Born: 3 June 1910
Died: 23 April 1990
Birthplace: Whitestone Landing, New York
Best known as: Charlie Chaplin's leading lady in Modern Times
Paulette Goddard was a Hollywood leading lady from her breakthrough in 1936 -- opposite then-husband Charlie Chaplin
in Modern Times
-- until her retirement in 1958 as the wife of writer Erich Maria Remarque
. Early information about her life is sketchy: Her birth name may have been Marion Pauline Levee, Pauline Marion Goddard Levee, or Levy, and recent scholarship indicates she was born in 1910, though sources range from 1904 to 1914. She was a Ziegfeld Girl and was married for a few years before landing in Hollywood in 1931. She met silent film superstar Chaplin in 1932 and they became a pair and eventually married. She went from bit parts to stardom after her marvelous performance in Modern Times
. Goddard and Chaplin split in 1942, and she married actor Burgess Meredith in 1944. (They divorced in 1949.) Goddard was a glamorous and versatile leading lady for Paramount Pictures; her films included The Women
(1939, with Joan Crawford
), The Great Dictator
(1940, with Chaplin), So Proudly We Hail
(1943, and her only Oscar nomination), Kitty
(1945) and The Diary of a Chambermaid
(1946, with then-husband Meredith). She made several B movies in the 1950s, then married Remarque and retired to Europe.
The circumstances of her actual wedding to Chaplin are also clouded in mystery. Some sources say they were secretly married (at sea or in China) sometime between 1933 and 1936… Although she was never a student at the school, Goddard left her estate — valued at $20 million — to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
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