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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)

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

Early life

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
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.

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 and her appearance had changed radically by that juncture.

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 1929
Evelyn Brent in 1931
Evelyn Brent in 1931
Evelyn Brent in Stars of the Photoplay
Evelyn Brent in Stars of the Photoplay
Lobby card for A Night of Mystery (1928)
Lobby card for A Night of Mystery (1928)
Lobby card for Slightly Scarlet (1930)
Lobby card for Slightly Scarlet (1930)
Magazine ad for Silk Stocking Sal (1924)
Magazine ad for Silk Stocking Sal (1924)
With Boris Karloff in Forbidden Cargo (1925)
Year Title Role Notes
1914 A Gentleman from Mississippi Hope Langdon Silent
1915 The Heart of a Painted Woman Lost film;Silent
1915 The Shooting of Dan McGrew Nell (adult) Lost film;Silent
1915 When Love Laughs Bessie Short film; Lost film;Silent
1916 The Lure of Heart's Desire Little Snowbird Lost film; Silent
1916 The Iron Will Uncredited; Short film; Lost film; Silent
1916 The Soul Market Vivian Austin Lost film; Silent
1916 Playing with Fire Lucille Vane Lost film; Silent
1916 The Spell of the Yukon Dorothy Temple Lost film; Silent
1916 The Weakness of Strength Bessie Alden Lost film; Silent
1916 The Iron Woman Nannie Maitland Lost film; Silent
1917 The Millionaire's Double Constance Brent Lost film; Silent
1917 To the Death Rosa Lost film; Silent
1917 Who's Your Neighbor? Betty Hamlin Lost film; Silent
1917 Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman Ethel - Lord Amersteth's Daughter Silent
1918 Daybreak Det. Alma Peterson Lost film; Silent
1919 Border River Marie Dubuque Short film; Silent
1919 Help! Help! Police! Marian Trevor Lost film; Silent
1919 Fool's Gold Nancy Smith Silent
1919 The Other Man's Wife Becky Simon Lost film;Silent
1919 The Glorious Lady Lady Eileen Silent
1920 The Shuttle of Life Miriam Grey Lost film; Silent
1920 The Law Divine Daphne Grey Lost film; Silent
1921 Demos Emma Vine Lost film; Silent
1921 The Door That Has No Key Violet Melton Lost film; Silent
1921 Sybil Sybil Gerard Lost film; Silent
1921 Sonia Sonia Dainton Lost film; Silent
1921 Laughter and Tears Pierette Silent
1922 Trapped by the Mormons Nora Prescott Silent
1922 The Spanish Jade Mañuela Lost film; Silent
1922 Married to a Mormon Beryl Fane Lost film; Silent
1922 The Experiment Doris Fielding Lost film; Silent
1922 Pages of Life Mitzi / Dolores Lost film; Silent
1923 Held to Answer Bessie Burbeck Lost film; Silent
1924 Loving Lies Ellen Craig Lost film; Silent
1924 The Shadow of the Desert Lolaire Lost film; Silent
1924 Arizona Express Lola Nichols Silent
1924 The Plunderer The Lily Lost film;Silent
1924 The Lone Chance Margaret West Lost film;Silent
1924 The Desert Outlaw May Halloway Silent
1924 The Cyclone Rider Weeping Wanda Silent
1924 The Dangerous Flirt Sheila Fairfax Lost film;Silent
1924 My Husband's Wives Marie Wynn Lost film;Silent
1924 Silk Stocking Sal 'Stormy' Martin Lost film;Silent
1925 Midnight Molly Margaret Warren / Midnight Molly Silent
1925 Forbidden Cargo Polly O'Day Lost film;Silent
1925 Alias Mary Flynn Mary Flynn Lost film;Silent
