Born 1892 in New York City, American actress, aviatrix and novelist Ruth Chatterton made her Broadway stage debut in The Great Name in 1911. Her greatest success onstage came in 1914, when she starred in the play Daddy Long Legs, adapted from the novel by Jean Webster.
Chatterton was cast in her first film role in Sins of the Fathers in 1928. Her first film for Paramount was also her first sound film, The Doctor’s Secret, released in 1929. Later that year, she starred in Madame X. The film was a critical and box-office success, and effectively launched her career. For her work in the film, Chatterton received her first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 1930, Chatterton starred in Sarah and Son. The film was another critical and financial success, and she received a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, and was voted the second female star of the year, behind only Norma Shearer, in a poll conducted by the West Coast film exhibitors. Her final film was A Royal Divorce (1938).
Chatterton was one of the few female pilots in the United States at the time. She retired from film acting but continued her career on the stage. She had several TV roles beginning in the late 1940s and became a successful novelist in the 1950s.
Chatterton died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1961 at the age of 68. For her contribution to the motion-picture industry, Ruth Chatterton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6263 Hollywood Blvd. She is also a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Ruth Chatterton from between the 1910s and 1930s.