Featured Star: Carole Lombard
As Maria Tura in To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

A truly singular blend of fashionable allure and earthy wit made this sleek, smart blonde beauty the unarguable queen of '30s screwball farce, and her legacy has continue to endure long after her untimely and tragic passing. Born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she was six when her parents split and her mother relocated the brood to Los Angeles. Excelling in athletics as she matured, the twelve-year-old tomboy was spotted playing baseball in the street by director Allan Dwan, who cast her in the 1921 silent "A Perfect Murder." Within four years, Jean had left high school behind in full-time pursuit of an acting career, adopting the stage name "Carol Lombard" and procuring a contract from Fox.

Her stint there was undistinguished, and marred by a car accident that left a facial scar; she next spent a few years appearing in comic shorts for Mack Sennett. Lombard thereafter moved on to Pathe, where she successfully transitioned to sound with her lead in "High Voltage." With the advent of the '30s, the now-billed "Carole" signed with Paramount, and entered a two-year marriage with William Powell that ended amicably. She stayed busy during that period, with notables including "Man of the World," "Up Pops the Devil," "Virtue," "No Man of Her Own," and "The Eagle and the Hawk." Still, genuine career traction eluded her, until an impressed Howard Hawks cast her opposite John Barrymore in "Twentieth Century." The role gave her comic gifts free reign and lifted her into the upper echelon of performers.

The next few years found her developing her comic resume with vehicles like "We're Not Dressing," "Hands Across the Table," "Love Before Breakfast," and "The Princess Comes Across." Her next milestone came when Powell insisted upon her casting in "My Man Godfrey." Her work as the ditzy socialite who takes on not-what-he-seems vagrant Powell as a manservant help make the film a hit, and netted her one career Best Actress Oscar nomination. She followed with another gem in "Nothing Sacred" as the small-town girl who learns that she was misdiagnosed as terminally ill, but can't give up the media attention. As the thirties wound down, she entered into a celebrated romance and marriage with "No Man of Her Own" co-star Clark Gable.

Around this time, Carole was desirous of showing her range, focusing her attention on straight dramatic fare like "Made for Each Other," "In Name Only," "Vigil in the Night" and "They Knew What They Wanted." By the early '40s, she had returned to farce, personally courting Alfred Hitchcock to helm the Robert Montgomery co-starrer "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," and following up opposite Jack Benny in Ernst Lubitsch's "To Be or Not to Be." In the weeks after Pearl Harbor, however, the committed and patriotic actress began stumping the country for the sale of defense bonds. She was returning from one such trip in January 1942 when her plane crashed outside of Las Vegas.

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Pricing valid as of Saturday, February 28, 2015.
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