Barbara Bedford (actress)

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Barbara Bedford
Barbara Bedford in Theatre Magazine February 1921.jpg
Bedford in Theatre Magazine,
February 1921
BornViolet May Rose
(1903-07-19)July 19, 1903
Eastman/Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, United States[1]
DiedOctober 25, 1981(1981-10-25) (aged 78)
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Other namesViolet Spencer
Years active1920–1945
  • Irvin Willat (1921–19??)
  • Alan Roscoe (1922–1928, 1930-1933)
  • Terry Spencer (1940–1954)

Barbara Bedford (born Violet May Rose; July 19, 1903 – October 25, 1981) was an American actress who appeared in dozens of silent movies. Her career declined after the introduction of sound, but she continued to appear in small roles until 1945.



After high school she set out for Hollywood. She had written many fan letters to actor William S. Hart, and he helped her get a small role in his 1920 movie The Cradle of Courage.[2] While working as an extra that same year on The White Circle, she was noticed by fellow cast member John Gilbert, who recommended her to director Maurice Tourneur.[3] Tourneur cast her alongside Gilbert in Deep Waters. Tourneur also cast her in The Last of the Mohicans, where she was the love interest for Alan Roscoe, whom she later married in real life.

In 1925 she appeared opposite Hart in his final film, Tumbleweeds,[4] a key western of the silent period. She starred in the 1926 silent film Old Loves and New and in Mockery with Lon Chaney the following year.

When her career declined after the switch to sound, she signed with MGM in 1936 to play bit and extra parts. Her last known film appearance was in 1945.[citation needed]


Bedford played Andre in Ayn Rand's Woman on Trial (better known as Night of January 16th) when it opened at the Hollywood Playhouse on October 22, 1934.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Bedford was born Violet May Rose in Eastman, Wisconsin,[6] and was educated in Chicago, where she graduated from Lake View High School.

Before she began her career as an actress, Bedford taught swimming, dancing, and gymnastics and worked as an accountant.[7]

In 1921 she married Irvin Willat, who had directed her earlier that year in The Face of the World. They divorced in less than a year. In August 1922 she married fellow actor Alan Roscoe. They divorced in 1928, but remarried in 1930.[6] They had one daughter, Barbara Edith Roscoe. When her husband died in 1933, Bedford had a legal dispute with his friend Wallace Beery over life insurance money that Beery claimed was owed to him for debts, but which Bedford said was intended for her daughter's education.[8]

Bedford's third and longest marriage was to actor Terry Spencer. They were married from 1940 until his death in 1954.[6]

Later years[edit]

After Spencer died, Bedford lived in Jacksonville, Florida, using the name Violet Spencer as she worked in retail sales.[9] She and her daughter moved to Shreveport in the 1970s.[4]


Bedford died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 25, 1981.



Bedford and her future husband Alan Roscoe in The Last of the Mohicans
Bedford with Frank Mayo in Out of the Silent North


Portrait of Bedford on the cover the Brazilian movie magazine A Scena Muda in 1922
  • The Public Pays (1936)
  • Three on a Limb (1936)
  • It May Happen to You (1937)
  • Song of Revolt (1937)
  • The Grand Bounce (1937)
  • Come Across (1938)
  • Football Romeo (1938)
  • How to Read (1938)
  • Men in Fright (1938)
  • Miracle Money (1938)
  • Nostradamus (1938)
  • That Mothers Might Live (1938)
  • Alfalfa's Aunt (1939)
  • Angel of Mercy (1939)
  • Miracle at Lourdes (1939)
  • One Against the World (1939)
  • Radio Hams (1939)
  • Think First (1939)
  • Tiny Troubles (1939)
  • A Way in the Wilderness (1940)
  • Alfalfa's Double (1940)
  • All About Hash (1940)
  • American Spoken Here (1940)
  • Bubbling Troubles (1940)
  • Good Bad Boys (1940)
  • Pound Foolish (1940)
  • Soak the Old (1940)
  • That Inferior Feeling (1940)
  • The Domineering Male (1940)
  • Women in Hiding (1940)
  • You, the People (1940)
  • 1-2-3 Go! (1941)
  • Coffins on Wheels (1941)
  • Come Back, Miss Pipps (1941)
  • Main Street on the March! (1941)
  • Respect the Law (1941)
  • Sucker List (1941)
  • Wedding Worries (1941)
  • Don't Talk (1942)
  • Inflation (1942)
  • Mr. Blabbermouth! (1942)
  • Rover's Big Chance (1942)
  • The Lady or the Tiger? (1942)
  • Benjamin Franklin, Jr. (1943)
  • Brief Interval (1943)
  • Family Troubles (1943)
  • Seeing Hands (1943)
  • Who's Superstitious? (1943)


  1. ^ Fame achieved by people with Crawford County connections | Courier Press Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  2. ^ Soister, John T. & Nicolella, Henry (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7864-8790-5. OCLC 797916368.
  3. ^ Golden, Eve (2013). John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8131-4162-6. OCLC 818735082 – via Questia.
  4. ^ a b Katchmer, George A. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 9781476609058. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Staging The Verdict at Playhouse". Daily Variety. 5 (31). October 11, 1934. p. 3.
  6. ^ a b c Vazzana, Eugene Michael (2001). Silent Film Necrology (2nd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 37. ISBN 0-7864-1059-0. OCLC 225942678.
  7. ^ "Just Fell into Pictures". The Wichita Beacon. Kansas, Wichita. January 16, 1921. p. 19. Retrieved January 22, 2017 – via open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Wallace Beery Tangled in Suit". Reading Times. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. May 5, 1933. p. 14 – via access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Klepper, Robert K. (2005). Silent Films, 1877-1996: A Critical Guide to 646 Movies. McFarland. p. 182. ISBN 9780786421640. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

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