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There is a certain balance in this world. Someone is given beauty, someone is endowed with a rare mind, someone is lucky all his life. Mother Nature generally rests on someone … But there are people to whom from birth all the blessings are sent as a dowry, and most importantly - extraordinary charisma. Such was Paulette Goddard, née Marion Pauline Levy.
On the way to Hollywood
As a little girl, Marion began her professional career. An angel with extraordinary eyes was invited to a fashionable American boutique to demonstrate children's clothing. The baby acted as if she was born on the podium: easily and naturally.
At the age of 15, she was already one of the leading dancers in the music show of the then famous theater director Siegfeld. The most beautiful girls took part in his famous productions. Famous and wealthy men came to see this luxury. Many of the dancers who worked for Siegfeld found grateful admirers, and some - husbands.
Goddard turned out to be one of the most fortunate, having found a worthy party for herself - the wealthy industrial magnate Edgar James. But the marriage based on calculation was doomed, but the so-called compensation amounted to 375 thousand dollars. Now free, wealthy, talented and incredibly beautiful, with a new stage name, Paulette boldly set out to conquer Hollywood.
At first, the girl worked as an ordinary statistician. But her chic outfits from famous French couturiers, jewelry and an expensive car did their job. Paulette began to be singled out from the crowd, she began to attend VIP events and made famous patrons. First it was the director Hap Roach, then the president of the United Artists film studio Joe Schenk, of which Charlie Chaplin was one of the founders. On Schenk's yacht, the future spouses met.
It is common knowledge that Chaplin had an amazing financial sense. Goddard went to ask him for advice: does it make sense to invest in the film the money she received in the form of alimony after the divorce. Perhaps it was a cunning female trick, but Charles fell for this hook, and realized that the beauty took a step towards it not out of materialistic motives. Since then, Chaplin never lost sight of the bright, flighty and always sparkling positive Paulette.
Together and apart
Chaplin was 21 years older than Goddard. He had two marriages behind him, leaving deep wounds in his soul. The young actress captivated him not only with her beauty, but also with human qualities and a sharp mind. The courtship period lasted two years, but the persistent girl achieved her goal. Immediately after the wedding, she moved to Chaplin's house, made friends with his sons, who simply adored her, and declared her rights as a hostess: she changed the interior and received guests.
The famous comedian was so fascinated by Goddard that he even bought her contract from another studio. She also inspired him to shoot the film "New Times". Now the marriage and work relationship merged into one and continued 24 hours a day. It took three years to create the picture. It was supposed to be sound, but it was decided not to deviate from traditions and remount it into a silent tape with musical accompaniment. The film's premiere in New York failed.
Disappointed with the audience and tired of filming, Charlie and Paulette went to rest in exotic China. Returning to America, the couple was surprised to learn that "New Times" is at the peak of its popularity. An unexpected surprise - the success of the picture - brought glory to Paulette, who played the main role in the tape, and offers to act in films fell on the girl in an endless stream. While the actress was preparing to shoot in several films at once, her husband was going through a severe creative crisis.
The professional relevance of Goddard did not give her the opportunity to support Chaplin at this difficult moment for him. She was at the peak of popularity, and for almost a year they did not see each other. In 1938, Goddard was offered the lead role in the epic Gone with the Wind. Despite the huge competition, Paulette's screen tests were excellent. For her, they already began to sew costumes, but at the last moment the actress was refused because of her marriage to the brawler Chaplin, and preference was given to the Englishwoman Vivien Leigh.
This did not upset Paulette at all, because the number of roles offered to her was growing. And Charles became depressed. During this period, his wife was cheerful, lively, self-sufficient. But it was he who made her a star. Ungrateful, she did not share his decadent moods, did not suffer with him … Soon, in her book of memoirs, Chaplin will write that then she seemed to have dried him up with her effervescence.
EpilogueIn 1939, the famous director Alexander Korda, who emigrated to Hollywood, who created such masterpieces as Lady Hamilton and The Baghdad Thief, invited Chaplin to shoot the anti-Nazi satirical film The Great Dictator. Here, in the role of Hannah (that was the name of Chaplin's mother), Charles shot Paulette.
He himself brilliantly played two roles - Hinkel (a parody of Hitler) and a modest hairdresser. The film was released in the fall of 1940 and was enthusiastically received by the public. After the premiere, Charlie and Paulette received an invitation to the White House for an audience with President Roosevelt.
However, by that time, the marriage was already deeply fractured, and the disagreements that have lasted for the past three years inevitably led to a divorce. The spouses parted without reproaches and scandals. Their last meeting took place in 1971, when 82-year-old Chaplin came from Europe to the ceremony of presenting the only Oscar in his life.
Paulette kissed Chaplin and called her "dear baby", and Charlie gave her a tender hug in response. They remained good friends. Goddard married Remarque, Chaplin was married again, but until the end of his days he retained warm gratitude to the sweet unearthly beauty who taught him to appreciate and understand the female soul.
And also to love and forgive …
The love story is also of great interest to movie lovers. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier - 20 years of love that began with a cinematic novel.