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Evelyn Brent
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)

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

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Framed (1930) | Crime Film | Evelyn Brent, Regis Toomey, Ralf Harolde
  • The Pay Off (1942) - Action/Crime/Film-Noir - Evelyn Brent, Lee Tracy, Tina Thayer & Tom Brown
  • THE CRUSADER 1932 Evelyn Brent
  • Daughter of the Tong (1939) | Full Movie | Evelyn Brent | Grant Withers | Dorothy Short
  • UNDERWORLD (1927) George Bancroft, Clive Brook & Evelyn Brent | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | B&W


Early life

Brent was born in Tampa, Florida and known as "Betty." When she was 10 years old, 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.


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 featuring William Powell for which Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for Best Actor. Brent played the film's leading lady.

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.

Evelyn Brent photographed attractively opposite leading men who were also at advanced ages and later stages in their careers: Jack Holt in the Columbia serial Holt of the Secret Service, Neil Hamilton in PRC's production Dangerous Lady, and Lee Tracy in the same studio's The Payoff. In the early 1940s, she worked in action features for Paramount, produced by Pine-Thomas Productions. 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 and her appearance had changed radically.

Personal life and death

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. They were married until he died in 1959.[6]

Brent died of a heart attack in 1975[7] at age 79 in her Los Angeles home. She is interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.[citation needed]


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]


Evelyn Brent in 1929
Evelyn Brent in 1931
Evelyn Brent in Stars of the Photoplay
Lobby card for A Night of Mystery (1928)
Lobby card for Slightly Scarlet (1930)
Magazine ad for Silk Stocking Sal (1924)
With Boris Karloff in Forbidden Cargo (1925)

Silent Features

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

Sound Features

Year Title Role Notes
1928 Interference Deborah Kane
1929 Broadway Pearl Released as both silent and talking versions; Talking version is incomplete
Fast Company Evelyn Corey An incomplete copy is held at the UCLA Film and Television Archive
Woman Trap Kitty Evans
Why Bring That Up? Betty
Darkened Rooms Ellen
1930 Slightly Scarlet Lucy Stavrin
Framed Rose Manning
Paramount on Parade Episode 'Origin of the Apache'
The Silver Horde Cherry Malotte
Madonna of the Streets May
1931 Traveling Husbands Ruby Smith
The Pagan Lady Dorothy 'Dot' Hunter
The Mad Parade Monica Dale
1932 High Pressure Francine Dale
Attorney for the Defense Val Lorraine
The Crusader Tess Brandon
1933 The World Gone Mad Carlotta Lamont
1935 Symphony of Living Paula Greig Rupert
Home on the Range Georgia
Without Children Shirley Ross Cole
The Nitwits Mrs. Alice Lake
Speed Limited Natalie
1936 Song of the Trail Myra
It Couldn't Have Happened - But It Did Beverly Drake
The President's Mystery Ilka Blake
Hopalong Cassidy Returns Lilli Marsh
1937 Jungle Jim Shanghai Lil, one of four main characters Serial
King of Gamblers Cora
The Last Train from Madrid Soldier uncredited
Night Club Scandal Julia Reed
Sudden Bill Dorn Diana Viargas
Daughter of Shanghai Olga Derey
1938 Tip-Off Girls Rena Terry
Mr. Wong, Detective Olga aka Countess Dubois
The Law West of Tombstone Clara 'Clary' Martinez
1939 Panama Lady Lenore
Daughter of the Tong The Illustrious One
The Mad Empress Empress Eugenie
1941 Emergency Landing Maude Lambert
Forced Landing Doctor Vidalek's Housekeeper
Wide Open Town Belle Langtry
Dangerous Lady Hester Engle
Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring Nurse holding microscope uncredited
Holt of the Secret Service Kay Drew
1942 Westward Ho Mrs. Healey
Wrecking Crew Martha Poska
The Payoff Alma Dorn
Silent Witness Mrs. Roos / Anna Barnes
1943 Spy Train Frieda Molte
The Seventh Victim Natalie Cortez
1944 Bowery Champs Gypsy Carmen
1947 Raiders of the South Belle Chambers
Robin Hood of Monterey Maria Belmonte Sanchez
1948 Stage Struck Miss Lloyd
The Golden Eye Sister Teresa
1949 Life of St. Paul Series Jailer's Wife
1950 Again Pioneers Alice Keeler


  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. "".
  3. ^ 1929 passenger list for Evelyn edwards. "".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Kear, Lynn; King, James (October 21, 2009). 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". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 30, 2017.


External links

This page was last edited on 8 October 2023, at 16:11
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