vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Mistaken for a Jetta (and no, not the car)

Yesterday's entry dealt with a "personality portrait" of Carole Lombard now being auctioned by Heritage Auction Galleries. As part of the research, I discovered more than 60 Lombard items auctioned off in recent years.

One item in particular, from a 2006 auction, caught my eye. It's a photograph of Lombard taken by Otto Dyar during her first few years at Paramount:

The photo itself isn't all that unusual, or uncommon. What makes it stand out is the label on the package it's enclosed in:

"Lost Hollywood Collection" is right.

This could be explained as a simple goof by someone whose knowledge of film history was lacking...but on the back, it is clearly stamped as a photo of Paramount's Carole Lombard.

So, now you're wondering, who was Jetta Goudal? And just what was "Business And Pleasure"?

Well, first of all, her first name is not pronounced like the Volkswagen car of recent years (which derives from the German word for jet stream); it is pronounced Zah-hetta Goo-dol. And here's what she looked like:

As you can tell, Goudal, exotic in appearance and a stately 5-foot-7, looked nothing at all like Lombard.

Goudal's story is quite interesting. She was a major star in the 1920s, as audiences considered her the epitome of Parisian chic. But like the later star Merle Oberon, she hid her origins; she was not from Paris at all, but the daughter of a Orthodox Jewish diamond cutter from Amsterdam. Furthermore, she was actually born Juliette Henriette Goudeket on July 12, 1891 -- a full decade older than her professed birth date.

Goudal had worked on the stage in Europe during the teens, emigrating to the U.S. after World War I and giving herself a new identity. By 1921, she was appearing on Broadway, and after two small films, she was hired by Cecil B. DeMille, who put her on screen several times in the mid-twenties, usually in femme fatale roles.

While Goudal became a popular star, she soon also gained a reputation as difficult to work with. An infuriated DeMille terminated her contract with him; she in turn filed a lawsuit against DeMille -- and won, an important boost for actors' rights. But by this time, Goudal's star had waned. and the arrival of talking films didn't help matters (her accent was noticeable).

"Business And Pleasure," a Fox comedy from 1932, turned out to be the final film she ever made. One of Will Rogers' less remembered vehicles, he plays an American businessman on a Mediterrean cruise, with Goudal playing a slinky villainness. The cast also includes Joel McCrea and Boris Karloff.

Goudal, who made the film when she was 40 in real life, had married art director Harold Grieve in 1930. After retiring from the screen, she went into the interior decorating business. A fall in 1973 left her an invalid, and she died in Los Angeles in January 1985 at age 93.

By the way, despite the error on the label, that Lombard photo sold for $920.

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