Claire Dodd

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Claire Dodd
Born Dorothy Arlene Dodd
(1911-12-29)December 29, 1911
Baxter, Iowa, U.S.
Died November 23, 1973(1973-11-23) (aged 61)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1930–1942
Spouse(s) Jack Milton Strauss (1931–1938; divorced); 1 child
H. Brand Cooper (1942–1973; her death); 4 children

Claire Dodd (December 29, 1911 – November 23, 1973) was an American film actress.

Life and work[edit]

Born Dorothy Arlene Dodd on December 29, 1911 [1] in Baxter, Iowa, she was the daughter of Walter W. Dodd, a farmer whose family were early Jasper County pioneers, and his wife, Ethel V. (née Cool) Dodd, daughter of Baxter Postmaster Peter J. Cool. As Dorothy Dodd, she attended school in Baxter. When her parents later separated in Montana, she went to California, where she worked as a model in Los Angeles and auditioned for minor film roles. She moved to New York City to study singing and dancing. She joined the Ziegfeld Follies where she was discovered by Darryl F. Zanuck.

Some confusion has led to Dodd's birthplace being listed as Des Moines, Iowa. Early in her career, Dodd applied for a passport in preparation for a trip to Europe, and was reported as saying she only knew she was born in Iowa. Whether an attempted bit of publicity, she wound up with plenty in her home state. Dodd had numerous relatives who still lived in and around Baxter when her apparent memory lapse was reported in the Register & Tribune's Iowa News Service on April 29, 1935. Locals were in an uproar for a time, spurred on by newspaper editorials taking the incident as an insult to a small town in rural Iowa. Deputy Jasper County Clerk John B. Norris quickly sent a copy of her birth certificate to Dodd by registered mail to end the question.

Dodd went on to work for Warner Brothers, Parmount and Universal studios in over sixty films in twelve years, from 1930 to 1942. She twice played secretary Della Street to Warren William's Perry Mason, in The Case of the Curious Bride (1935), and The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936). One of her last films was Abbott and Costello's In the Navy (film) (1941), in which she played opposite Dick Powell.


In 1931 Claire married John Milton Strauss, an investment banker. She gave birth to her first child, Jon Michael Strauss in 1936, much to the surprise of many in the film business who didn't even know she was married, let alone pregnant. They divorced in 1938.

Claire retired from the industry and married H. Brand Cooper in 1942. They had four children: a daughter Austeene; and three sons John T., Brand, and Peter.[2]


She died at her home in Beverly Hills, California from cancer, aged 61. She is buried in the Brand Family Cemetery on the grounds of the Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale California. (See Photo of grave marker in the name of Anne Dodd Cooper.)

Partial filmography[edit]


External links[edit]

  • "When Dorothy forgot: 'There's no place like home'", Sunday Times-Republican Past Times, November 17, 1996, Marshalltown, Iowa.

External links[edit]