~Jean Arthur~

Born: October 17, 1900 in Plattsburgh, New York, USA
Died: June 19, 1991 in Carmel, California, USA
The daughter of a commercial artist, Jean Arthur became a model early in life, then went on to work
in films. Whatever self-confidence she may have built up was dashed when she was removed from
the starring role of Temple of Venus (1923) after a few days of shooting. It was the first of many
disappointments for the young actress, but she persevered and, by 1928, was being given co-starring
roles at Paramount Pictures. Arthur's curious voice, best described as possessing a lilting crack,
ensured her work in talkies, but she was seldom used to full advantage in the early '30s. Dissatisfied
with the vapid ingenue, society debutante, and damsel-in-distress parts she was getting (though she
was chillingly effective as a murderess in 1930's The Greene Murder Case), Arthur left films for
Broadway in 1932 to appear in Foreign Affairs. In 1934, she signed with Columbia Pictures, where, at
long last, her gift for combining fast-paced verbal comedy with truly moving pathos was fully utilized.
She was lucky enough to work with some of the most accomplished directors in Hollywood: Frank
Capra (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town [1936], You Can't Take It With You [1938], Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington [1939]); John Ford (The Whole Town's Talking [1935]); and Howard Hawks (Only
Angels Have Wings [1937]). Mercurial in her attitudes, terribly nervous both before and after filming
a scene -- she often threw up after her scene was finished -- and so painfully shy that it was
sometimes difficult for her to show up, she was equally fortunate that her co-workers were patient
and understanding with her .

Arthur could become hysterical when besieged by fans, and aloof and nonresponsive to reporters. In
1943, she received her only Oscar nomination for The More the Merrier (1943), the second of her two
great '40s films directed by George Stevens (Talk of the Town [1942] was the first). After her contract
with Columbia ended, she tried and failed to become her own producer. She signed to star in the
1946 Broadway play Born Yesterday -- only to succumb to a debilitating case of stage fright, forcing
the producers to replace her at virtually the last moment with Judy Holliday. After the forgettable
comedy The Impatient Years in 1944, Arthur made only two more films: Billy Wilder's A Foreign
Affair (1948), and George Stevens' classic Shane (1952). She also played the lead in Leonard
Bernstein's 1950 musical version of Peter Pan, which co-starred Boris Karloff as Captain Hook. In the
early '60s, the extremely reclusive Arthur tentatively returned to show business with a few stage
appearances and as an attorney on ill-advised 1966 TV sitcom, The Jean Arthur Show, which was
mercifully canceled by mid-season. Surprisingly, the ultra-introverted Arthur later decided to tackle
the extroverted profession of teaching drama, first at Vassar College and then the North Carolina
School of the Arts; one of her students at North Carolina remembered Arthur as "odd" and her
lectures as somewhat whimsical and rambling. Retiring for good in 1972, she retreated to her ocean
home in Carmel, CA, steadfastly refusing interviews until her resistance was broken down by the
author of a book on her one-time director Frank Capra. She died in 1991.

Biography by Hal Erickson, AllMovie.com
~Silent Filmography~
Stairs of Sand (1929) .... Ruth Hutt
Sins of the Fathers (1928) .... Mary Spengler
Brotherly Love (1928) .... Mary
Warming Up (1928) .... Mary Post
Easy Come, Easy Go (1928)
Wallflowers (1928) .... Sandra
Flying Luck (1927) .... The Girl
The Masked Menace (1927) .... Faith
The Poor Nut (1927) .... Margie Blake
Bigger and Better Blondes (1927) (B-19)
Horse Shoes (1927) .... Miss Baker
The Broken Gate (1927) .... Ruth Hale
Hello Lafayette (1927)
... aka Lafayette, Where Are We? (USA)
Husband Hunters (1927) .... Lettie Crane
Winners of the Wilderness (1927) (uncredited) .... Bit Role
The Block Signal (1926) .... Grace Ryan
The College Boob (1926) .... Angela Boothby
The Cowboy Cop (1926) .... Virginia Selby
Twisted Triggers (1926) .... Ruth Regan
Lightning Bill (1926) .... Marie Denton
Double Daring (1926) .... Marie Wells
Ridin' Rivals (1926) .... Ruth Burroughs
The Mad Racer (1926)
Eight-Cylinder Bull (1926)
The Fighting Cheat (1926) .... Ruth Wells
Born to Battle (1926) .... Eunice Morgan
The Roaring Rider (1926) (as Miss Jean Arthur) .... Mary Watkins
Under Fire (1926) .... Margaret Cranston
Thundering Through (1925) .... Ruth Burroughs
... aka A Modern Knight (UK)
The Hurricane Horseman (1925) .... June Mathews
A Man of Nerve (1925) .... Loria Gatlin
Tearin' Loose (1925) .... Sally Harris
The Fighting Smile (1925) .... Rose Craddock
The Drug Store Cowboy (1925) .... Jean
Seven Chances (1925) (uncredited) .... Receptionist at country club
Travelin' Fast (1924) .... Betty Conway
Thundering Romance (1924) .... Mary Watkins
Bringin' Home the Bacon (1924) .... Nancy Norton
Fast and Fearless (1924) .... Mary Brown
Biff Bang Buddy (1924) .... Bonnie Norton
The Iron Horse (1924) (uncredited) .... Reporter
Wine of Youth (1924) (uncredited) .... Automobile Reveler
The Powerful Eye (1924)
Case Dismissed (1924)
Spring Fever (1923/II)
Somebody Lied (1923)
The Temple of Venus (1923) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Cameo Kirby (1923) .... Ann Playdell
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