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Ina Claire's Geni Profile

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Ina Fagan

Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: Washington D.C., DC, USA
Death: February 21, 1985 (91)
San Francisco, CA, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph Richard Fagan and Cora Fagan
Wife of William R. Wallace
Ex-wife of John Gilbert and James Whittaker

Managed by: Laura Elizabeth McLean
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ina Claire

American stage and film actress Ina Claire was a comedienne on vaudeville in pre-World War I days. She made only a few films during the silent era (beginning with The Puppet Crown, 1915), instead concentrating on her stage work. In films, she is best known as the Grand Duchess in the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy, political satire Ninotchka.

She was born Ina Fagan on October 15, 1893 in Washington, D.C. Her father died in a car accident four months before she was born. Without a breadwinner in the family, she was forced to live in a boarding house with her mother. From earliest childhood she displayed a precocious talent for impersonating other people, which eventually led to her abandonment of school at the age of seventeen.

Claire began her career appearing in vaudeville. On Broadway she was the "queen of high comedy," a sophisticated blonde with verve and panache. She performed in the musicals Jumping Jupiter and The Quaker Girl (both 1911) and Lady Luxury, and starred on Broadway in plays by some of the leading comic dramatists of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including the roles of Jerry Lamarr in Avery Hopwood's The Gold Diggers (1919), Mrs. Cheyney in Frederick Lonsdale's The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1925), Lady George Grayston in W. Somerset Maugham's Our Betters (1928), and Enid Fuller in George Kelly's The Fatal Weakness.

She returned to the screen shortly after the advent of sound in The Awful Truth (1929). Her bubbly comedic style was employed in a handful of other movies in the '30s and '40s; her last appearance was as Dorothy McGuire's courageous, doomed mother in Claudia (1943).

Her last stage appearance was as Lady Elizabeth Mulhammer in T. S. Eliot's The Confidential Clerk (1954). She was particularly identified with the high comedies of S. N. Behrman, and created the female leads in three of his plays: Biography (1934), End of Summer (1936), and The Talley Method (1941). She retired from the stage in 1954.

She was married to screen idol John Gilbert from 1929-31.

Ina Claire died on February 21, 1985 at age 91. She was an inductee in the American Theatre Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6150 Hollywood Blvd. for her contribution to the motion picture industry

Sources: Wikipedia, AMC, IMDB

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Ina Claire's Timeline

October 15, 1893
Washington D.C., DC, USA
February 21, 1985
Age 91
San Francisco, CA, USA