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Karen Arthur

Karen Arthur

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After a brief time on the New York stage, Jean Arthur made her feature film debut in John Ford's "Cameo Kirby" (1923) and appeared as an ingenue in numerous low-budget silent westerns and comedy shorts. Arthur's smooth transition to sound was aided by her nasal voice, sometimes sexy, other times squeaky, and she won immense popularity in John Ford's "The Whole Town's Talking" (1935). A deft comedienne and prickly, sometimes tomboyish heroine, she hit her peak post-1935 playing a string of down-to-earth, independent types, often working women, and costarring in three celebrated Frank Capra films: "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), "You Can't Take It with You" (1938) and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939).With her increased prestige, Arthur chose her later roles wisely, her last decade of work including Billy Wilder's superior romantic comedy "A Foreign Affair" (1948) and the George Stevens classics "The Talk of the Town" (1942), "The More the Merrier" (1943) and "Shane" (1953). The latter was her final film, made after a five year absence from the screen. Her acting work from the 1950s on was intermittent, somewhat curtailed by Arthur's longstanding shyness and discomfort about her chosen profession....

After a brief time on the New York stage, Jean Arthur made her feature film debut in John Ford's "Cameo Kirby" (1923) and appeared as an ingenue in numerous low-budget silent westerns and comedy shorts. Arthur's smooth transition to sound was aided by her nasal voice, sometimes sexy, other times squeaky, and she won immense popularity in John Ford's "The Whole Town's Talking" (1935). A deft comedienne and prickly, sometimes tomboyish heroine, she hit her peak post-1935 playing a string of down-to-earth, independent types, often working women, and costarring in three celebrated Frank Capra films: "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), "You Can't Take It with You" (1938) and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939).

With her increased prestige, Arthur chose her later roles wisely, her last decade of work including Billy Wilder's superior romantic comedy "A Foreign Affair" (1948) and the George Stevens classics "The Talk of the Town" (1942), "The More the Merrier" (1943) and "Shane" (1953). The latter was her final film, made after a five year absence from the screen. Her acting work from the 1950s on was intermittent, somewhat curtailed by Arthur's longstanding shyness and discomfort about her chosen profession. She did occasional stage work (such as a charming turn as "Peter Pan"), a try at a TV series (the short-lived "The Jean Arthur Show" 1966), and much time teaching acting at the university level.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
  Locket, The (2002)
5.
  Lost Child, The (2000) Director
6.
  Staircase, The (1998) Director
7.
  Labor of Love (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Not My Daughter (1975)
2.
 Murdock's Gang (1973) Ryler'S Secretary
3.
 Like It Is (1970) Stepmother
4.
 Winning (1969) Miss Dairy Queen
5.
 A Guide for the Married Man (1967) Lady dinner partner
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Education

Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1974

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