Ruth Chatterton


Actor
Ruth Chatterton

About

Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
December 24, 1892
Died
November 24, 1961
Cause of Death
Cerebral Hemorrhage

Biography

Respected stage actress who made her screen debut in "Sins of the Fathers" (1928) and, at the relatively advanced age of 35, became a popular star of "women's films" of the early 1930s. An intense, often richly theatrical actress with a fine speaking voice, Chatterton enjoyed rewarding parts in such films as "Sarah and Son" (1930) and "Female" (1933). She played determined or high-powere...

Family & Companions

Ralph Forbes
Husband
Actor. Married on December 24, 1924; divorced in 1932; played the second male lead in Chatterton's vehicle, "The Lady of Scandal" (1930).
George Brent
Husband
Actor. Married on August 13, 1932; divorced on October 4, 1934; was Chatterton's leading man in "The Rich Are Always With Us" (1932), "The Crash" (1932), "Lily Turner" (1933) and "Female" (1933).
Barry Thomson
Husband
Actor. Married 1942 until his death in 1960.

Bibliography

"Homeward Borne"
Ruth Chatteron
"The Betrayers"
Ruth Chatterton
"The Pride of the Peacock"
Ruth Chatterton
"The Southern Wild"
Ruth Chatterton

Notes

Chatterton was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performances in "Madame X" (1929) and "Sarah and Son" (1930).

Chatterton was a licensed pilot and would regularly fly her own plane cross-country.

Biography

Respected stage actress who made her screen debut in "Sins of the Fathers" (1928) and, at the relatively advanced age of 35, became a popular star of "women's films" of the early 1930s. An intense, often richly theatrical actress with a fine speaking voice, Chatterton enjoyed rewarding parts in such films as "Sarah and Son" (1930) and "Female" (1933). She played determined or high-powered women, often sexually quite liberated and aggressive, who undergo considerable emotional torment, and brought considerable class and dignity even to routine melodramatic romances. Her success in the first sound version of "Madame X" (1929) also insured that many of her later starring vehicles, such as "Frisco Jenny" (1933), would be variations of that film's glamorously suffering wife-and-mother role.

Although her stardom slipped after 1934, Chatterton came back to enjoy one of her finest roles, and the one for which she is best remembered, as Walter Huston's selfish and self-dramatizing wife, dreading the approach of middle age, in William Wyler's superb, beautifully acted adapatation of Sinclair Lewis' novel, "Dodsworth" (1936). Chatterton wrote a Broadway play in 1930 ("Monsieur Brotonneau") and, some time after retiring from films, published several popular novels in the 1950s. Married to actors Ralph Forbes, George Brent and Barry Thomson.

Life Events

1906

Began career as a stage actress in stock

1912

Made Broadway acting debut

1920

Achieved notable Broadway starring triumph in "Daddy Long Legs"

1928

Film acting debut in "Sins of the Fathers"; immediately became one of Paramount Studios' most popular stars

1930

Broadway writing debut, "Monsieur Brotonneau"

1932

Left Paramount and moved to Warner Brothers/First National; last film at Paramount, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow"

1934

Popularity slipped; left films for a brief period after completing "Journal of a Crime", her last of six films at Warners/First National

1936

Enjoyed notable comeback in William Wyler's "Dodsworth"

