Oscar Actors: Trevor, Claire–Background; Career; Awards (Cumulative Advantage

Research in Progress (Jan 24, 21)

Claire Trevor Career Summary:

Occupational inheritance:

Social Class: Middle; father merchant tailor


Stage debut:

Broadway debut: 1932; age 22

Film debut: 1933; age 23

Oscar awards: 1 Supporting Actress, Key Largo, 1948; age 38

Oscar nominations: 2 Supporting Actress noms;

Other awards: Emmy Award

Career span: acting 1929–1987;

Last film: 1987 (TV); age 77

Marriages: 3


Death: 2000; age 90


Oscar Records

Trevor received three Supporting Actress Oscar mominations, winning in that category in 1948, for John Huston’s “Key Largo.”

In 1956, Trevor won an Emmy Award for her performance in “Dodsworth,” opposite Fredric March.

Oscar Nominations: 3

1937: Supporting Actress, Dead End
1948: Supporting Actress, Key Largo
1954: Supporting Actress, The High and the Mighty

Oscar Context

In 1937, the winner of the Supporting Actress Oscar was Alice Brady for “In Old Chicago,” and in 1954, Eva Marie Saint for “On the Waterfront.”


Claire Trevor (ne Claire Wemlinger) was born March 8, 1910 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, the only child of Noel Wemlinger, a Fifth Avenue merchant tailor and his wife, Benjamina, who was of Irish birth.

She was raised in New York City and, from 1923, in Larchmont, New York.

After completing high school, Trevor began her career with six months of art classes at Columbia University and six months at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

She made her stage debut in the summer of 1929 with a repertory company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

She subsequently returned to New York where she appeared in a number of Brooklyn-filmed Vitaphone short films and performed in summer stock theatre.

Broadway Debut

In 1932, she starred on Broadway as the female lead in “Whistling in the Dark.”

Trevor made her film debut in “Life in the Raw.”

From 1933 to 1938, Trevor starred in 29 films, often playing the lead role or the role of heroine.

In 1937, she was the second lead actress (after top-billed Sylvia Sidney) in “Dead End,” with Humphrey Bogart, which led to her first nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

From 1937 to 1940, she appeared with Edward G. Robinson in the popular radio series Big Town while continuing to make movies.

In the early 1940s, she also was a regular on “The Old Gold Don Ameche Show” on the NBC Red Radio Network, starring with Ameche in presentations of plays by Mark Hellinger.

Some of her more memorable performances during this period include the western “Stagecoach” in 1939, opposite John Wayne, getting top billing. She also excelled with Dick Powell in “Murder, My Sweet” (1944), and with Lawrence Tierney in “Born to Kill” (1947).

In 1954, “The High and the Mighty,” also starring Wayne, earned her the third and last Best Supporting Actress nod.

Supporting Oscar: Alcoholic Moll

In “Key Largo” (1948), Trevor played Gaye Dawn, the washed-up nightclub singer and gangster’s moll, a role that won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Her third and final Oscar nomination was for her performance in The High and the Mighty (1954).

Emmy Award

In 1957, she won an Emmy for her role in the Producers’ Showcase episode entitled “Dodsworth.”

Trevor moved into supporting roles in the 1950s, with her appearances becoming very rare after the mid-1960s.

She played Charlotte, the mother of Kay (Sally Field) in “Kiss Me Goodbye” (1982).

Her final role was for the 1987 television film, “Norman Rockwell’s Breaking Home Ties.”

Trevor made a guest appearance at the 70th Academy Awards in 1998.

Marriages: 3 Clark Andrews (m. 1938; div. 1942); Cylos William Dunsmore (m. 1943; div. 1947)l Milton H. Bren (m. 1948; died 1979).

She died on April 8, 2000 (aged 90) in Newport Beach, California, U.S.