Evelyn Brent

Evelyn Brent (born Mary Elizabeth Riggs,[1] October 20, 1895[2][3][4] – June 4, 1975[5]) was an American film and stage actress.

Evelyn Brent
Evelyn Brent Ball.jpg
photographed in 1929 by Russell Ball
Mary Elizabeth Riggs

(1895-10-20)October 20, 1895
DiedJune 4, 1975(1975-06-04) (aged 79)
Other namesBetty Riggs
Years active1915–1960
B. P. Fineman
(m. 1922; div. 1927)

Harry D. Edwards
(m. 1928; div. 1947)

(m. 1948; died 1959)

Early lifeEdit

Brent was born in Tampa, Florida, and known as Betty. When she was age 10, her mother Eleanor (née. Warner) died, leaving her father Arthur to raise her alone.

She moved to New York City as a teenager, and her good looks brought modeling jobs that led to an opportunity to become involved in movies.

She originally studied to be a teacher. While attending a normal school in New York, she visited the World Film Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Two days later, she was working there as an extra, earning $3 per day.[citation needed]


She began her film career working under her own name at a New Jersey film studio, then made her major debut in the 1915 silent film production of the Robert W. Service poem The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

As Evelyn Brent, she continued to work in film, developing into a young woman with sultry looks. After World War I, she went to London for a vacation and met American playwright Oliver Cromwell, who urged her to accept an important role in The Ruined Lady. The production was presented on the London stage. She remained in England for four years, performing on stage and in films produced by British companies, then she moved to Hollywood in 1922.

Her career received a major boost the following year when she was chosen as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. signed her but failed to find a story for her; she left his company to join Associated Authors.

Mid-1920s promotional image issued by Film Booking Offices, later acquired by RKO

Brent made more than two dozen silent films, including three for director Josef von Sternberg. One of these was The Last Command (1928), an epic war drama for which Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for Best Actor.

Later that year, she starred opposite William Powell in her first sound movie. Brent played major roles in several features, most notably The Silver Horde and the Paramount Pictures all-star revue Paramount on Parade (both 1930).

By the early part of the 1930s, she was working in secondary roles in a variety of films as well as touring with vaudeville shows. In 1936, she played William Boyd's love interest/femme fatale in Hopalong Cassidy Returns. However, by 1941, she was no longer in demand by major studios, and she found work at smaller, low-budget studios.

She photographed attractively opposite leading men who were also at advanced ages and later stages in their careers: Neil Hamilton in Producers Releasing Corporation's production Dangerous Lady, Lee Tracy in the same studio's The Payoff, and Jack Holt in the serial Holt of the Secret Service. In the early 1940s, she worked in action features for Paramount releases. Veteran director William Beaudine cast her in many productions as well, including Emergency Landing (1941), Bowery Champs (1944), The Golden Eye (1948), and Again Pioneers (1950). After performing in more than 120 films, she retired from acting in 1950 and worked for a number of years as an actor's agent.

She returned to acting in television's Wagon Train for one episode in 1960, "The Lita Foladaire Story", starring Ward Bond and Diane Brewster. Brent played a housekeeper.

Personal life and deathEdit

Evelyn Brent was married three times: to movie executive Bernard P. Fineman, to producer Harry D. Edwards, and finally to the vaudeville actor Harry Fox for whom the foxtrot dance was named. They were married until he died in 1959.[6]

Brent died of a heart attack in 1975[7] at her Los Angeles home. She was cremated and interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.


