Evelyn Brent (1895 - 1975)

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Evelyn Brent
1895 - 1975
October 20, 1895
Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida United States
June 4, 1975
Los Angeles, California
Other Names
Mary Elizabeth Riggs, Betty Riggs
Evelyn Brent was born on October 20, 1895 in Tampa, Florida United States. She died on June 4, 1975 at Los Angeles, California at 79 years old.
Updated: November 27, 2020
Born to Arthur and Eleanor(Warner) Riggs On October 20, 1895 in Tampa Florida, Mary's mother died when she was 10. As a teenager, she moved to New York City and became a model. Although she studied to become a teacher, her modeling career led to the new motion picture industry and she became an actress, at first working as an extra for $3 a day in New Jersey. As an actress, Mary Elizabeth Riggs changed her name to "Evelyn Brent" and a career began. By 1919 Betty Riggs was listed in the Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual as "Evelyn Brent". Later that year she sailed for London and appeared in a few films in Europe. She also appeared on the London stage in a comedy by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). She was back in New York to marry her first husband, movie executive Bernard Powell Fineman (1895-1971) in November 1922. The couple divorced in 1927. After marrying her second husband Harry John Edwards (1887-1952) in November 1928 at Tijuana, Mexico, she transitioned into the "talkies", though the parts she was given were increasingly secondary roles. She appeared in fewer films throughout the 1930s and 1940s. No longer in demand by the major studios, she continued to appear in lower budget films. Evelyn Brent's third marriage in 1948 was to vaudevillian Harry Fox (1882-1959) (real name - Harry Messman or Arthur Carringford), a comedian who was known as being the dancing inspiration for Harry Fox's Trot (foxtrot). Evelyn Brent made her last film in 1950. Throughout her 35 years in the industry she is credited with appearing in no less than 126 films. In her later years she worked for the Thelma White Talent Agency in Hollywood. She died 4 June 1975 aged 79 and is buried in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California.
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Evelyn Brent
Most commonly known as
Evelyn Brent
Full name
Mary Elizabeth Riggs, Betty Riggs
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Evelyn move a lot? Where was her last known location?
Last known residence
Evelyn Brent was born on in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida United States
Evelyn Brent died on at Los Angeles, California
Heart attack
Cause of death
San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
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Model and actress on stage, the movies, and tv

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New York Times June 8, 1975 LOS ANGELES, June 7 (UPI) —Evelyn Brent, a movie star of the nineteen‐twenties, died Wednesday of a heart attack at her home here. Her age was 75. Silents to Talkies Miss Brent successfully made the transition from the silent screen to the talkies in 1929. but became less active in films in the late thirties. A petite, brown‐haired woman with dark brown eyes, she appeared opposite such oldtime stars as George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Bert Lytell, Emil Jannings, Thomas Meighan and Adolphe Menjou. Among her more memorable pictures were “Pagan Lady” with Conrad Nagel, the Alaskan epic “The Silver Horde” and “Broadway.” Her later films included “Dangerous Lady.” “Mystery of the Golden Eye,” “The Mad Empress” and “Again, Pioneers!” In 1950 she appeared in a “Wagon Train” episode on television. She was named Mary Elizabeth Riggs at her birth in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 20, 1899, and originally studied to be a teacher. While she was attending a normal school here, her class visited the World Film Studio in Fort Lee, N.J. Two days later, she was working there as an extra at $3 a day. After several months of that, she went to England for a rest. But there she met Oliver Cromwell, an American playwright, who got her to accept an important role in “The Ruined Lady,” which was presented on the London stage. She remained four years in England, appearing in films produced by British companies. On her return to the United States, she was signed to long‐term contract by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. He could, not, however, find a story for her, and she left him to join Associated Authors. There she played featured roles in 14 melodramas. In 1929 she was made a star by Paramount‐FamousLasky and later appeared with Radio Pictures. Her husband, Harry Fox, a vaudeville actor, died in 1959. She had earlier been married to Harry Edwards and to Bernard P. Fineman, a movie executive.

1895 - 1975 World Events

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In 1895, in the year that Evelyn Brent was born, on May 18th, Italy's first motor race was held. The race was 58 miles long - from Turin to Asti and back. Five cars started but only three completed the race. It was won by Simone Federman who drove a Daimler Omnibus - his average speed was 9.6 mph.

In 1904, at the age of merely 9 years old, Evelyn was alive when the World's Fair, officially known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, was held in St. Louis, Missouri. Attended by nearly 19.7 million people (and later the subject of a Judy Garland film), the Fair was funded by federal, state and local sources to the tune of $15 million. As the name suggests, the Fair was suggested as a way to celebrate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In the past, World's Fairs were a way of bringing new technology to the attention of the masses and this fair was no exception - the use of electricity (the public feared it at the time), personal cars, airplanes, and the electric streetcar were all highlighted.

In 1918, by the time she was 23 years old, in January, President Wilson presented his Fourteen Points, which assured citizens that World War I was being fought for a moral cause and outlined a plan for postwar peace in Europe. The only leader of the Allies to present such a plan, the Europeans thought Wilson was being too idealistic. The points included free trade, open agreements, democracy and self-determination. They were based on the research and suggestions of 150 advisors.

In 1954, at the age of 59 years old, Evelyn was alive when from April 22 through June 17th, the Army v. McCarthy hearings were held. The U.S. Army accused Roy Cohn (chief counsel to Senator McCarthy and later trusted mentor of Donald Trump) of blackmail. McCarthy and Cohn accused the U.S. Army of harboring communists. The Army allegations were found to be true. The U.S. Senate later censured McCarthy.

In 1975, in the year of Evelyn Brent's passing, on September 5th, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to assassinate President Ford in Sacramento, California. She failed when her gun wouldn't fire. President Ford escaped a second assassination attempt 17 days later on September 22 when Sarah Jane Moore tried to shoot him in San Francisco. A bystander saw her raise her arm, grabbed it, and the shot went wild.

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