Constance Bennett

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Constance Campbell Bennett
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Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965) was an American actress.


  • Chester Hirst Moorhead (m. 1921–23)
  • Philip Morgan Plant (m. 1925–29)
  • Henri de la Falaise (m. 1931–40)
  • Gilbert Roland (m. 1941–46)
  • John Theron Coulter (m. 1946–65)


  • Peter Bennett Plant
  • Lorinda Roland
  • Christina (a.k.a. Gyl) Roland

Early life

Bennett was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Richard Bennett and actress Adrienne Morrison, whose father was the stage actor Lewis Morrison (Morris W. Morris), a performer of English, Spanish, Jewish, and African ancestry. Constance's younger sister was prominent actress Joan Bennett. Their other sibling was actress/dancer Barbara Bennett.


After some time spent in a convent, Bennett went into the family business. Independent, cultured, ironic and outspoken, Constance, the first Bennett sister to enter motion pictures, appeared in New York-produced silent movies before a meeting with Samuel Goldwyn led to her Hollywood debut in Cytherea (1924). She abandoned a burgeoning career in silents for marriage to Philip Plant in 1925; She resumed her film career after their divorce, with the advent of talking pictures (1929), and with her delicate blonde features and glamorous fashion style, she quickly became a popular film star.

In the early 1930s, Bennett was second to only Greta Garbo in audience popularity polls, and for a short time, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. So successful was Bennett during this time, that RKO, Bennett's home studio at the time, controlled the careers of actresses Ann Harding and Helen Twelvetrees in a similar manner, hoping to duplicate Bennett's success. In 1931, a short-lived contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer earned her $300,000 for two movies which included The Easiest Way and made her one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. Warner Brothers paid her the all-time high salary of $30,000 a week for Bought! in 1931. Richard Bennett, her father, was also cast in this film. The next year she moved to RKO, where she acted in What Price Hollywood? (1932), directed by George Cukor, an ironic and at the same time tragic behind-the-scenes looks at the old Hollywood studio system, in which she portrayed waitress Mary Evans, who becomes a movie star. Lowell Sherman co-starred as the film director who discovers her, and Neil Hamilton as the wealthy playboy she marries. It was a critical and box office hit at the time of its release. The film Morning Glory had been written with Bennett in mind for the lead role, but producer Pandro S. Berman gave the role to Katharine Hepburn, who won an Academy Award for her performance.

Bennett next showed her versatility in the likes of Our Betters (1933), Bed of Roses (1933) with Pert Kelton, After Tonight (1933) (co-starring with future husband Gilbert Roland), The Affairs of Cellini (1934), After Office Hours (1935) with Clark Gable, the original Topper (1937, in a career standout as Marian Kerby opposite Cary Grant, a role she repeated in the 1939 sequel, Topper Takes a Trip), the ultimate madcap family comedy Merrily We Live (1938) and Two-Faced Woman (1941, supporting Greta Garbo).

By the 1940s, Bennett was working less frequently in film but was in demand in both radio and theatre. Shrewd investments had made her a wealthy woman, and she founded a cosmetics and clothing company.

After World War II

She had a major supporting role in Warner Bros.'s The Unsuspected (1947) opposite Claude Rains, in which she played the program director who helps prove that Rains is guilty of murder. She made no films from the early 1950s until 1965 when she made a comeback in the film Madame X (released posthumously in 1966) playing Lana Turner's mother-in-law. Shortly after filming was completed, Bennett collapsed and died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 60.

In recognition of her military contributions, and as the wife of Theron John Coulter, who had achieved the rank of brigadier general, she was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Coulter died in 1995 and was buried with her.

Bennett has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures, at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard, a short distance from the star of her sister, Joan.

Personal life

Bennett was married five times.

