Born 1900 as Gladys Georgianna Greene in Plattsburgh, New York, American actress Jean Arthur had her career beginning in silent films in the 1920s and lasted until the early 1950s.
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Arthur had feature roles in three Frank Capra films: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can’t Take It with You (1938), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), films that championed the “everyday heroine”. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1944 for her performance in The More the Merrier (1943).
James Harvey wrote in his history of the romantic comedy: “No one was more closely identified with the screwball comedy than Jean Arthur. So much was she part of it, so much was her star personality defined by it, that the screwball style itself seems almost unimaginable without her.” She has been called “the quintessential comedic leading lady”. Her last film performance was non-comedic, playing the homesteader’s wife in George Stevens’s Shane in 1953.
Arthur was known as a reclusive woman. News magazine Life observed in a 1940 article: “Next to Garbo, Jean Arthur is Hollywood’s reigning mystery woman.” As well as recoiling from interviews, she avoided photographers and refused to become a part of any kind of publicity. She died from heart failure in 1991 at the age of 90.
Take a look at these gorgeous photos to see the beauty of young Jean Arthur in the 1920s and 1930s.