La Varenne Saint Hilaire, Val-de-Marne, France
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She arrived in the U.S. at a time when a great surge of foreign feminine mystique was invading Hollywood, led by Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich. A stunning and exceptionally gifted star beloved in her native France, Annabella was thrown into a string of mediocre films by her studio during her brief Hollywood courtship and, in the end, became better known as Mrs. Tyrone Power than as the high-quality talent she was.
Born Suzanne Georgette Charpentier, the daughter of a magazine publisher, in La Varenne Saint Hilaire, France, on July 14, 1909 (although sources vary the years from 1904 to 1913), Annabella appeared in Abel Gance`s legendary silent epic Napoléon (1927). Director René Clair immediately recognized her gamine appeal and photogenic allure, casting her in his classic Le million (1931). European stardom was hers.
Although only in her 20s, she was already a widow (due to the death of husband Albert Sorre, a writer) with a young daughter, Anne, to support. She pursued her career with ardent dedication and passion. She appeared on the stages of Berlin and Vienna and continued her professional association with director Clair by giving a superb performance in Quatorze Juillet (1933) [July 14th]. She continued to shine working alongside the likes of Charles Boyer, Jean Gabin, Albert Préjean and Jean Murat. Her popularity was further heightened by a successful association with writer/director Pál Fejös.
She first arrived in America to shoot a French-language version of a Hollywood film and began mastering English from that point on. Instead of settling in Hollywood, however, she headed to London and away from the Hollywood glitz. She had appeared earlier with Jean Murat in Paris-Méditerranée (1932) and Mademoiselle Josette, ma femme (1933), and the couple married in 1934. She won the Venice Film Festival Award for her glorious performance in Veille d`armes (1935) [Sacrifice of Honor] and went on to appear with Murat in two other pictures -- Anatole Litvak`s L`équipage (1935) [Flight Into Darkness] and Anne-Marie (1936).
Hollywood beckoned again, this time courtesy of 20th Century-Fox, but the open-faced, ash-blonde beauty continued to resist. They finally arrived on a settlement of sorts -- she would agree to make English-speaking films with the studio but only if they were made in England. Her English-speaking debut was opposite Henry Fonda in Wings of the Morning (1937), which was quite successful. It was the first Technicolor feature ever shot in England and Annabella looked every inch the star.
As her following American movies were given their release, such as Under the Red Robe (1937) with Conrad Veidt and Raymond Massey and Dinner at the Ritz (1937) with Paul Lukas and David Niven, Annabella was drawn into the Hollywood maelstrom despite her desire for privacy. This privacy would be shattered dramatically after the still-married French actress met and fell hard for the studio`s main attraction, Tyrone Power. From that time forward, the soon-to-be-divorced Annabella and Power became prime objects of tabloid frenzy. They finally married on April 23, 1939. Hounded by an ever-curious public, the couple soon began having marital troubles, complicated by their inevitable time apart for filming and his war service. His numerous affairs only compounded their problems. She bravely kept a strong front and continued filming, but her vehicles were not up to par. The Baroness and the Butler (1938) with William Powell, Suez (1938), which she filmed with her husband, and Bridal Suite (1939) with Robert Young did little to bolster her American career. After Tonight We Raid Calais (1943) and Bomber`s Moon (1943), she ended her contract with 13 Rue Madeleine (1947), and then she was gone.
Divorcing Power in January of 1948, she returned to Europe. Her last French film was released in 1952. Her only child Anne would find love and heartbreak married to the Austrian actor Oskar Werner who self-destructed from depression and chronic alcoholism. Annabella`s last years were spent quietly, volunteering at one point in prison welfare. She died of a heart attack at Neuilly sur Seine on September 18, 1996, at the age of 87.
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Suzanne Georgette Charpentier
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Annabella (14 July 1907 – 18 September 1996) was a French cinema actress who appeared in 46 films between 1927 and 1952, including some Hollywood films during the late 1930s and 1940s.
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==D'Annabella== (Suzanne Georgette Charpentier)
==Annabella== (14 July 1907 – 18 September 1996) was a French cinema actress who appeared in 46 films between 1927 and 1952, including some Hollywood films during the late 1930s and 1940s.
===Life and career=== ===Annabella was born=== Suzanne Georgette Charpentier in La Varenne Saint Hilaire, France. Annabella's chance to enter films came when her father entertained a film producer who gave her a small part in Abel Gance's great classic Napoléon (1927). It was not until she starred in René Clair's Le Million (1931) that she was critically acclaimed and over the following decade established herself as one of France's most popular cinema actresses. For Sacrifice d'honneur (Veille d'armes, 1935), she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival in 1936.
===She was cast=== as the female lead in the British-made film Wings of the Morning (1937) with Henry Fonda. Under contract to 20th Century Fox, she traveled to America and appeared in Suez (1938) with Loretta Young and Tyrone Power. Her romance with Power was widely reported by movie magazines of the day. Darryl F. Zanuck, movie mogul at 20th Century Fox, did not want his matinee idol married. He offered Annabella a multi-movie deal that would take her overseas. She refused to leave Power, and on completion of Suez (1938), she returned to France to obtain a divorce from her then-husband, Jean Murat. She and Power married on 23 April 1939. The two honeymooned in Rome. Within a few months, Annabella and Power had again flown to Europe to bring Annabella's mother back to live in their home, while her father and brother remained behind. Her brother was ultimately shot and killed by the Nazis. Annabella made a return trip to bring her daughter, Anne, back from France to live with them. Power adopted Anne before leaving for service in the United States Marine Corps in August 1942. Anne Power later married actor Oskar Werner.
===Darryl F. Zanuck,=== angry with her for marrying his top box office star, did not cast her in movies despite Annabella’s contract with 20th Century-Fox. Annabella was also not loaned out to other studios. She and Power appeared together in the play Liliom in New Haven, Connecticut. While Power was away during his war service, Annabella appeared in Blithe Spirit in Chicago. On Broadway, she received excellent notices for her work in Jacobowsky and the Colonel, directed by Elia Kazan, in 1944. Annabella also embarked on an affair with author Roald Dahl; she had refused to give Power a divorce to marry Judy Garland, and her marriage was strained. Dahl told his wife, Liccy, that it was an intense and passionate relationship, during which Dahl learned a lot about sex from the actress.
===When Power=== returned from the war, the couple decided to try to make their marriage work once again. Annabella again worked in films, playing the female lead in 13 Rue Madeleine (1947) with James Cagney. She and Power finally divorced in 1948, and Annabella returned to France. She appeared in film director José Luis Sáenz de Heredia's Spanish version of Don Juan (1950), and her final film was released in 1952. After a 1954 television appearance in the American series Suspense, she retired.
===Annabella=== and Tyrone Power remained very close, and after his divorce from Linda Christian, he attempted to reconcile with her, confessing that in giving her up, he had made a terrible mistake. However, Annabella refused. Power informed her that he would not take the elevator to leave her apartment, but the stairs, in case she changed her mind and called him back. She did not.
===Annabella=== died in 1996 after suffering a heart attack in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, aged 89, and was interred in Passy Cemetery.
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