Claire Luce

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b. 15 October 1903, near Syracuse, New York, USA, d. 31 August 1989, New York City, New York, USA. Luce was born on board a train that was passing through Syracuse at the time. She first appeared on Broadway…
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b. 15 October 1903, near Syracuse, New York, USA, d. 31 August 1989, New York City, New York, USA. Luce was born on board a train that was passing through Syracuse at the time. She first appeared on Broadway in Little Jessie James (1923) and then was in Dear Sir and Music Box Revue (both 1924) before appearing in a Florenz Ziegfeld revue, No Foolin’ (1926). This was followed by an appearance in the Eddie Cantor vehicle Ziegfeld Follies Of 1927. After this she appeared in dramas including Scarlet Pages (1929) and Society Girl (1931). Then, in 1932, she was in the Cole Porter musical Gay Divorce, co-starring with Fred Astaire who had only recently ended his 25-year partnership with his sister Adele Astaire. Luce thus became his first new partner and, as it happened, his last on Broadway because he would soon hereafter go to Hollywood. On Broadway, the new musical ran for 248 performances before Astaire and Luce went to London, along with supporting actors Erik Rhodes and Eric Blore, for another 180 performances. Among the songs Luce sang was a duet with Astaire, ‘I’ve Got You On My Mind’.

While in London Luce also appeared in dramas and made a film, Over She Goes (1938), in which she co-starred with Stanley Lupino and in which Laddie Cliff, Gina Malo, Sally Gray, Syd Walker and boxer Max Baer also appeared. She returned to Broadway and another straight play, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men (1937), before returning to London to reprise her role in the play as Curley’s wife. With the outbreak of World War II, Luce opted to remain in the city throughout the worst months of the Blitz, entertaining soldiers. She also appeared in Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew (1942) and continued to play leading roles in Shakespeare in the UK and also performed a one-woman show of Shakespearean roles. Luce also returned to Broadway for appearances in Portrait In Black (1947), With A Silk Thread (1950) and more Shakespeare with Much Ado About Nothing (1952).