Barbara Jane Bennett
August 13, 1906
|Died||August 8, 1958 (aged 51)|
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Resting place||Burtonville Union Cemetery|
|Other names||Barbara Bennett Suprenant|
(m. 1929; div. 1941)
(m. 1941; died 1945)
|Children||5, including Morton Downey Jr.|
|Relatives||Constance Bennett (sister)|
Joan Bennett (sister)
Lewis Morrison (maternal grandfather)
Barbara Jane Bennett (August 13, 1906 – August 8, 1958) was an American stage and film actress and dancer.
Born in Palisades Park, New Jersey, Barbara Bennett was the second of three daughters born to actor Richard Bennett and his wife, actress Adrienne Morrison. Her maternal grandfather was the stage actor Lewis Morrison. Her older sister Constance and her younger sister Joan had successful film careers. The girls attended the Chapin School with the actress Jane Wyatt.
Bennett married three times and had five children. On January 28, 1929, she married tenor Morton Downey. The couple had four biological children, including son Morton Downey Jr., and adopted a fifth child, Michael. They divorced in June 1941. Bennett later married actor Addison Randall, a popular romantic star and singing cowboy at the time. On July 16, 1945, Randall died after suffering a myocardial infarction and falling from a horse during the filming of The Royal Mounted Rides Again. Bennett married Laurent Suprenant in 1954. The couple moved to Montreal in 1957 and remained together until her death the following year.
Bennett later worked as a literary representative for producer Walter Wanger, who was married to her sister Joan. In that position, Bennett scouted best-sellers and the like as potential movie properties, especially for her sister Joan.
On August 8, 1958, five days before her 52nd birthday, Bennett died after what the media described as an unidentified "long illness" in Montreal. Over the course of her life, Bennett attempted suicide four times. As the circumstances surrounding herself were vague and Bennett's sister Joan refused to discuss the details of her death, rumors arose that Bennett had finally succeeded in ending her life. In her 1982 memoirs Lulu In Hollywood, longtime friend and actress Louise Brooks wrote of Bennett, "Barbara made a career of her emotions. Periods of work or marriage were terminated by her frightening, abandoned laughter of despair and failure. Only her death, in 1958, achieved in her fifth suicide attempt, could be termed a success."
|The Stork||Heloise||January 26 – February 1925|
|Victory Belles||Miss Flo Hilliard||October 26, 1943 – January 22, 1944|
|1916||The Valley of Decision||Unborn soul|
|1927||Black Jack||Nancy Blake|
|1929||Mother's Boy||Beatrix Townleigh|
|1930||Love Among the Millionaires||Virginia Hamilton|
- Kellow 2004.
- "Barbara Bennett, Sister of Actresses". The Miami News. Miami, Florida. August 10, 1958. p. 6C. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Barbara Bennett, Ex-Actress, Dies". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. August 10, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Kellow 2004, p. 497.
- Kellow 2004, p. 396.
- Brooks, Louise (1989) [Originally published 1983]. "Kansas to New York". Lulu in Hollywood (1989 Limelight ed.). New York: Limelight Editions. p. 13. ISBN 0-87910-125-3. OCLC 639598800.
- Kellow, Brian (2004). The Bennetts: An Acting Family. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-813-17192-X.
- Barbara Bennett at the Internet Broadway Database
- Barbara Bennett at IMDb
- Barbara Bennett at AllMovie
- Portrait of Bennett by Nickolas Muray