RUTH CHATTERTON: ACTRESS, AVIATOR, AUTHOR by Scott O'Brien
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In 1912, producer Henry Miller became smitten with his young discovery Ruth Chatterton. They teamed on stage in The Rainbow and for a time, off stage as well. In 1928 Hollywood beckoned. ‘Talkies’ needed ‘voices’ and Chatterton’s faultless English was her ticket to film stardom.
Nominated for Best Actress in popular tearjerkers like Madame X and Sarah and Son, Chatterton proved equally adept in feminist turn, Female. In 1936, she offered her cinematic piece de resistance as the superficial, selfish wife of Walter Huston in the Academy Award nominated Dodsworth.
A friend of Amelia Earhart, Ruth also earmarked her career as an aviator and sponsor of successful air derbies. By 1950, the actress/aviator became recognized as a novelist whose courageous, controversial work made The New York Times best-seller list. She tackled Anti-Semitism, McCarthyism, racism, and proved adept in making a positive ripple amid society’s prejudices.