|Born||Bernice Jahnigan (or Janighan, varying sources)
March 22, 1907
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Died||January 17, 2003
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
She was born Bernice Jahnigan in Oakland, California. With a clear coloratura, she took to the stage performing light opera and had no difficulty singing demanding roles. She met then-leading singer Alexander Gray and they appeared in three films together in 1930 for Warner Bros. Gray and Claire became film's first operetta team, predating Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Her first screen appearance was in the original film version of No, No, Nanette in the title role. (A post-Code version was made in 1940). The other two films she made with Gray were Spring is Here and Song of the Flame. Operettas began losing popularity with audiences so Warners tried Claire in dramatic parts without much success. Claire made several more musical shorts up through the late thirties (some again with Gray), later becoming a radio and orchestra singer. In 1934, she appeared on Broadway in a short-lived musical, The Chocolate Soldier.
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