Constance Bennett: American actress (1904 - 1965) | Biography, Bibliography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Constance Bennett
American actress

Constance Bennett

Constance Bennett
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress
Was Actor Stage actor Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 22 October 1904, New York City
Death 24 July 1965, Fort Dix (aged 60 years)
Star sign Libra
Mother: Adrienne Morrison
Father: Richard Bennett
Spouse: Henry de La FalaiseGilbert Roland
The details (from wikipedia)


Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965) was an American film actress and a major Hollywood star during the 1920s and 1930s. During the early 1930s, she was for a time the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, and one of the most popular. Bennett frequently played society women, focusing on melodramas in the early 1930s and then taking more comedic roles in the late 1930s and 1940s. She is best known today for her leading roles in Topper (1937), in which she co-starred with Cary Grant; its sequel Topper Takes a Trip (1938); and What Price Hollywood? (1932), its subsequent remakes for the 1937 film A Star is Born. Bennett also had a prominent supporting role in Greta Garbo's last film, Two-Faced Woman (1941).
She was the daughter of stage and silent film star Richard Bennett, and the older sister of actress Joan Bennett.

Early life

Bennett 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. Constance's younger sister was prominent actress Joan Bennett. Their other sibling was actress/dancer Barbara Bennett.


After some time spent in a convent, Bennett went 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, but 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 the early 1930s, Bennett was frequently among the top actresses named in audience popularity and box-office polls. For a short time, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. So successful was Bennett during this time, that RKO, Bennett's home studio at the time, controlled the careers of actresses Ann Harding and Helen Twelvetrees in a similar manner, hoping to duplicate Bennett's success. 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. 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 portrayed waitress Mary Evans, who becomes a movie star. Lowell Sherman co-starred as the film director who discovers her, and Neil Hamilton as the wealthy playboy she marries. It was a critical and box office hit at the time of its release. The film Morning Glory had been written with Bennett in mind for the lead role, but producer Pandro S. Berman gave the role to Katharine Hepburn, who won an Academy Award for her performance.

Bennett next showed her versatility in the likes of Our Betters (1933), Bed of Roses (1933) with Pert Kelton, After Tonight (1933) (co-starring with future husband Gilbert Roland), 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

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

Bennett and her daughters, with a portrait of herself and her son (1944)

Bennett was married five times.

  • In 1921 Bennett eloped with Chester Hirst Moorehead of Chicago, the son of a surgeon. The marriage was annulled in 1923.
  • Bennett eloped with millionaire socialite Philip Morgan Plant (died 1941) in 1925; they divorced in 1929. In 1932, Bennett brought back from Europe a three-year-old child, whom she claimed to have adopted and named Peter Bennett Plant. In 1942, however, during a battle over a large trust fund established to benefit any descendants of her former husband, Bennett announced that her adopted son actually was her natural child by Plant, born after the divorce and kept hidden in order to ensure that the child's biological father did not get custody. During the court hearings, the actress told her former mother-in-law and her husband's widow that "if she got to the witness stand she would give a complete account of her life with Plant. The matter was settled out of court."
  • She captured numerous headlines in 1931, when she married one of Gloria Swanson's former husbands, Henri le Bailly, the Marquis de La Coudraye de La Falaise (1898–1972), a French nobleman and film director. Bennett and de la Falaise founded Bennett Pictures Corp. and co-produced two films which were the last filmed in Hollywood in the two-strip Technicolor process, Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) filmed in Bali, and Kilou the Killer Tiger (1936), filmed in Indochina. They were divorced in Reno, Nevada in 1940.
  • In 1941, Bennett married the actor Gilbert Roland, with whom she had two daughters, Lorinda and Christina (a.k.a. Gyl). They were divorced in 1946.
  • In June 1946, Bennett married US Air Force Colonel (later Brigadier General) John Theron Coulter (1912–1995). After her marriage, she concentrated her efforts on providing relief entertainment to US troops still stationed in Europe, winning military honors for her services.

Bennett was the aunt of Morton Downey Jr., the son of Constance's sister Barbara.


Silent Films

Year Title Role Notes
1916 The Valley of Decision Unborn soul Lost
1922 Reckless Youth Chorus Girl
1922 Evidence Edith Lost
1922 What's Wrong with the Women? Elise Bascom Lost
1924 Cytherea Annette Sherman Lost
1924 Into the Net Madge Clayton, his sister Lost
1925 The Goose Hangs High Lois Ingals Lost
1925 Code of the West Georgie May Lost
1925 My Son Betty Smith Lost
1925 My Wife and I Aileen Alton Lost
1925 The Goose Woman Hazel Woods
1925 Wandering Fires Guerda Anthony
1925 Sally, Irene and Mary Sally
1925 The Pinch Hitter Abby Nettleton Lost
1926 Married ? Marcia Livingston

Sound Films

Year Title Role Notes
1929 Rich People Connie Hayden
1929 This Thing Called Love Ann Marvin Lost
1930 Son of the Gods Allana
1930 Three Faces East Frances Hawtree / Z-1
1930 Common Clay Ellen Neal
1930 Sin Takes a Holiday Sylvia Brenner
1931 The Easiest Way Laura Murdock
1931 Born to Love Doris Kendall
1931 The Common Law Valerie West
1931 Bought! Stephanie Dale
1932 Screen Snapshots Herself Short Subject
1932 Lady with a Past Venice Muir
1932 What Price Hollywood? Mary Evans
1932 Two Against the World Miss Adele 'Dell' Hamilton
1932 Rockabye Judy Carroll
1933 Our Betters Lady Pearl Grayston
1933 Bed of Roses Lorry Evans
1933 After Tonight Carla Vanirska, aka K-14 and Karen Schöntag
1934 Moulin Rouge Helen Hall / Raquel
1934 The Affairs of Cellini Duchess of Florence
1934 Outcast Lady Iris
1935 After Office Hours Sharon Norwood
1935 Legong Producer only
1935 Starlit Days at the Lido Herself Short subject
1936 Everything Is Thunder Anna von Stucknadel
1936 Ladies in Love Yoli Haydn
1937 Daily Beauty Rituals Herself Short subject
1937 Topper Marion Kerby
1938 Merrily We Live Jerry Kilbourne
1938 Service de Luxe Helen Murphy
1938 Topper Takes a Trip Marion Kerby
1939 Tail Spin Gerry Lester
1940 Escape to Glory Christine Blaine
1941 Law of the Tropics Joan Madison
1941 Picture People No. 2: Hollywood Sports Herself Short subject
1941 Two-Faced Woman Griselda Vaughn
1942 Wild Bill Hickok Rides Belle Andrews
1942 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 5 Herself Short subject
1942 Sin Town Kye Allen
1942 Madame Spy Joan Bannister
1945 Paris Underground Kitty de Mornay
1946 Centennial Summer Zenia Lascalles
1947 The Unsuspected Jane Moynihan
1948 Smart Woman Paula Rogers
1948 Angel on the Amazon Dr. Karen Lawrence
1951 As Young as You Feel Lucille McKinley
1954 It Should Happen To You Guest Panelist
1966 Madame X Estelle

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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