Wilda Bennett

Wilda Bennett (December 19, 1894 – December 20, 1967) was an American actress in musical comedies and in film. Her tumultuous personal life also kept her in the headlines.

Wilda Bennett
WILDA BENNETT From Who's Who on the Screen.jpg
Portrait of Bennett in Who's Who
on the Screen
, 1920
Born(1894-12-19)December 19, 1894
DiedDecember 20, 1967(1967-12-20) (aged 73)
Spouse(s)Robert Schable, Abraham de Albrew, Anthony J. Wettach, Munro Whitmore

Early lifeEdit

Bennett was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey.[1][2] Bennett's father was John H. Bennett, a city building inspector.[3]


Bennett's Broadway credits included Everywoman (1911-1912), A Good Little Devil (1913), The Only Girl (1914-1915), The Riviera Girl (1917), The Girl Behind the Gun (1918-1919), Apple Blossoms (1919-1920), Music Box Revue (1921-1922), The Lady in Ermine (1922-1923),[4] and the title role in Madame Pompadour (1924-1925). She had a "sweet" soprano voice.[3] Bennett's later stage appearances were in Lovely Lady (1928),[5] and Merrily We Roll Along (1934).[6] She reprised her title role in The Only Girl for a radio production in 1927.[7]

Films featuring Wilda Bennett included A Good Little Devil (1914, lost), Love, Honor and Obey (1920), Bullets or Ballots (1936), Dark Victory (1939), The Women (1939), What a Life (1939), Ninotchka (1939), Those Were the Days! (1940), and The Lady Eve (1941).

Personal lifeEdit

Bennett's personal life involved multiple legal troubles that brought additional, ongoing, national press attention.[8] In 1925, she was sued for $100,000 by a woman named Katherine Frey, who believed that Bennett had been her husband Charles Frey's lover. Katherine Frey won a judgment of $25,000 in the case.[9] While the lawsuit was still pending, Charles Frey was driving Bennett's car when it struck a young woman, who was killed. Bennett was a passenger in the car.[10] In 1927 she was sued for the care expenses of a horse she once owned.[11] In 1928 she was sued for damages by a landlord who said Bennett destroyed furniture and removed other items from an apartment she rented. Bennett lost that case too, and had to pay $400 to her landlord.[12] In 1930, she sued Anthony J. Wettach after another car accident; she ended up marrying him instead.[13] In 1932, she was arrested on charges of being drunk and disorderly.[14]

Bennett was married four times. Her husbands were, in order, producer Robert Schable (divorced in 1920), Argentine dancer Abraham "Peppy" de Albrew (married 1926, separated in 1927),[15][16] Anthony J. Wettach (married 1930, divorced 1933),[17] and mining engineer Munro Whitmore. Bennett was widowed when Munro Whitmore died in 1960.

On December 20, 1967, one day after Bennett's 73rd birthday, she died in Winnemucca, Nevada.[18][19]


  1. ^ Burns Mantle, "What's What in the Theater" Green Book Magazine (December 1917): 988.
  2. ^ "Wilda Bennett Arrives" New York Times (October 17, 1917): 28. via ProQuest
  3. ^ a b "Praise Wilda Bennett" Asbury Park Press (October 17, 1914): 2. via Newspapers.com 
  4. ^ "Lovely Little Runaway Scores Her Greatest Operatic Success" Asbury Park Press (November 7, 1922): 5. via Newspapers.com 
  5. ^ "Wilda Bennett in 'Lovely Lady'" New York Times (February 22, 1928): 24. via ProQuest
  6. ^ "Wilda Bennett in New Play" New York Times (September 13, 1934): 26. via ProQuest
  7. ^ "Victor Herbert's 'The Only Girl' On Air Next Saturday" The Morning Call (October 9, 1927): 34. via Newspapers.com 
  8. ^ "Wilda Bennett's Hard Luck--Isn't it the Limit?" Courier-Journal (October 11, 1925): 99. via Newspapers.com 
  9. ^ "Frey Verdict Due Today" New York Times (October 26, 1925): 3. via ProQuest
  10. ^ "Wilda Bennett's Auto Kills Girl in Crash" New York Times (July 31, 1925): 1. via ProQuest
  11. ^ "$5 for Horse's Tooth" New York Times (October 27, 1927): 38. via ProQuest
  12. ^ "Wilda Bennett Case Opens" New York Times (June 19, 1928): 18. via ProQuest
  13. ^ "Wilda Bennett Weds Defendant in her Suit" New York Times (December 17, 1930): 30. via ProQuest
  14. ^ "Wilda Bennett Under Arrest" Central New Jersey Home News (August 16, 1932): 1. via Newspapers.com 
  15. ^ "Wilda Bennett Wed to Cabaret Dancer" New York Times (April 24, 1926): 20. via ProQuest
  16. ^ "Actress and Dancer Part" New York Times (December 9, 1927): 29. via ProQuest
  17. ^ "Wilda Bennett Divorced" New York Times (July 28, 1933): 18. via ProQuest
  18. ^ "Wilda Bennett Dead at 73; Starred in Musicals Here" New York Times (December 23, 1967): 23. via ProQuest
  19. ^ "Wilda Bennett, 73; Left City for Stage Success" Asbury Park Press (December 24, 1967): 2. via Newspapers.com 

External linksEdit