Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday: Constance Bennett!

Constance Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965), the daughter of actor Richard Bennett and actress Adrienne Morrison, whose father was the stage actor Lewis Morrison. Her younger sisters were actress/dancer Barbara Bennett and actress Joan Bennett. Constance Bennett, the first Bennett sister to enter the movies, where she performed in New York produced silent movies before a meeting with Samuel Goldwyn, which led to her Hollywood debut in the film, Cytherea(1924).

She left her acting career in silent film for marriage to Philip Plant, in 1925. She went back to her film career after her divorce. Because of her glamorous fashion style, she quickly became a popular film star.

She had a short-lived contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer, where she performed in the movie, The Easiest Way.

The next year she moved to RKO, where she performed in, What Price Hollywood? (1932).

Bennett next showed her versatility in the films: Bed of Roses (1933), The Affairs of Cellini (1934), After Office Hours (1935) with Clark Gable, the original Topper (1937), as Marian Kerby with Cary Grant.

She repeated her role in the 1939 sequel, Topper Takes a Trip, Merrily We Live (1938) and Two-Faced Woman (1941).

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

Constance Bennett movies:

Lady With A Past (1932). A good girl raises her popularity when she pretends to be bad. Cast: Constance Bennett, Ben Lyon, David Manners. Dir: Edward H. Griffith.

Rockabye (1932). A Broadway star tries to hold onto an adopted child and a younger man. Cast: Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea, Paul Lukas. Dir: George Cukor.

What Price Hollywood? (1932). A drunken director whose career is fading helps a waitress become a Hollywood star. Cast: Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman, Neil Hamilton. Dir: George Cukor.

Outcast Lady (1934).A spoiled rich girl sacrifices her reputation to preserve her dead husband's memory. Cast: Constance Bennett, Herbert Marshall, Hugh Williams. Dir: Robert Z. Leonard.

Topper (1937) A fun-loving couple returns from the dead to help a henpecked husband. Cast: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young. Dir: Norman Z. McLeod. Please click to view Topper (1937) movie review.

Topper Takes a Trip (1939) A glamorous ghost helps a henpecked husband save his wife from gold-digging friends. Cast: Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke. Dir: Norman Z. McLeod.

Merrily We Live (1938). A society matron's habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants leads to romance for her daughter. Cast: Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, Billie Burke. Dir: Norman Z. McLeod.

The Unsuspected(1947), The producer of a radio crime series commits the perfect crime, then has to put the case on the air. Cast: Claude Rains, Joan Caulfield, Constance Bennett.

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