In 1960, Brent was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a motion pictures star for her contributions to the film industry. Her star is located at 6548 Hollywood Boulevard.[8]


Silent FilmsEdit

Evelyn Brent in Stars of the Photoplay
Year Title Role Notes
1914 A Gentleman from Mississippi Hope Langdon
1915 The Heart of a Painted Woman Lost film
1915 The Shooting of Dan McGrew Nell (adult) Lost film
1915 When Love Laughs Bessie Short film
Lost film
1916 The Lure of Heart's Desire Little Snowbird Lost film
1916 The Iron Will Uncredited
Short film
Lost film
1916 The Soul Market Vivian Austin Lost film
1916 Playing with Fire Lucille Vane Lost film
1916 The Spell of the Yukon Dorothy Temple Lost film
1916 The Weakness of Strength Bessie Alden Lost film
1916 The Iron Woman Nannie Maitland Lost film
1917 The Millionaire's Double Constance Brent Lost film
1917 To the Death Rosa Lost film
1917 Who's Your Neighbor? Betty Hamlin Lost film
1917 Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman Ethel - Lord Amersteth's Daughter
1918 Daybreak Det. Alma Peterson Lost film
1919 Border River Marie Dubuque Short film
1919 Help! Help! Police! Marian Trevor Lost film
1919 Fool's Gold Nancy Smith
1919 The Other Man's Wife Becky Simon Lost film
1919 The Glorious Lady Lady Eileen
1920 The Shuttle of Life Miriam Grey Lost film
1920 The Law Divine Daphne Grey Lost film
1921 Demos Emma Vine Lost film
1921 The Door That Has No Key Violet Melton Lost film
1921 Sybil Sybil Gerard Lost film
1921 Sonia Sonia Dainton Lost film
1921 Laughter and Tears Pierette
1922 Trapped by the Mormons Nora Prescott
1922 The Spanish Jade Mañuela Lost film
1922 Married to a Mormon Beryl Fane Lost film
1922 The Experiment Doris Fielding Lost film
1922 Pages of Life Mitzi / Dolores Lost film
1923 Held to Answer Bessie Burbeck Lost film
1924 Loving Lies Ellen Craig Lost film
1924 The Shadow of the Desert Lolaire Lost film
1924 Arizona Express Lola Nichols
1924 The Plunderer The Lily Lost film
1924 The Lone Chance Margaret West Lost film
1924 The Desert Outlaw May Halloway
1924 The Cyclone Rider Weeping Wanda
1924 The Dangerous Flirt Sheila Fairfax Lost film
1924 My Husband's Wives Marie Wynn Lost film
1924 Silk Stocking Sal 'Stormy' Martin Lost film
1925 Midnight Molly Margaret Warren / Midnight Molly
1925 Forbidden Cargo Polly O'Day Lost film
1925 Alias Mary Flynn Mary Flynn Lost film
1925 Smooth as Satin Gertie Jones Lost film
1925 Lady Robinhood Señorita Catalina / La Ortiga Lost film
1925 Three Wise Crooks Molly Lost film
1925 Broadway Lady Rosalie Ryan
1926 Queen o'Diamonds Jeanette Durant / Jerry Lyon Lost film
1926 Secret Orders Janet Graaham Lost film
1926 The Impostor Judith Gilbert Lost film
1926 The Jade Cup Peggy Allen Lost film
1926 Flame of the Argentine Inez Remírez Lost film
1926 Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Mame Walsh
1927 Love's Greatest Mistake Jane Lost film
1927 Blind Alleys Sally Ray Lost film
1927 Underworld 'Feathers' McCoy
1927 Women's Wares Dolly Morton
1928 Beau Sabreur Mary Vanbrugh Lost film
1928 The Last Command Natalie Dabrova
1928 The Showdown Sibyl Shelton
1928 A Night of Mystery Gilberte Boismartel
1928 His Tiger Lady Tiger Lady Lost film
1928 The Drag Net The Magpie Lost film
1928 The Mating Call Rose Henderson


  1. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 75. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Passport application. "Ancestry.com".
  3. ^ 1929 passenger list for Evelyn edwards. "Ancestry.com".
  4. ^ Kear, Lynn; King, James (October 21, 2009). Books.Google.gr. ISBN 9780786454686.
  5. ^ Kear, Lynn (2009). Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Lady Crook. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7864-4363-5.
  6. ^ Kear, Lynn; King, James (October 21, 2009). Evelyn Brent: the life and films of Hollywood's Lady Crook. ISBN 9780786454686. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 195. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  8. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Evelyn Brent". walkoffame.com/. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 30, 2017.


External linksEdit