Paulette Goddard is ‘Modern Times’ Movie Star

January 3, 2009

Paulette Goddard was a screen legend in Hollywood. She was also the wife of Charlie Chaplin and starred with him in the 1936 silent film Modern Times. Read Paulette Goddard’s biography below, see a photo and a video.

Paulette Goddard

Legendary film actress Paulette Goddard and Charlie Chaplin are starring in ‘Modern Times’ this weekend on TCM. It is Charlie Chaplin’s last silent film.

Marion Pauline Levy or ‘Paulette Goddard’ was born on June 3, 1910 in Whitestone Landing, Queens, New York. She died on April 23, 1990 in Ronco sopra Ascona, Ticino, Switzerland at the age of 79.

Paulette Goddard was an Oscar-nominated movie and theatre actress. A former child fashion model and in several Broadway productions as Ziegfeld Girl, she was a major star of the Paramount Studio in the 1940’s. She was married to several notable men, including Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith and Erich Maria Remarque.

In 1929 she came to Hollywood with her mother after signing a contract with Hal Roach Studios, and appeared in small parts of several films over the next few years, starting with Laurel & Hardy shorts.

At Samuel Goldwyn Productions, she also joined other such future notables as Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Ann Sothern, and Jane Wyman as “Goldwyn Girls” with Eddie Cantor in films such as The Kid from Spain, Roman Scandals and Kid Millions.

In 1932, she met Charlie Chaplin and began an eight-year personal and professional relationship with him. Chaplin bought Goddard’s contract from Roach Studios and cast her as a street urchin opposite his Tramp character in the 1936 film Modern Times, which made Goddard a star. During this time she lived with Chaplin in his Beverly Hills home.

Their actual marital status was and has remained a source of controversy and speculation. During most of their time together, both refused to comment on the matter. At the premier of The Great Dictator in 1940, Chaplin first introduced Goddard as his wife. The couple split amicably soon afterward, and Goddard allegedly obtained a divorce in Mexico in 1942, with Chaplin agreeing to a generous settlement. For years afterward, Chaplin stated that they were married in China in 1936, but to private associates and family, he claimed they were never legally married, except in common law.

Other movies that Paulette Goddard starred in included: The Young in Heart, Dramatic School, The Women, The Cat and the Canary, The Great Dictator, Second Chorus, Star Spangled Rhythm, Kitty, The Diary of a Chambermaid, and Time of Indifference. Her last acting role was in the TV movie, The Snoop Sisters in 1972.

She received her only Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, in 1944 for So Proudly We Hail!.

Paulette Goddard died a few months before her 80th birthday, following a short battle with emphysema. In her will, she left $20 million to New York University in recognition of her friendship with the Indiana-born politician and former NYU President John Brademas. Goddard Hall, an NYU freshman residence hall on Washington Square, is named in her honor.

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One Response to “Paulette Goddard is ‘Modern Times’ Movie Star”

  1. 1
    Steve Says:

    For a new biography of Chaplin go to