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Claudia Dell Profile

Claudia Dell
Claudia Dell
Photo of Claudia Dell
(Claudia Dell Smith)
10 January 09 is born in San Antonio, Texas. Her father is Oliver W. Smith; her aunt Mary Dell is a bright light in vaudeville.
? attends school in San Antonio and Mexico City
? is given a medal by the City of San Antonio for saving a girl from drowning
? from an early age, she knows she wants to go on stage, just like her aunt Mary. During WWI, she dances and plays violin for soldiers at Kelly Field.
? during childhood, she visits New York with her aunt Mary and wants to remain and begin a career. Her parents insist she return home.
25 when her education is completed, she returns to New York. She studies singing at Julliard and acting at the Academy.
18 August 25 makes her Broadway debut in Gay Paree. It will play at the Shubert Theatre through 30 January 1926.
16 August 27 is on Broadway in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1927, understudy to the principal, Irene Delroy. The show will run at the New Amsterdam Theatre through 7 January 1928.
10 January 28 is on Broadway in Rosalie, playing Rosita. The show will play at the New Amsterdam Theatre until October 27.
28 / 30 begins dating theatrical agent Edwin Silton
14 June 29 Ziegfeld's glorified American girls are making good in London. She gains the distinction of evoking some kind words from London's toughest critic when she goes over to take the lead for Clayton and Walker in Mary, Mary and retires gracefully after being found unsuitable for the part; the critic cheers the producers for putting an English girl in the lead. And then he meets Claudia. "There was none of the indignant madam about this kindly young blonde," he writes. "I wish all actresses found unsuitable for parts in which they have been tried were as philosophical and sweet about it." And this comes from Hannen Swaffer of the Daily Express.
? after a three-months' run in a London musical comedy, she tours southern Europe with her aunt and meets a king or two before returning to New York / a Warner Brothers scout notices her in London and takes her to Hollywood
February 30 in New York, homesickness sets in and she rejects leads in two stage productions. She goes to Los Angeles, where her family is now living. There, she keeps up her voice lessons with Felix Hughes, brother of Rupert, the novelist. Hughes convinces her to try talkies. Her first test results in a contract and a lead role.
12 February 30 signs a contract with Warner Brothers; negotiations close two days after her arrival in Hollywood.
18 May 30 after another raid on Ziegfeld's congress of pulchritude, she fills Warner Brothers' collective eye as just the type for Sweet Kitty Bellairs, to be filmed in Technicolor. Her lyrical voice is described as birdlike, clear, and irresistible. She wears 18 petticoats for her role. Unfortunately, the film is not a hit.
3 August 30 wears tailored clothes for studio use and for golf. Otherwise, she likes formal afternoon frocks or organdie or chiffon-and large picture hats. White is her favorite evening shade.
2 September 30 residing in Hollywood with her are her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother
19 October 30 is chosen for her role in Al Jolsen's movie Big Boy because of her natural southern accent
19 December 30 is dropped by Warners and signed by Radio
25 January 31 is photographed for newspapers wearing a risqué aviation apparel. "Of course," she explains, "it was only worn around the studio during the shooting of a picture."
5 April 31 models a three-quarter length coat that was woven by a Mexican tribe and designed by an American Indian shop in Hollywood
18 August 31 most of the girls who came to pictures backed by musical comedy reputations had their brief flier in the movies and then suddenly when musical pictures did a brody, found themselves not too gently dropped into the cold outer air of the unwanted. She and a few lovelies pocket their music and stay in pictures in non-singing roles.
22 August 31 Harrison Carroll reports that her name no longer appears in the contract-player list at R-K-O. She will return to New York. Noel Francis was also let go.
23 October 31 may be the ingénue opposite Jack Whiting in the new Irving Berlin-Moss Hart musical
7 November 31 dons an auburn wig for Tiffany Productions' Leftover Ladies
15 January 32 a syndicated newspaper article reports that she is married to a theatrical agent
8 March 32 attends Jeanette MacDonald's party for Bob Ritchie without theatrical agent Eddie Silton, which is news
25 March 32 waits on tables at the Assistance League Tea Room. She and Lola Lane have a table near the door. Ivan Lebedeff is quite the center of attention, particularly when passing Lane and Dell's table; he pauses to speak and kisses their hands, with typical Lebedeff grace. Both she and Lane wear brimmed hats, each with a cocky feather pointing skywards. The Assistance League is making the Brown Derby look to its laurels as Hollywood's most popular spot to see the starry ones of the film world. The hostesses, check girls, and waitresses are all either society or film folk, giving their services for the sake of "sweet charity."
