Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, was recently interviewed on NPR and I was struck by the irony that there is an academic position at a major university supported by an endowment from an actress who started her career in her teens scantily clad in the Ziegfield Follies.
Goddard was more than a World War II pinup. She was a vivacious comedianne and is best known for the 1939 MGM comedy “The Women.” She was also one of four finalists in the coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” Paulette was the sexy girl next door whether she was seen in the costume drama “Kitty” or dancing with Fred Astaire in”Second Chorus.” You can’t imagine her in film noir or Gothic horror.
How many students at NYU know about the Paulette behind the Goddard Chair? Ms. Goddard was a star during the brief Hollywood Golden Era and her movies are available on DVD and cable TV. But she has a permanent home at NYU.