Paulette Duval

Paulette Duval (1889 1951) was a French dancer and actress of the silent film era and early sound motion pictures. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1889 and raised in France. She was considered one of the most beautiful women in Paris in the early twentieth century. Paulette was recruited by Florenz Ziegfeld for the Ziegfeld Follies, which opened at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York, New York, United States, on October 15, 1923. Before joining the Follies, the French beauty was engaged with the Scandals dance productions of George White.

Fashion conscious film actress

Duval was in Hollywood film production from 1919-1933. She is widely known for her role Madame de Pompadour in Monsieur Beaucaire. Rudolph Valentino starred opposite Duval in the 1924 production based on a novel written by Booth Tarkington. In 1925 she played the role of a vamp in the film version of Cheaper to Marry. The movie was based on the noted stage play written by Samuel Shipman. Paulette played a lovely young woman who was embittered by the cynicism of the man she intended to marry. The MGM motion picture featured many of the clothes the French actress brought from Paris as well as evening attire and furs furnished by the studio costume department. From her own possessions Miss Duval gave Norma Talmadge a $5,000 headdress. Paulette introduced knee muffs to Hollywood in 1926. A fur importer, Maurice Gebber, made the muffs from Russian sable after a design by Paulette Duval. She appeared with Marion Davies in Beverly of Graustark in the spring of 1926.

Her final film was Lidoire (1933), a short film directed by Maurice Tourneur, in which Duval played the character of La Dame.

Daughter in movies

In 1952 Paulette's daughter, Jacqueline, made her motion picture debut in Red Ball Express, which features Jeff Chandler and Alex Nicol. The uniqueness of her debut had to do with the camera shot, which showed the twenty-year-old Parisienne's derrière rather than the usual facial closeup. Jacqueline is shown pedaling away on a French bicycle in the opening shot of the Universal International feature. The irony is that the young actress was under contract to MGM for the previous two years. During this time more than 3000 feet of tests were made of her facial expressions.

Partial filmography


    • "Latest In Gowns Displayed In New Leonard Picture", Evening News (Ada, Oklahoma), July 17, 1925, p. 4.
    • "American Films Provide Laughs For German Fans", Tribune And Leader Press (La Crosse, Wisconsin), October 5, 1925, p. 11.
    • "Makes Her Film Debut Backwards", Free Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California), March 7, 1952, p. A13.
    • "Now It's Bare-Knee Muffs", Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1926, p. 23.
    • "Theatrical Notes", The New York Times, October 4, 1923, p. 27.
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