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Barbara Kent Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (7)  | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (4)

Born in Gadsby, Alberta, Canada
Died in Palm Desert, California, USA
Birth NameBarbara Cloutman
Height 4' 11" (1.5 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A pretty, diminutive (4'7") actress of the silent and early sound era, Barbara Cloutman (later Kent) was born in Gadsby, Alberta, Canada on December 16, 1907. Upon graduating from Hollywood High School in 1925, Kent won the Miss Hollywood Pageant, and set her sights on a career in the movies. She was 18 when Universal Studios signed her; she made her film debut in the western Prowlers of the Night (1926). That same year, Kent established herself with the classic romantic melodrama Flesh and the Devil (1926), in which she played the rival to femme fatale Greta Garbo's affections for John Gilbert. She was loaned to MGM for that movie. Kent was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1927 as a result of the popularity of her film No Man's Law (1927), in which she had a nude scene.

Kent subsequently appeared opposite Richard Barthelmess in The Drop Kick (1927) and had a starring role in another silent classic, Lonesome (1928), before smoothly making the transition to talkies. She played Harold Lloyd's love interest in his first two sound movies, Welcome Danger (1929) and Feet First (1930). Kent had supporting parts opposite Gloria Swanson in Indiscreet (1931) and Marie Dressler in Emma (1932), as well as playing the role of the aunt in Oliver Twist (1933) (notable since the character is often omitted from dramatizations of the novel).

In 1933, Kent took a year-long hiatus from acting so that her new husband, talent agent Harry E. Edington, could groom her for what he intended to be a high-profile return. Unfortunately, Kent's popularity had declined by the time she did return. She made three more films between 1935 and 1941, before retiring from the screen.

Edington died in 1949, and Kent remarried in 1954, to Jack Monroe, an engineer. They settled in Palm Desert, California, where Kent remained after Monroe's death. Her retirement was long and peaceful; she passed away on October 13, 2011 at the age of 103.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Jack Monroe (1954 - 1998) ( his death)
Harry E. Edington (1932 - 10 March 1949) ( his death)

Trivia (7)

Was Canadian.
After she left acting, she rarely consented to be interviewed regarding her screen career.
One of the original Universal Studios contracted stars.
Outlived all her fellow WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1927, being Iris Stuart (died at 33 in 1936), Ada Mae Vaughn (37 in 1943), Rita Carewe (46 in 1955), Helene Costello (50 in 1957), Sally Phipps (66 in 1978), Patricia Avery (70 in 1973), Gladys McConnell (73 in 1979), Sally Rand (75 in 1979), Martha Sleeper (75 in 1983), Mary McAllister (82 in 1991), Natalie Kingston (85 in 1991), Frances Lee (92 in 2000).
Her family moved from Canada to California in 1913. Appeared in films after winning a 1925 Miss Hollywood beauty contest. Had no prior acting experience when signed by Universal.
Her husband, Harry E. Edington, in addition to being a producer, also headed his own agency which handled some of the biggest stars in motion pictures, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Ruth Chatterton and Ann Harding.
As of 2004, was reported to have been living in retirement for many years near Sun Valley, Idaho.

Personal Quotes (15)

Some sources have me younger; some have me older, but 1907 is the correct year. Also, I am tiny, 4 foot 11 inches!
[on No Man's Law (1927)] Rex the Wonder Horse was the star, everybody was afraid of Rex. They'd say, "Don't get close to him." He was mean! So, you can bet I stayed clear of that animal!
[on Flesh and the Devil (1926)] That was a huge picture I did with Greta Garbo. I was the second lead, and I was treated royally. Universal loaned me out for that one, and most of the others I did away from their lot. 'Flesh and the Devil' was a great experience. It was nice.
[on Flesh and the Devil (1926)] John Gilbert was very nice to work with. Greta Garbo was one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. She was absolutely gorgeous. She was a very quiet person. More than aloof, she was shy. So was I. I was very timid. [Clarence Brown] directed her in a whisper. He was so careful with her. That's the way he directed all of us. He had the same style when he directed me in Emma (1932). He was a quiet man anyway.
[on her early retirement] It saddened me when I watched the likes of Bette Davis and Anita Page crawling across the screen looking like a cross between Baby Jane Hudson and a tired, chipped old porcelain dolly. I am a firm believer in the Mary Pickford school, where one should quit whilst still good-looking and on top.
[on Harry E. Edington, who she married in 1932] He didn't want me in pictures, so I eventually got out. However, I did keep my finger in for a number of years; my last picture was in '41, Under Age (1941), with Nan Grey and Tom Neal. Harry died in '48.
[on her career in general] I did a couple of pictures with Harold Lloyd [Welcome Danger (1929) and Feet First (1930)] as well as one with Gloria Swanson, called Indiscreet (1931). Gloria has a nude shower sequence in that one! I never wanted to be in pictures. That was my parents' idea. I didn't like movies. It was not what I wanted to do. I am not an exhibitionist!
I preferred being under contract. You didn't have to worry about working or getting a job.
[on her nude scene in No Man's Law (1927)] That wasn't me. It was a double. Her name, I do not recall; I only know it wasn't me!
[on late husband Jack Monroe] He died a few years ago; we were married 44 years. We were talked into moving to Palm Desert, where we could live year-round. We went there in July, and the heat was so unbearable! So, he looked around and came up with a home in Sequim, Washington, closer to the top of the state than the bottom. I asked him, "Are you sure you want to live here, in this little town?" and he did! So we spent the summers in Washington and the winters down in Palm Desert. Not Palm Springs, because that isn't a nice town anymore. Maybe I shouldn't say that, but it isn't the same. Palm Desert is nice, though.
It was a short career, and I was never terribly enthusiastic about being an actress. I think I was too shy. You have to be an exhibitionist to be in pictures. That wasn't me.
Carl Laemmle was a very nice man. He spoke quite broken English in a German accent, but he was very nice and respectful of me.
[on Prowlers of the Night (1926), her first movie] Fred Humes was the star, and the director was Ernst Laemmle, the nephew of Carl Laemmle. Everybody was a Laemmle at Universal in those days. It is so long ago, that Humes and Laemmle are about all I recall of the experience.
[on His Destiny (1928)] All I recall is Neal Hart was not only my leading man, but also the director. It is so long ago, I just cannot remember a lot about the movies.
[on how she went from Canada to Southern California] My parents came down here, to a better climate. I was considered a pretty child, and I think, in the back of their minds, they wanted to get me in pictures. They never admitted it, though. My parents sent my picture in to a beauty contest. I won the contest, a seven-year contract with Universal. It was that simple.

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