louis performing on stage with other contract players
1931:
Acted on Broadway in "Whistling in the Dark"
:
Reportedly declined a contract offer from MGM to concentrate on theater
:
After failure of "The Party's Over", accepted five-year contract offer from Fox
1933:
Feature film debut, "Life in the Raw"
1933:
Appeared opposite Spencer Tracy in "The Mad Game"
1934:
Cast as Shirley Temple's mother in "Baby Takes a Bow"
1937:
Breakthough film role, an Oscar-nominated supporting turn as Humphrey Bogart's girlfriend in "Dead End"
1937:
Co-starred with Edward G Robinson in the radio drama "Big Town"
:
Returned to Warner Bros. after Daryl Zanuck's lack of faith in her talent became apparent
1938:
Reteamed with Bogart on "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse"
1939:
Was top-billed as a hard-bitten woman of questionable virtue in "Stagecoach"; first of four films with John Wayne John Wayne
1943:
Co-starred in "The Desperados"
1944:
Appeared with Dick Powell (as private eye Philip Marlowe) in "Murder, My Sweet", adapted from Raymond Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely"
:
Starred in the Broadway production of "Dark Victory"
1947:
Appeared on Broadway in "The Big Two"; show closed after 21 performances
1948:
Offered Oscar-winning turn as Edward G Robinson's alcoholic moll in the crime drama "Key Largo"
1954:
Received Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her spunky turn as a passenger on a troubled airplane in "The High and the Mighty"
:
Made TV debut in "Alias Nora Hale", aired as part of Ford Television Theater
1956:
Starred opposite Fredric March in TV version of "Dodsworth"; earned Emmy Award
1958:
Co-starred in "Marjorie Morningstar"
1962:
Played Robinson's shrewish wife in "Two Weeks in Another Town"
1963:
Cast as Joanne Woodward's mother in "The Stripper"
:
Returned to stage to star in touring production of "The Killing of Sister George" in the late 1960s
1967:
Last film for 15 years, "The Cape Town Affair"
1982:
Final film, playing Sally Field's mother in "Kiss Me Goodbye"
1987:
Final acting role, in the ABC TV-movie "Norman Rockwell's Breaking Home Ties"
1998:
Last TV appearance on the Academy Awards telecast, as part of a salute to previous award winners
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Columbia University: New York , New York -
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

Some sources list 1910 as the year of Ms. Trevor's birth.

"I don't think female movie stars have particularly happy lives. I rather doubt that Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn had happy lives. . . . But I am sure about myself: I had a happy life; 90% of my thoughts were not directed to career." --Claire Trevor in a 1982 interview with

Los Angeles Times

In 1999, Trevor donated $500,000 to the University of California at Irvine's School of the Arts. A theater was named in her honor.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Clark Andrews. Writer, radio director. Married in 1938; divorced in 1942; had directed segments of "Big Town".
husband:
Cyclos William Dunsmoore. Navy lieutenant. Married in 1943; divorced in 1947.
husband:
Milton Bren. Producer. Married from 1948 until his death from a brain tumor in 1979.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Noel Wemlinger. Clothier. French; born in Paris; lost his business during the Depression.
mother:
Betty Wemlinger. Irish; born in Belfast.
son:
Charles Cyclos Dunsmoore. Born in 1944; died in a 1978 airline crash; father, Cyclos Dunsmoore.
step-son:
Donald L Bren. Developer. Chairman of Irvine Company; reportedly a billionaire; survived her.
step-son:
Peter Bren. Discotheque owner, real estate developer. Survived her.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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