Never went by her birth name of Emilie; she was called Lily from her birth until she entered high school, when she switched to her middle name, Claudette.
Emigrated from her native France to New York City as a child.
Briefly attended the Art Students League before being cast in a bit part in the short-lived 1923 Broadway production The Wild Westcotts.
Earned critical acclaim for her role in the 1926 Broadway production of The Barker, made her screen debut in the 1927 flop For the Love of Mike, then returned to the stage until the more successful 1929 talkie The Hole in the Wall.
Rose to prominence in The Sign of the Cross (1932), in which, as Nero's wicked wife, she famously bathed in asses' milk.
Nearly missed accepting her Oscar for It Happened One Night in person; she had to be pulled off an outgoing train that she had boarded under the assumption that she would not win.
Returned to Europe in the 1950s to make films, and then to the Broadway stage, making just two more Hollywood productions—the 1961 film Parrish and the 1987 TV-movie The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.
1935, Oscar — Best Actress: Nominee
1988, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Winner
1987, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
1944, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
1959, Tony — Actress (Dramatic): Nominee
1934, Oscar — Best Actress: Winner
Norman Foster — Ex-husband
George Claude Chauchoin — Father
Charles — Brother
Joel Pressman — Husband (deceased)
Jeanne Chauchoin — Mother
Attended Art Students League, New York, New York, United States