17 July 32 has been busy socially lately but promises to settle down to some real work soon
20 July 32 she and Bette Davis emerge from swimming contests with honors
4 August 32 Louella Parsons reports: "...In the future all the trademarks for World Wide Pictures will have a living beauty. Claudia Dell is that girl. She will act in some of the pictures and at the same time hold two revolving globes giving the title of the picture." She was selected by Joe Brandt, president of World Wide Pictures.
10 November 32 has only painted eyebrows, thanks to Lupe Velez. She visited Velez a few nights ago, and the Mexican actress decided her friend's eyebrows needed fixing. But when she finished, there wasn't a single brow left.
21 January 33 is photographed cutting the cake for her 23rd birthday while her father, Oliver W. Smith, looks on. Among the film notables attending the party is Betty Compson.
13 February 33 lunches with actresses Lola Lane and Mae Clarke
16 May 33 eats a careful diet luncheon at Sardi's Café with William Anthony McGuire
15 June 34 Jerry Hoffman, pinchitting for Louella Parsons ends his "Snapshots of Hollywood Collected at Random" portion of his column with: "...Claudia Dell hooking a big barracuda at Catalina; pulled on board, it gasped, 'That's all to-day. See you tomorrow.'"
17 July 34 gives a beauty hint to newspaper readers: "Give your face a rest from any form of makeup during hours at home. The pores need to breathe as much as the lungs, and the kindness to them in this manner is repair in better complexion."
19 November 33 Eddie Silton escorts her to the Clove Club
24 December 34 she and Silton take out a marriage license in Los Angeles before she heads off to the studio for a day's work. She gives her age as 23; he, as 44. It will be the second marriage for both. She wears a holiday skating costume.
27 December 34 is photographed for newspapers striking a "think-it-over" pose. After six years of courtship, she decides to marry Eddie Silton. The strictly private ceremony will be December 28 in Pasadena.
29 December 34 on this Saturday she, adorned with orchids / wearing a plain blue tailored suit with a corsage of gardenias, and Eddie Silton are wed by Los Angeles Superior Judge Fletcher Bowron in his chambers. They will leave soon for Palm Springs. When her contract is completed, they will continue their honeymoon in Europe. Silton will die on 7 January 1969 in Los Angeles.
14 February 35 her dentist, Dr. Walter I. Taylor, files suit to collect a $21 bill
14 March 35 has the unique distinction of being the only Hollywood film player ever to dance with the Price of Wales. She tripped the light fantastic with the future king of England during her engagement at the Gaiety Theater, London.
1 December 35 leaves the Knickerbocker to go riding in dark green jodhpurs and bright orange skirt
14 June 36 actress Mae Clarke and her fiancé, Dr. Frank G. Nolan, go into virtual seclusion after screen colony pranksters almost have them married. The physician and his intended bride plan to be married in a month. They obtained a marriage license several weeks ago and placed it in Dr. Nolan's office. Last night the couple was visiting at the home of Norman Levin, Beverly Hills businessman, when someone suggested Dr. Nolan and Miss Clarke go through a mock ceremony. Municipal Judge Alfred Paonessa was present, and he consented to perform the mock ceremony to give it an air of authenticity. Film director W. S. Van Dyke consented to be best man, and actress Claudia Dell was bridesmaid. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and Dr. Nolan was handed a sheet of paper to sign. To his amazement, he recognized it as the marriage license he believed was in his office. Judge Paonessa said the ceremony would have been legal and the actress would have been Mrs. Nolan had the two inscribed their names to the license. Dr. Nolan said he would change the locks on his office doors.
2 June 38 she and Eddie Silton have reconciled and the rumored divorce has been called off
15 June 38 Jimmie Fidler reports: "You know Eddie Silton? Phoned from Hollywood. Says reports there that he and his wife, Claudia Dell, have split-are not true-would you say so? Why must we correct other columns' mistakes?"
