Today is the 106th birthday of Carole Lombard. My Man Godfrey is one of my favorite movies and part of that reason is because of Carole Lombard. She is perfection. Her life story is one of those that even Hollywood couldn’t make up and have people believe.
NAME: Carole Lombard
OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Pin-up
BIRTH DATE: October 06, 1908
DEATH DATE: January 16, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Wayne, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Las Vegas, Nevada
ORIGINALLY: Jane Alice Peters
BEST KNOWN FOR: Carole Lombard starred in comedic films during the 1930s. She married actor Clark Gable in 1939, but died in a tragic plane accident a few years later.
Carole Lombard was an American actress. She is particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time and was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US $500,000 per year (more than five times the salary of the US President). Lombard’s career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 in a plane crash while returning from a World War II Bond tour.
Queen of the 1930s screwball comedies, she personified the anxiety of a nervous age. Graham Greene praised the “heartbreaking and nostalgic melodies” of her faster-than-thought delivery. “Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, she wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey.”
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the 50 greatest American female screen legends. She received one Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, for My Man Godfrey. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6930 Hollywood Blvd.
Lombard’s Fort Wayne childhood home has been designated a historic landmark. The city named the nearby bridge over the St. Mary’s River the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge.
“I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!”
Carole Lombard’s Golden Rules:
1. Play Fair.
“You’ll find that men usually play fair,” Carole said. “It’s all very well to say that you want to back out of a bargain because you’ve changed your mind. That’s supposed to be a woman’s privilege. But men don’t play the game that way. A man who says he’ll do a thing and then reneges, is soon put where he belongs, out in the cold.
“If I say I’ll do something, I make it stick.”
2. Don’t Brag.
“Men can brag,” Carole points out, “but that’s where a woman can’t do what men do, and still be feminine. No man will endure listening to a girl boast about how smart she is.”
3. Obey the Boss.
“A career girl who competes with men has to learn that rule — or else. If she won’t accept discipline, or bow to the rules of the institution and take orders, she can’t succeed. I know that the picture director knows best. I remember when I was making ‘My Man Godfrey’ with William Powell. Gregory La Cava was directing. One day he was ill, but he insisted that work go on while he rested.
“‘You know what to do,’ he told us. ‘Just pretend I’m there and go ahead.’
“Well, it didn’t work. Bill and I were used to taking orders because it’s part of the discipline of the studio. It was a simple scene, we knew what to do, but the director wasn’t there and we felt lost. Somebody has to be the boss in every big enterprise, and if the boss is absent the business soon comes to a halt.”
4. Take Criticism.
“Men have learned to take criticism, that is, the successful men. The ones who flare up and go home mad are the kind who never get the last installment paid on the radio.
“Here again the movies have taught me. I have learned to take criticism and stand up to it like a man. Yet a woman will simply burn if you hint that the hat she’s got on doesn’t look quite perfect, or that she might, just might, have led from the queen, jack, ten instead of tossing in an eight spot.
“I went to a showing of the first rough cut of ‘Swing High, Swing Low,’ in a small college town.
“In the tragic scene, where I screwed up my face to cry (I can’t help it if I look that way when I cry), the audience laughed. When I really turned it on and emoted, they howled. It was heartbreaking. I felt like crawling under the seats and losing myself among the gum and other useless things.
“But I had to take it. If you’re playing according to masculine rules, which is required of any girl with a career, you’ve got to accept criticism and profit by it. Otherwise how could you become a singer, decorator, painter or private secretary? I learned something from that experience, too. I’m best if I top off tears with a laugh. A star who is too big for criticism sooner or later loses out. That goes for working women, too.”
5. Love is Private.
“When it comes to your personal life, such as love and romance, girls should take a tip from the men and keep their affairs to themselves. Any man worth his salt regards his private life as his own. To kiss a girl and run and tell would mark him as a cad. Why doesn’t that apply to girls also?”
6. Work — And Like It!
All women should have something worthwhile to do,” says Carole, “and cultivate efficiency at it, whether it’s housekeeping or raising chickens.
“Working women are interesting women. And they’re easier to live with. Idle women who can think of nothing to do with their time are dangerous to themselves and to others. The only ‘catty’ women I’ve known were idlers, with nothing to do but gossip and make trouble.”
7. Pay Your Share.
“Nobody likes a man who is always fumbling when it’s time to pay the check,” Carole points out. “I think the woman who assumes that the man can afford to pay for everything is making a mistake. More and more the custom of the Dutch treat is coming in vogue, particularly among working men and women. You don’t have to surrender your femininity if you pay your share of the bills.”
8. The Cardinal Virtue
“–Is a sense of humor,” says Carole. “Do you laugh in the right places? Then, you’ll get along, in fair weather or foul. Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things. Something that’s out of proportion, like an inflated ego, should strike you funny, particularly if it’s your own inflated ego. Otherwise you are pathetic and quite hopeless.”
9. Be Consistent.
“By that,” remarks Carole, “I mean you should take a hint from the men. They are terribly consistent, as a rule. You can tell what they’ll do in any given circumstance.
“If a girl puts her best foot forward at the office, she shouldn’t change steps when she gets home. A career girl must be neatly turned out, even-tempered and willing to take orders at work, and there’s no reason why she must check these virtues with her hat and coat when she leaves her place of business.
“I manage to add enough inconsistency to my behavior at the studio so that I’m the same there as at home; inclined to blow off steam at odd moments or be very demure and sweet-tempered — just to keep ‘em guessing. In fact I’ve got myself guessing. I don’t quite know which way I am. That’s being consistently inconsistent, anyway.
“Men are about the same at home as they are at work. Don’t say it’s because they lack the imagination to be otherwise — just take the hint. Men are creatures of habit and comfort, and they are puzzled and disturbed by change. That’s why so many of them marry their stenographers; it’s in hope of finding the same efficiency at home as at the office. They are supreme optimists.
“If you go into the business world to meet male competition, then you’ve got to play the game more or less according to their rules.
“By doing that, I’ve found that any intelligent girl can get along very well. About the only important difference I’ve noticed is in the problem of travel; men can travel alone easier than women. However, old habits of transportation are changing and the comfort of women is more and more the concern of air, railroad and bus travel.”
10. Be Feminine.
“All of this,” Carole declares, “does not keep you from preserving your femininity. You can still be insane about a particular brand of perfume, and weep when you get a run in your favorite pair of stockings.
“You can still have fits when the store sends out the very shade of red drapes you did not order, and which swear horribly at the red in the davenport. But when you go down to complain, be a man about it.
“All of which sums up to this. Play fair and be reasonable. When a woman can do that, she’ll make some man the best manager he ever found, or wind up running a whole department store. And being a woman, thank heaven you still have that choice!”