Constance Bennett

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Constance Bennett
Constance Bennett publicity copy.jpg
in Rockabye (1932)
BornConstance Campbell Bennett
(1904-10-22)October 22, 1904
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 24, 1965(1965-07-24) (aged 60)
Fort Dix, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1916–1965
Spouse(s)

Chester Hirst Moorhead (m. 1921–23)
Philip Morgan Plant (m. 1925–29)
Henri de la Falaise (m. 1931–40)
Gilbert Roland (m. 1941–46)

John Theron Coulter (m. 1946–65)
ChildrenPeter Bennett Plant
Lorinda Roland
Christina (a.k.a. Gyl) Roland
 
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Constance Bennett
Constance Bennett publicity copy.jpg
in Rockabye (1932)
BornConstance Campbell Bennett
(1904-10-22)October 22, 1904
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 24, 1965(1965-07-24) (aged 60)
Fort Dix, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1916–1965
Spouse(s)

Chester Hirst Moorhead (m. 1921–23)
Philip Morgan Plant (m. 1925–29)
Henri de la Falaise (m. 1931–40)
Gilbert Roland (m. 1941–46)

John Theron Coulter (m. 1946–65)
ChildrenPeter Bennett Plant
Lorinda Roland
Christina (a.k.a. Gyl) Roland

Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965) was an American actress.

Early life[edit]

She was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Richard Bennett and actress Adrienne Morrison, whose father was the stage actor Lewis Morrison (Morris W. Morris), a performer of English, Spanish, Jewish, and African ancestry.[1] Constance's younger sister was prominent actress Joan Bennett. Their other sibling was actress/dancer Barbara Bennett.

Career[edit]

She started off with a spell in a convent but decided to go into the family business. Independent, cultured, ironic and outspoken, Constance, the first Bennett sister to enter motion pictures, appeared in New York-produced silent movies before a meeting with Samuel Goldwyn led to her Hollywood debut in Cytherea (1924).

She abandoned a burgeoning career in silents for marriage to Philip Plant in 1925; She resumed her film career after their divorce, with the advent of talking pictures (1929), and with her delicate blonde features and glamorous fashion style, she quickly became a popular film star.

In 1931, a short-lived contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer earned her $300,000 for two movies which included The Easiest Way and made her one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. Warner Brothers paid her the all-time high salary of $30.000 a week for "Bought!" in 1931.[2] Richard Bennett, her father, was also cast in this film. The next year she moved to RKO, where she acted in What Price Hollywood? (1932), directed by George Cukor, an ironic and at the same time tragic behind-the-scenes looks at the old Hollywood studio system, in which she gave one of her finest performances. In this movie she is a starstruck waitress named Mary Evans, who manages to make a good impression on a prominent film director (played by Lowell Sherman); with his patronage she becomes a movie star. While the director has some serious alcohol problems, she marries a wealthy playboy (played by Neil Hamilton), who genuinely loves his wife but is jealous of the demands made on her by her career. He leaves her, but not before Mary has been impregnated. She begins to turn her attentions to her mentor, but it is too late: he kills himself in her bedroom. Hoping to heal her emotional wounds, Mary flees to Paris with her child, where she is reunited with her contrite husband.

Bennett next showed her versatility in the likes of Our Betters (1933), Bed of Roses (1933) with Pert Kelton, The Affairs of Cellini (1934), After Office Hours (1935) with Clark Gable, the original Topper (1937, in a career standout as Marian Kerby opposite Cary Grant, a role she repeated in the 1939 sequel, Topper Takes a Trip), the ultimate madcap family comedy Merrily We Live (1938) and Two-Faced Woman (1941, supporting Greta Garbo).

By the 1940s, Bennett was working less frequently in film but was in demand in both radio and theatre. Shrewd investments had made her a wealthy woman, and she founded a cosmetics and clothing company.

After World War II[edit]

She had a major supporting role in Warner Bros.'s The Unsuspected (1947) opposite Claude Rains, in which she played the program director who helps prove that Rains is guilty of murder. She made no films from the early 1950s until 1965 when she made a comeback in the film Madame X (released posthumously in 1966) playing Lana Turner's mother-in-law. Shortly after filming was completed, Bennett collapsed and died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 60.

In recognition of her military contributions, and as the wife of Theron John Coulter, who had achieved the rank of brigadier general, she was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Coulter died in 1995 and was buried with her.

Bennett has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures, at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard, a short distance from the star of her sister, Joan.

Personal life[edit]

Bennett was married five times.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Downey, Phil, A Black, Jewish Officer in the Civil War, Jewish-American History Documentation Foundation. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  2. ^ The Warner Bros Story - Clive Hirschhorn p106 ISBN 0-517-53834-2
  3. ^ September 14, 1942, Time
  4. ^ November 29, 1943, Time

External links[edit]