28 May 41 Louella Parsons writes that "Claudia Dell, actress, and Eddie Silton, the agent are definitely parted."
40s does numerous Lux Radio Theater programs for Cecil B. DeMille and Orson Welles
20 October 42 Louella Parsons reports her at Mike Lyman's with Irving Baltimore
28 June 43 Louella Parsons glimpses her at the Biltmore Bowl with Raymond Hakim
23 January 46 Harrison Carroll says she's going places with attorney Milton Golden
24 July 46 Walter Winchell tells that she likes lawyer Milton Golden
26 March 47 Dorothy Kilgallen writes: "...George Sanders, the alleged woman hater, doesn't hate starlet Claudia Dell."
14 July 47 Louella Parsons reports: "...Talk about 'walked right in, turned around, and walked right out again'-that's what Claudia Dell, the actress, and Charles Belden did a few weeks ago. They are so in love, and they went all the way to Mexico to get married and then changed their minds, fearing they might get in the same trouble that brought so much publicity to Laraine Day and Leo Durocher. Belden's divorce from Susie Ingall becomes final four months hence, and they'll wed. He was once married to Joan Marsh, motion picture actress."
10 December 47 Louella Parsons tells: "Claudia Dell and Dan Emmett will marry as soon as Claudia's divorce from Eddie Silton is final. She's now in Las Vegas, so the wedding should take place very soon."
13 December 47 marries her third husband, Daniel Emmett, retired chewing gum manufacturer. Judge David Coleman performs the ceremony at the home of writer Stanley Davis. It's Emmett's fourth marriage. She's 33; he's 43.
3 February 48 Louella is at it again: "Eddie Silton, ex-husband of Claudia Dell, was at Charlie Foy's with Corinna Mura, the girl who was in Mexican Hayride. A few tables away as Claudia Dell with Daniel Emmett, whom she has either married or will marry very soon."
49 - 54 is on the television show "Leave it to the Girls," televisions first women's advocacy show
50s works as a receptionist in a beauty shop in Hollywood and makes television appearances
61 - 73 is director of the John Robert Powers School in Beverly Hills
10 November 63 sues actress Bette Davis and unnamed persons for $1.5 million. She says she was falsely reported to have died by suicide in Miss Davis' recent autobiography The Lonely Life. She reports that contrary to the book, she is the lively director of a modeling school in Beverly Hills.
27 November 63 Bette Davis insists she just made up the name Claudia Dell referred to in her book and never knew such a person existed. "My attorney later told me there is a real Claudia Dell, so heaven knows what will happen."
28 April 65 appears on the Long Beach, California, television program "9 On the Line" with C. Roberts and gives a look inside a charm school
? writes a syndicated column for 8 years
73 has a syndicated radio program "The Claudia Dell Show," which airs in the Midwest
completes collaboration with famous English author Helga Moray on a TV script now being considered for the "Theater of the Week" program
15 November 73 is named new student director of the John Robert Powers School Charm and Modeling School in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills Promenade. She is assigned to the new position by Margaret Popolo Clark, president and executive director of the schools. Of her new position and the school she says: "There is no better work than being able to be associated with a school which helps mold young people for the future and one that gives a whole new dimension to a woman's life. After all my years in the theater, with all the accolades from different audiences, none has ever thrilled me more or proved so exciting as the rewards I receive from helping girls and women of all ages achieve their potential." Also: "John Robert Powers has taught thousands of women of all ages how to make the most of their own positive features," Being born a female does not necessarily make a person a woman. It takes poise, personality, and self-confidence. At John Robert Powers we teach teenagers, career girls and homemakers the real value of their individuality."
5 September 77 dies in Hollywood, California, and is interred, cemetery unknown, Los Angeles County, California
Sources:
Kirk Crivello, Austin American-Statesman, The Bradford Era, The Charleston Gazette, The Chronicle Telegram, The Daily Times-News, The Evening Tribune, The Frederick Post, The Fresno Bee, The Fresno Bee Republican, The Havre Daily News, The Kingsport Times, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, The Lowell Sun, Mansfield News Journal, Middlesboro Daily News, Middletown Times Herald, Modesto Bee and News-Herald, Nevada State Journal, Oakland Tribune, The Ogden Standard-Examiner, The Olean Herald, The Port Arthur News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, San Mateo Times, The Sheboygan Press, The Syracuse Herald, The Valley News, The Vidette-Messenger, www.IBDb.com, www.IMDb.com, www.Ancestry.com, www.Wikipedia.com, www.Jeanettemacdonaldfanclub.com
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Filmography