Ina Claire

Ina Claire
20th Century Fox

Stars

Ina Claire
Film: South side of the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Actress
Born Ina Fagan on Oct. 15, 1892 in Washington, DC
Died Feb. 21, 1985 of declining health after a stroke in San Francisco, CA

Ina Claire was an actress who achieved considerable fame in the 1920s and was once married to silent film star John Gilbert.

Theater historians credited her with being among the pioneers of the natural style instead of the declamatory style of the Edwardian period. She used natural, chatty speech.

Claire, a native of Washington, D.C., first appeared on the stage at age 13 and worked on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit before appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1915.

For 25 years, she opened a new play every other year and during her peak in the 1920s earned $5,000 a week, appearing in productions that included David Belasco's comedy "Polly With a Past" and "The Awful Truth."

Her first husband was Chicago newsman and music critic James Whittaker, whom she married in 1916 and divorced six years later. She married Gilbert in 1929, a union she later described as "my biggest mistake."

In the 1930s, she more than held her own as a favorite of the sharp-tongued New York literary set and was a good friend and foil of legendary man of letters Alexander Woolcott.

She appeared in a few films, including "Two-Faced Woman," directed by George Cukor, and "Ninothcka" with Greta Garbo, but she later said ruefully, "I'm no good in pictures."

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