1925 Smooth as Satin Gertie Jones Lost film;Silent
1925 Lady Robinhood Señorita Catalina / La Ortiga Lost film;Silent
1925 Three Wise Crooks Molly Lost film;Silent
1925 Broadway Lady Rosalie Ryan Silent
1926 Queen o'Diamonds Jeanette Durant / Jerry Lyon Lost film;Silent
1926 Secret Orders Janet Graaham Lost film;Silent
1926 The Impostor Judith Gilbert Lost film;Silent
1926 The Jade Cup Peggy Allen Lost film;Silent
1926 Flame of the Argentine Inez Remírez Lost film;Silent
1926 Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Mame Walsh Silent
1927 Love's Greatest Mistake Jane Lost film;Silent
1927 Blind Alleys Sally Ray Lost film;Silent
1927 Underworld 'Feathers' McCoy Silent
1927 Women's Wares Dolly Morton Silent
1928 Beau Sabreur Mary Vanbrugh Lost film;Silent
1928 The Last Command Natalie Dabrova Silent
1928 The Showdown Sibyl Shelton Silent
1928 A Night of Mystery Gilberte Boismartel Silent
1928 His Tiger Lady Tiger Lady Lost film';Silent
1928 The Drag Net The Magpie Lost film;Silent
1928 The Mating Call Rose Henderson Silent
1928 Interference Deborah Kane
1929 Broadway Pearl
1929 Fast Company Evelyn Corey
1929 Woman Trap Kitty Evans
1929 Why Bring That Up? Betty
1929 Darkened Rooms Ellen extant, Library of Congress
1930 Slightly Scarlet Lucy Stavrin
1930 Framed Rose Manning
1930 Paramount on Parade Episode 'Origin of the Apache'
1930 The Silver Horde Cherry Malotte
1930 Madonna of the Streets May
1930 Paramount on Parade Himself
1931 Traveling Husbands Ruby Smith
1931 The Pagan Lady Dorothy 'Dot' Hunter
1931 The Mad Parade Monica Dale
1932 High Pressure Francine Dale
1932 Attorney for the Defense Val Lorraine
1932 The Crusader Tess Brandon
1933 The World Gone Mad Carlotta Lamont
1935 Symphony of Living Paula Greig Rupert
1935 Home on the Range Georgia
1935 Without Children Shirley Ross Cole
1935 The Nitwits Mrs. Alice Lake
1935 Speed Limited Natalie
1936 One for All
1936 Song of the Trail Myra
1936 It Couldn't Have Happened as But It Did Beverly Drake
1936 The President's Mystery Ilka Blake
1936 Hopalong Cassidy Returns Lilli Marsh
1937 Jungle Jim Shanghai Lil, one of four main characters Serial
1937 King of Gamblers Cora
1937 The Last Train from Madrid Soldier uncredited
1937 Night Club Scandal Julia Reed
1937 Sudden Bill Dorn Diana Viargas
1937 Daughter of Shanghai Olga Derey
1938 Tip-Off Girls Rena Terry
1938 Mr. Wong, Detective Olga aka Countess Dubois
1938 The Law West of Tombstone Clara 'Clary' Martinez
1939 Panama Lady Lenore
1939 Daughter of the Tong The Illustrious One
1939 The Mad Empress Empress Eugenie
1941 Emergency Landing Maude Lambert
1941 Forced Landing Doctor Vidalek's Housekeeper
1941 Wide Open Town Belle Langtry
1941 Dangerous Lady Hester Engle
1941 Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring Nurse holding microscope uncredited
1941 Holt of the Secret Service R49
1942 Westward Ho Mrs. Healey
1942 Wrecking Crew Martha Poska
1942 The Payoff Alma Dorn
1942 Silent Witness Mrs. Roos / Anna Barnes
1943 Spy Train Frieda Molte
1943 The Seventh Victim Natalie Cortez
1944 Bowery Champs Gypsy Carmen
1947 Raiders of the South Belle Chambers
1947 Robin Hood of Monterey Maria Belmonte Sanchez
1948 Stage Struck Miss Lloyd
1948 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. "".
  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.