Ruth Chatterton is remembered as one of the most sophisticated beauties of the pre-code era of American film, and her refined and often chilly beauty is showcased wonderfully in this evocative portrait by the renowned Russell Ball. Signed in grease pencil by the photographer, this large format, marginless print was created for Chatterton’s personal collection, and this was printed by Ball himself and captures the spirit of subject, artist, and the art deco moment in which it was created.
Biography by All Movie Guide
Ruth Chatterton was a dignified, sophisticated, brittle, blonde leading lady. At age 12, she debuted on stage in a stock production, reached Broadway by age 18, then triumphed at 20 as the star of “Daddy Long Legs.” She didn’t break into films until her mid-30s, starting with “Sins of the Fathers” (1928) opposite Emil Jannings. She was subsequently nominated for “Best Actress” Oscars for her work in Madame X (1929) and Sarah and Son (1930), but is perhaps best remembered as Walter Huston’s spoiled, selfish wife in Dodsworth (1936), after the making of which she left Hollywood. She went on to appear in two British productions, then retired from the screen. She continued a successful and variety-filled career on the stage, once directing a play but more usually starring in Broadway productions. She authored a Broadway play, Monsieur Brotonneau (1930), as well as several novels in the ’50s. Chatterton was also a licensed pilot who flew her own plane cross-country. She was married three times, each time to an actor: Ralph Forbes (1924-32), George Brent (1932-34), and Barry Thomson (1942-his death in 1960).