|Born||Beverly Louise Roberts
May 19, 1914
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 13, 2009
Laguna Niguel, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, painter, executive|
Beverly Louise Roberts (May 19, 1914 – July 13, 2009) was an American film and stage actress of the 1930s, as well as a singer and painter. She worked as business executive in the entertainment industry through the 1970s.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, she was first spotted by a Warner Bros. talent scout while singing in a nightclub in 1935. Having performed as a stage actress prior to that, she was signed to a contract with Warner Brothers, starring in her first film in 1936, titled The Singing Kid, in which she appeared opposite Al Jolson. That same year she starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in Two Against the World. In 1937, she starred in God's Country and the Woman, Warners' first Technicolor film, in which she starred opposite George Brent.
From 1937 to 1939 she starred in sixteen films. In Hollywood she was a friend of Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien and George Jessel. She and Errol Flynn signed up to Warner Bros. on exactly the same day, but she reportedly quit films after losing key parts to other actresses including Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. By 1940 she had returned to singing and stage acting. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she was showcased in numerous radio and television appearances. In 1954, Roberts returned to New York City and took up a new career as administrator of the "Theater Authority", whose members comprised the five entertainment unions. The organization exercised jurisdiction over performers appearing at charity functions and telethons. Roberts retired in 1977, and moved to Laguna Niguel, California, where she lived out the remainder of her life.
Actress Wynne Gibson, whom she had known since they worked together on the 1938 feature Flirting with Fate, followed her to New York; the two shared homes together (both in West Babylon, Long Island, and in Laguna Niguel, California) until Gibson's death in 1987.
In 2000, Roberts was featured in the documentary I Used to Be in Pictures, which revisited Hollywood's early years and featured interviews with former actresses and actors of the day. In 2002 Roberts was honored by the "Del Mar Theater" in Santa Cruz, California, and her 1936 film, China Clipper, was shown at its grand opening. That same year she was honored at the "Cinecon Film Festival" in Hollywood. In her later years, she worked in watercolor painting. In one of her last public appearances, on October 18, 2006, she was a guest of honor at the 84th Anniversary of the opening of the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with Sybil Jason, where she answered questions from the audience after a screening of her debut film from 1936, The Singing Kid, which starred Al Jolson.
- Obituary for Beverly Roberts, Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2009.
- "''Daily Telegraph'' obituary for Beverly Roberts". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Hollywood Players, The Thirties by Parish and Leonard, Arlington House Publishers (1976), p. 252
- "Press Release by American Cinematheque for the 84th Birthday commemoration for the Egyptian Theater". Americancinematheque.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Hodgins, Paul. "Notice of death of Beverly Roberts at age 95". Ocregister.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Beverly Roberts at the Internet Movie Database
- Beverly Roberts at the Internet Broadway Database
- Fresno Bee obituary
- Interview at ClassicImages.com
- Beverly Roberts - Daily Telegraph obituary
- Beverly Roberts at Find a Grave