1938

Made last two films, "The Rat" and "A Royal Divorce", in Great Britain

Photo Collections

Female - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from First National's Female (1933), starring Ruth Chatterton. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Dodsworth (1936) - The Smartest Crowd In Paris Sam (Walter Huston) and Fran (Ruth Chatterton) disagree about the social crowd Fran has adopted in their travels around Europe in William Wyler's Dodsworth, 1936, from the Sinclair Lewis novel.
Dodsworth (1936) - Americans Are Always Such Snobs Newly retired American auto magnate Samuel Dodsworth (Walter Huston, title character) and wife (Ruth Chatterton) have just set sail for Europe, their attitudes not in synch, meeting English Locket (David Niven), in William Wyler's film from the Sinclar Lewis novel, Dodsworth, 1936.
Dodsworth (1936) - The Most Amusing Friends Early in her Paris stay, eager American Fran (Ruth Chatterton), wife of the retiring auto executive title character, Walter Huston, whom she forgets to meet, aims to impress French pal Renee (Odette Myrtle) and her cultured associate Iselin (Paul Lukas, his first appearance), in William Wyler’s Dodsworth, 1936.
Rich Are Always With Us, The (1932) - If You Insist On Being Platonic After prologues establishing Ruth Chatterton as Caroline, the world’s richest woman, married to broker Greg, and George Brent as her smitten journalist-adventurer friend Julian, we join their luncheon, into which Marlbro (Bette Davis) intrudes, in Warner Bros.’ The Rich Are Always With Us, 1932.
Female (1933) - Drake Motor Car First scene directed by Michael Curtiz (presumably, though others contributed without credit) establishes a standard American car company and it's unusual CEO, the chairman and daughter of the founder, Allison Drake (Ruth Chatterton), Lois Wilson her visiting friend, in Female, 1933.
Female (1933) - You Are A Goddess In the just-barely pre-Code Warner Bros./First National potboiler, Ruth Chatterton as auto CEO Allison plucks a prospective boy-toy (Philip Reed) from her staff, then reconsiders, in one of a handful of pictures shot at the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House in LA, in Female, 1933.
Rich Are Always With Us, The (1932) - All The Money You'll Lose At a New York party staged by mega-rich Caroline (Ruth Chatterton) and Greg (John Miljan), dazzling young Bette Davis as Marlbro jousts with bachelor Julian (George Brent) who is stubbornly in love with the hostess, John Wray in charge of the gambling, in The Rich Are Always With Us, 1932.
Dodsworth (1936) - Dodsworth Motors Midwestern auto magnate Sam Dodsworth (Walter Huston, title character) leaves his automobile plant for the last time and returns home to his wife (Ruth Chatterton) in this early scene from William Wyler's Dodsworth, 1936, from the Sinclair Lewis novel.
Madame X (1929) - Too Good for You Jacqueline (Ruth Chatterton) engages in cynical chat with Laroque (Ullrich Haupt), the Alsatian hustler who will become her victim, in the 1929 version of Madame X, directed by Lionel Barrymore.
Madame X (1929) - Clean, Honest Things Jacqueline (Ruth Chatterton), on her sojourn in China, rejects the advances of Naval officer Darrell (Carroll Nye) in Madame X, 1929, directed by Lionel Barrymore, from Alexandre Bisson's play.
Madame X (1929) - Opening Credits Opening credit sequence for the first talkie-version of Madame X, 1929, directed by Lionel Barrymore, from the play by Alexandre Bisson, starring Ruth Chatterton and Lewis Stone.
Female (1933) - Naturally Enthusiastic CEO Allison (Ruth Chatterton) is receiving a massage, college friend Harriet (Lois Wilson) and handsome young employee Cooper (Johnny Mack Brown), in Female, 1933, directed by Michael Curitz.

Trailer

Companions

Ralph Forbes
Husband
Actor. Married on December 24, 1924; divorced in 1932; played the second male lead in Chatterton's vehicle, "The Lady of Scandal" (1930).
George Brent
Husband
Actor. Married on August 13, 1932; divorced on October 4, 1934; was Chatterton's leading man in "The Rich Are Always With Us" (1932), "The Crash" (1932), "Lily Turner" (1933) and "Female" (1933).
Barry Thomson
Husband
Actor. Married 1942 until his death in 1960.

Bibliography

"Homeward Borne"
Ruth Chatteron
"The Betrayers"
Ruth Chatterton
"The Pride of the Peacock"
Ruth Chatterton
"The Southern Wild"
Ruth Chatterton

Notes

Chatterton was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performances in "Madame X" (1929) and "Sarah and Son" (1930).

Chatterton was a licensed pilot and would regularly fly her own plane cross-country.