- Thomas W. Collins Jr.
Colbert, Claudette (13 September 1905?–30 July 1996), actress, was born Lily Claudette Chauchoin in Paris, France, the daughter of Georges Chauchoin, a banker, and Jeanne Loew Chauchoin. Some sources indicate that she was born in 1903. When her father's business failed around 1910, her family immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City. Her father died soon afterward, and her strong-willed grandmother became the head of the family. Colbert later recalled that her grandmother greatly influenced her own worldview: “My grandmother had taught me to avoid inferiority complexes, to go out and get what I wanted, to believe I could be and do anything I wanted. I think I was a very healthy-minded, positivist [young woman], and I can thank her for that” (quoted in Quirk, p. 7). She attended Washington Irving High School, studying design in preparation for a career in the fashion industry. She also dabbled in acting, and in 1918 she appeared in a Greenwich Village theater in ...