Actress. Born in San Antonio, Texas to Oliver W. Smith. She attends school in San Antonio and Mexico City. Claudia's aunt Mary Dell was an actress in vaudeville. Her first experience as an entertainer was playing her violin for soldiers at Kelly Field during World War I. Claudia finished her education and returned to New York. While in New York she studies singing at Julliard and acting at the Academy. In August, 1925 she makes her Broadway debut in Gay Paree. It will play at the Shubert Theatre through January, 1926. While in England, scouts from Warner Brothers noticed her and asked her to come to Hollywood. She returned to New York along with her aunt following a tour of southern Europe. Claudia became homesick, rejected leads offered her in two stage productions and moved to Los Angeles, California, where her family was living. She was given a contract by Warner Bros. to star in a number of musical pictures. She played the title role in a lavish Technicolor musical film, Sweet Kitty Bellairs in 1930. Her next role was in another important musical, co-starring with Al Jolson in Big Boy also in 1930. Unfortunately, late in 1930, due to the beginning of the Great Depression, the public had grown weary of musicals. Warner Brothers, however, had already begun to film two other musicals which would be released in 1931 in which Claudia was given a leading role. The first of these was another lavish Technicolor production entitled Fifty Million Frenchmen. In the second film, Sit Tight, she played the love interest of Paul Gregory, another musical star. Ironically, both pictures had their musical sequences cut before release. Warner Bros. dropped her in 1931 and Claudia was relegated to Poverty Row productions. In December, 1934 she married theatrical agent Edward Silton, this would end in divorce. In December, 1947 she married her third husband, Daniel Emmett, retired chewing gum manufacturer. After her film career faltered, Claudia was under contract for five years with RKO Howard Hughes organization and did many Lux Radio Theater programs for Cecil B. DeMille and Orson Welles. She had her own television show in New York, Leave It to the Girls. In the early 1970s Claudia had a syndicated radio program that aired in the Midwest called The Claudia Dell Show. She wrote a syndicated column for eight years and in 1973 completed a collaboration with English author Helga Moray. This was for a television script which was considered for the Theater of the Week program. She died at the age of 67.
Bio by: Shock