Apr 13, 2006

Constance Bennett is beautiful!

After the unintentional screening of a Cary Grant/Roland Young double feature at my apartment last night - we started off with The Philadelphia Story and wrapped things up with Topper - I decided that I needed to know more about the fiery blonde apparition who played opposite endlessly-mischievous Cary Grant in our second film, Constance Bennett. Constance, the elder sister of Barbara and Joan Bennett, of the famous Bennett sisters, turns out to be one more fascinating lady of the big screen, so I'll share some tidbits about this beautiful blonde:

- She was born October 22, 1904 in New York, NY
- She eloped at age 16 and made her screen debut in Reckless Youth at age 17. The marriage was soon annulled.
- She was married five times in her life and has three children: an adopted son, and two daughters with husband Gil Roland.
- In the 1930's, she negotiated with studio head Jack Warner to not only pay her extremely high salary, but also her agents' fees and income taxes.
- Constance's most memorable performances include Common Clay (1930), The Common Law (1931), and What Price Hollywood (1932), an early version of A Star Is Born. Her considerable comedic skill is showcased in such films as Ladies in Love (1936) and Topper (1937), where she plays the charmingly carefree socialite Marion Kirby - both before and after Marion's death.
- She was an excellent poker player and often, the only woman invited to play in Hollywood circles.
- She died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1965; she was 59 years old.
- Is buried in Arlington National Cemetery due to her marriage to a U.S. Air Force colonel, and to her skilled coordination of flying shows to U.S. troops stationed abroad from 1946-48.

"That beautiful sister of mine was an overwhelming and volatile mixture. One had the feeling that she'd been shot from a canon and showered her sparks over an incredulous world with no thought or care where they fell...She was like some silvery comet who streaked through life with daring speed, the wellspring of which was an inner confidence that I deeply admired." - sister Joan Bennett on Constance

"I'm a lot more sartorial than thespian. They come to see me and go out humming the costumes." - Constance Bennett