Barbara Kent in the 1933 film Oliver Twist
December 16, 1907
Gadsby, Alberta, Canada
|Died||October 13, 2011
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Harry E. Edington
(m.1932-1949; his death)
(m.1954-1998; his death)
Barbara Kent (December 16, 1907 – October 13, 2011) was a Canadian-born, American-based film actress of the 1920s and '30s. Following the death of Miriam Seegar, she was the last surviving actress to have achieved substantial fame during the silent film era as an adult.
Born as Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta, to Jullion Curtis and Lily Louise (née Kent) Cloutman, she won the 21-year-old Miss Hollywood Pageant in 1925, the same year she graduated from Hollywood High School.
She began her Hollywood career in 1925, aged 18, in a small role for Universal Studios, which signed her to a contract that year. A brunette who stood less than five feet tall, Kent became popular as a comedienne opposite such stars as Reginald Denny. She made a strong impression as the heroine pitted against Greta Garbo's femme fatale in Flesh and the Devil in 1926 after Universal had loaned Kent to MGM to make the film. She attracted attention in the 1927 film No Man's Law by appearing to swim nude. She wore a flesh-coloured moleskin bathing suit in scenes that were considered very daring at the time. The popularity of this film led to her selection as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars for 1927. She made a smooth transition into talking pictures opposite Harold Lloyd in the comedy Welcome Danger (1929). Kent was also featured with Lloyd in his iconic Feet First. Over the next few years, she remained popular and received critical praise for her role in the 1933 film version of Oliver Twist.
Kent married talent agent Harry Edington in Yuma, Arizona on her 25th birthday, December 16, 1932. During a one-year hiatus, Edington groomed Kent for what he intended to be a high-profile career. By the time she returned to films, however, her popularity had waned and she was unable to establish herself again. She made her last appearance on screen with Columbia’s Under Age in 1941.
Following the death of her husband in 1949, Kent retreated from public life. She married Jack Monroe, an engineer, in 1954. They lived in Sun Valley, Idaho, later settling in Palm Desert, California. Monroe died in 1998.
Kent had a great love for the outdoors. Always active, she enjoyed golf, fly-fishing, hunting, and gardening. She was a longtime member of Marakkesh, Sunland, and Thunderbird Country Clubs. She was a known as a talented cook and loved entertaining friends and family. Kent continued to fly light aircraft until her 85th birthday. She was still playing golf well into her mid-90s.
- Flesh and the Devil (1926)
- Prowlers of the Night (1926)
- The Lone Eagle (1927)
- No Man's Law (1927)
- The Small Bachelor (1927)
- The Drop Kick (1927)
- Modern Mothers (1928)
- Stop That Man (1928)
- That's My Daddy (1928)
- Lonesome (1928)
- Welcome Danger (1929)
- The Shakedown (1929)
- Night Ride (1930)
- Dumbbells in Ermine (1930)
- Feet First (1930)
- What Men Want (1930)
- Freighters of Destiny (1931)
- Chinatown After Dark (1931)
- Grief Street (1931)
- Indiscreet (1931)
- Self Defense (1932)
- Pride of the Legion (1932)
- No Living Witness (1932)
- Beauty Parlor (1932)
- Vanity Fair (1932)
- Marriage on Approval (1933)
- Her Forgotten Past (1933)
- Oliver Twist (1933)
- Reckless Decision (1933)
- Swellhead (1935)
- Guard That Girl (1935)
- Under Age (1941)
- "From the Bigknife to the Battle: Gadsby and area". Our Roots. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- "Barbara Kent: Silent film star was also in talkies". Los Angeles Times: AA5. October 20, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- Weber, Bruce (October 19, 2011). "Barbara Kent, Star of Silent Movies, Dies at 103". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "Barbara Kent, Actress, Wed.". New York Times: 22. December 17, 1932.
- "Barbara Kent". London: Telegraph. October 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Barbara Kent Interview". Western Clippings. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Michael G. Ankerich (1998 (2011)). The Sound of Silence. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-6383-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbara Kent.|
- Barbara Kent at the Internet Movie Database
- Barbara Kent at AllMovie
- Barbara Kent at the Internet Broadway Database
- Indiscreet (1931) profile at Internet Archive; starred Gloria Swanson, Monroe Owsley, and Kent
- Barbara Kent at Virtual History
- Excerpt from No Man's Law featuring Barbara Kent swimming, YouTube.com