Ruth Chatterton was born and raised in New York City. She made her first stage appearance at the age of 14, and within a few years had become a star on Broadway, achieving fame for her performance in Daddy Long Legs (1914). Though she continued her stage work, Ruth Chatterton moved to Hollywood in 1928 and became a leading lady in films until World War II, making a successful transition from silent films to "talkies." Her major film credits included Madame X (1929) and Sarah and Son (1930), both of which earned her Academy Award nominations. One of her later top roles was in the classic Dodsworth (1936), in which she played the archetypal silly and spoiled American wife. With her retirement from movies, Chatterton established a career as a successful novelist; her published works including Homeward Borne (1950), The Betrayers (1953), Pride of the Peacock (1954) and Southern Wild (1958). After 1940, she performed with various local repertory companies, appearing in such roles as Regina Wentworth in The Little Foxes and Eliza in Pygmalion. One of her last stage roles was as Mrs. St. Maugham in The Chalk Garden in 1956.