Edna Purviance's bio

Currently working on Edna Purviance's family biography. Draft is done. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paulette Goddard - Striking Blonde Chairwoman

From the file...

Charlie Chaplin fans know Paulette Goddard as the beautiful brunette leading lady in ‘Modern Times’ and ‘The Great Dictator.’ But when Chaplin met Paulette, she was the beautiful blond the press was rumoring about in Hollywood.

In 1926 (before Chaplin), Paulette was a dancer in the Ziegfeld Chorus, but a comment by Mr. Ziegfeld lead her to Chairwoman and spoke person of the Striking Blonde Committee.
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Peeved Blonds to Strike
Ziegfeld Chorus Members Angry at Producer for His Statement Lauding Brunettes

New York - July 23, 1926 - The blond members of the chorus of Ziegfeld’s revue have organized and voted to strike next Wednesday unless Mr. Ziegfeld retracts his utterance that men prefer brunettes and titians.

The committee women, who were appointed today to represent the blonde organization, declare that the disparaging remarks of the producer threatened to decrease the earning power of every blonde actress and chorus girl on the stage. Mr. Ziegfeld is declared to have said, “a few blondes are enough.”

Besides taking a position on the brunette side is the current controversy the committee asserted that Mr. Ziegfeld has proceeded to enlist an all-brunette chorus for his next production.

“If anyone thinks this is a joke or a publicity stunt, he is in error,” said Paulette Goddard, chairwoman of the striking blonde committee.

“When Mr. Ziegfeld denies that blondes are popular and when he seeks to exclude them from his next show the effect on us is extremely serious. Our blonde complexion is our capital, and when Mr. Ziegfeld rates us below brunettes and titians he hurts our standing.

If his views are followed by other producers, as they are likely to be, it may become hard for blondes to obtain positions. Mr. Ziegfeld’s attempt to influence the public against blondes not only has hurt our feelings but caused us to be worried about our future.

At our meeting, which was attended by more than twenty blond members of the chorus we voted unanimously to go on strike unless Mr. Ziegfeld retracted and raised the salaries of all blonds in his chorus 50 per cent. We want the extra salary as compensation for the injury done us but what we are most concerned about is vindication.

There is no doubt at all the blonds are more popular than brunettes. Everybody knows that. Mr. Ziegfeld has no right to say anything different.”
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A few years later in Hollywood, Paulette would find her name connected to the same topic again, as a Hollywood actor has his say on the matter of blondes vs. brunettes.
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September 18, 1933 - Los Angeles - Grace Kingsley
Brunettes are coming back into favor with men!”

So says Douglass Montgomery, who, by the way, is going away to Lake Arrowhead on location today, playing the lead in Paramount’s “Eight Girls in a Boat.”

And he will be the only man in that “rosebud garden of girls.” More than eight, too - in fact, there will be no fewer than twenty! But chaperoned, oh, dear, yes.

So we can see from Douglass’s remarks that the blondes are going to fare badly at his hands, so far as attention goes.

“Blondes all look alike, for one thing,” said Montgomery. “When I leave one I have just met, I never can remember how she looks! But brunettes - ah, they are different. They give the impression of genuineness and therefore of sincerity.

“Notice how all the synthetic blondes are turning brunette again? Lola Lane, Paulette Goddard, Bebe Daniels, Joan Crawford. And the brunettes who are staying married? Kay Francis, Irene Dunne, Mary Astor, Bebe Daniels, Florence Eldridge, Arline Judge, Claudette Colbert and a lot of others...
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Follow-up: Paulette Goddard met Charlie Chaplin in July 1932, after Chaplin returned from his world tour. She was a blond when they first met, but Charlie convinced Paulette to change back to her natural brunette hair for his lead role in his new film.

She made a successful career as a brunette and almost played one of the most famous roles as a brunette, Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind.'

As for Chaplin, Hetty Ketty was the brunette he could never get out of his mind. Many of his leading ladies were brunettes.

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