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Constance Bennett

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Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965), Constance Bennett
was an American stage, film, radio and television actress. She was
a major Hollywoodstar during the 1920s and 1930s and for a time
during the early 1930s, she was the highest-paid actress in
Hollywood, as well as 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 What Price
Hollywood? (1932), Bed of Roses(1933), Topper (1937), Topper
Takes a Trip (1938), and had a prominent supporting role in Greta
Garbo's last film, Two-Faced Woman (1941).[1]

She was the daughter of stage and silent film star Richard Bennett,
and the older sister of actress Joan Bennett.[1]

Contents
1 Early life Bennett in Rockabye (1932)

2 Career Born October 22, 1904


New York City, U.S.
3 Personal life
3.1 Chester Hirst Moorehead Died July 24, 1965 (aged 60)
Fort Dix, New Jersey, U.S.
3.2 Philip Morgan Plant
Resting Arlington National Cemetery
3.3 Henri de la Falaise
place
3.4 Gilbert Roland and John Theron Coulter
Occupation Actress
4 Later career and death
Years active 1916–1965
5 Filmography
Spouse(s) Chester Hirst Moorhead
6 Notes (m. 1921; annulled 1923)
7 References Philip Morgan Plant
(m. 1925; div. 1929)
8 External links
Henri de la Falaise
(m. 1931; div. 1940)
Gilbert Roland
Early life [ edit ] (m. 1941; div. 1946)
John Theron Coulter
Constance Bennett was born in New York City, the eldest of three (m. 1946)

daughters of actress Adrienne Morrison and actor Richard Bennett. Children 3

Her younger sisters were actresses Joan Bennett and Barbara Parent(s) Richard Bennett


Bennett. All three girls attended the Chapin School in New York. [2] Adrienne Morrison
Relatives Lewis Morrison (maternal
grandfather)
Career [ edit ] Barbara Bennett (sister)
After some time spent in a Joan Bennett (sister)
Morton Downey Jr. (nephew)
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
Richard Bennett with his three the careers of actresses Ann Harding and Helen Twelvetrees in a similar
daughters (from left), Constance, Joan
and Barbara (1918)
manner, hoping to duplicate Bennett's success.[3]

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.[4] 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. Lowell Sherman and Constance Bennett
in What Price Hollywood? (1932)
Bennett next showed her versatility in the likes of Our
Betters (1933), writer/director Gregory La Cava's 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. She had
her own program, Constance Bennett Calls on You, on ABC radio in 1945-1946.[5] Shrewd investments had made
her a wealthy woman, and she founded a cosmetics and clothing company.

Personal life [ edit ]

Bennett was married five times and had three children.


Chester Hirst Moorehead [ edit ]

On June 15, 1921, Bennett eloped with Chester Hirst Moorehead


of Chicago, a student at the University of Virginia[6] who was the
son of an oral surgeon.[7]They were married by a justice of the
peace in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bennett was 17 at the
time.[6][note 1][8][note 2][9] A New York Times article that reported the
elopement noted, "The parents of Miss Bennett were opposed to
their marriage at this time solely on account of their youth."[6] The
marriage was annulled in 1923.[note 3][9]

Philip Morgan Plant [ edit ]

Bennett's next serious relationship was with millionaire socialite


Philip Morgan Plant. Her parents planned a cruise to Europe,
taking Constance with them, to separate the couple. As the ship
was preparing to leave port, however, the Bennetts saw Plant and
his parents boarding, too. A contemporary newspaper article
reported, "Now the little beauty and the heir to all the Plant millions Bennett and her daughters, with a portrait
were assured a week of the cosy intimacy which an ocean liner of herself and her son (1944)
affords."[8]In November 1925, the two eloped and were married in
Greenwich, Connecticut, by the same justice of the peace who officiated at Bennett's wedding to
Moorehead.[10] They divorced in a French court[11] in 1929.[12]

In 1932, Bennett returned from Europe with a three-year-old child, whom she claimed to have adopted and
named Peter Bennett Plant (born 1929). 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 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.[13][14]

Henri de la Falaise [ edit ]

In 1931, Bennett made headlines when she married one of Gloria Swanson's former husbands, Henri le Bailly,
the Marquis de La Coudraye de La Falaise,[15]a French nobleman and film director. She 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.[16]

Gilbert Roland and John Theron Coulter [ edit ]

Bennett's fourth marriage was to actor Gilbert Roland. They were married in 1941 and had two daughters,
Lorinda (b. 1938) and Christina "Gyl" (b. 1941);[note 4][15] they divorced in 1946. Later that year, Bennett married
for the fifth and final time to US Air Force Colonel (later Brigadier General) John Theron Coulter.[15] 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 and Coulter remained married until her death in 1965.

Later career and death [ edit ]

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She had a major supporting role in Warner Bros' The Unsuspected (1947) opposite Claude Rains, in which she
played Jane Moynihan, the program director who helps prove that radio host Victor Grandison (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) as the blackmailing mother-in-law of "Madame X" (Lana Turner).

Shortly after filming was completed, on July 25, 1965, 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 motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the film industry. Her
star is located at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard,[17] a short distance from the star of her sister, Joan.