The 100 Greatest Funny People in Entertainment History #100-91

95. Claudette Colbert

Usually , actresses who appear in comedies for the calendar year aren’t very likely to be getting an invite when Oscar time swings around. No one knows why that is for sure. The Academy seem to have a narrow view of comedy.

In 1934, actress Claudette Colbert, no relation to future entrant Stephan Colbert, blew that notion apart when she won a Best Actress award for the Frank Capra classic It Happened One Night. Already a star at the time, Colbert co-starred opposite Clark Gable. The film, a comedy, invaded the Academy Awards and swept the major awards at the 1935 ceremony. Joining Colbert in the winners circle was Clark Gable (Best Actor), the film (Best Picture), Robert Riskin (Best Adapted Screenplay), and Frank Capra (Best Director).

Colbert was as comfortable with comedy as she was with dramatic parts. How funny Claudette Colbert is in person may rightly be debated. However, given the quality of her performances in comedies, she can play a person who is funny. Thus, we are suckered in.

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