  • In 1921 Bennett eloped with Chester Hirst Moorehead of Chicago, the son of a surgeon. The marriage was annulled in 1923.
  • Bennett eloped with millionaire socialite Philip Morgan Plant (died 1941) in 1925; they divorced in 1929. In 1932, Bennett brought back from Europe a three-year-old child, whom she claimed to have adopted and named Peter Bennett Plant. In 1942, however, during a battle over a large trust fund established to benefit any descendants of her former husband, Bennett announced that her adopted son actually was her natural child by Plant, born after the divorce and kept hidden in order to ensure that the child's biological father did not get custody. During the court hearings, the actress told her former mother-in-law and her husband's widow that "if she got to the witness stand she would give a complete account of her life with Plant. The matter was settled out of court."
  • She captured numerous headlines in 1931, when she married one of Gloria Swanson's former husbands, Henri le Bailly, the Marquis de La Coudraye de La Falaise (1898–1972), a French nobleman and film director. Bennett and de la Falaise founded Bennett Pictures Corp. and co-produced two films which were the last filmed in Hollywood in the two-strip Technicolor process, Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) filmed in Bali, and Kilou the Killer Tiger (1936), filmed in Indochina. They were divorced in 1940.
  • In 1941, Bennett married the actor Gilbert Roland, with whom she had two daughters, Lorinda and Christina (a.k.a. Gyl). They were divorced in 1946.
  • In June 1946, Bennett married US Air Force Colonel (later Brigadier General) John Theron Coulter (1912–1995). After her marriage, she concentrated her efforts on providing relief entertainment to US troops still stationed in Europe, winning military honors for her services.

Bennett was the aunt of Morton Downey Jr., the son of Constance's sister Barbara.

Source: wikipedia.org

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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Richard BennettRichard BennettFather21.05.187022.10.1944
        2Adrienne MorrisonAdrienne MorrisonMother01.03.188320.11.1940
        3Joan BennettJoan BennettSister27.02.191007.12.1990
        4Barbara BennettBarbara BennettSister13.08.190608.08.1958
        5Gilbert RolandGilbert RolandHusband, Coworker11.12.190515.05.1994
        6Henry de La FalaiseHenry de La FalaiseHusband11.02.189810.04.1972
        7Morton Downey, Jr.Morton Downey, Jr.Nephew09.12.193212.03.2001
        8Addison RandallAddison RandallBrother in-law12.05.190616.07.1945
        9Walter WangerWalter WangerBrother in-law11.07.189418.11.1968
        10Gene MarkeyGene MarkeyBrother in-law11.12.189501.05.1980
        11Morton DowneyMorton DowneyBrother in-law14.11.190125.10.1985
        12Lewis MorrisonLewis MorrisonGrandfather04.09.184420.08.1906
        Rose WoodGrandmother00.00.185007.03.1932
        14Mona MarisMona MarisCoworker07.11.190323.03.1991
        15Billie BurkeBillie BurkeCoworker07.08.188414.05.1970
        16Ruth  GordonRuth GordonCoworker30.10.189628.08.1985
        17Philip ReedPhilip ReedCoworker25.03.190807.12.1996
        18Ward BondWard BondCoworker09.04.190305.11.1960
        19Robert Z. LeonardRobert Z. LeonardCoworker07.10.188927.08.1968
        20Frank MorganFrank MorganCoworker01.06.189018.09.1949
        21Lew CodyLew CodyCoworker22.02.188431.05.1934
        22Vincent PriceVincent PriceCoworker27.05.191125.10.1993
        23Oskar  HomolkaOskar HomolkaCoworker12.08.189827.01.1978
        24Cary  GrantCary GrantCoworker18.01.190429.11.1986
        25Paul LukasPaul LukasCoworker26.05.189515.08.1971
        26Samuel GoldwynSamuel GoldwynCoworker17.08.187931.01.1974
        27Bess MeredythBess MeredythCoworker12.02.189013.07.1969
        28Irene RichIrene RichCoworker13.10.189122.04.1988
        29Fay WrayFay WrayCoworker15.09.190708.08.2004
        30Neil HamiltonNeil HamiltonCoworker09.09.189924.09.1984
        31Clark  GableClark GableCoworker01.02.190116.11.1960
        32Ray MillandRay MillandCoworker03.01.190710.03.1986
        33Roland YoungRoland YoungCoworker11.11.188705.06.1953
        34Basil RathboneBasil RathboneCoworker13.06.189221.07.1967
        35Bonita GrenvilaBonita GrenvilaCoworker02.02.192311.10.1988
        36George BrentGeorge BrentCoworker15.03.190426.05.1979
        37Greta GarboGreta GarboCoworker18.09.190515.04.1990
        38Dick JonesDick JonesCoworker25.02.192707.07.2014
        39Wendy BarrieWendy BarrieCoworker18.04.191202.02.1978
        40Lana  TurnerLana TurnerCoworker08.02.192129.06.1995
        41Owen MooreOwen MooreCoworker12.12.188609.06.1939
        42John  ForsytheJohn ForsytheCoworker29.01.191801.04.2010
        43Mary AstorMary AstorCoworker03.05.190625.09.1987
        44Burgess MeredithBurgess MeredithCoworker16.11.190709.09.1997