Thursday, October 20, 2011

Silent Star Barbara Kent Passes On

Barbara Kent, an actress whose career spanned the Silent Era and the early talkies, passed 13 October 2011 at the age of 103.

Barbara Kent was born Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta. In the early Twenties her family moved to Hollywood, California. Following her graduation from Hollywood High School, Miss Kent made her film debut in Flesh and the Devil in 1926. The next few years she appeared in several movies, including No Man's Law (1927), The Drop Kick (1927), and Modern Mothers (1928). She made a smooth transition into talkies. In fact, two of her films started as silents and became talkies--Lonesome (1928) and The Shakedown (1929). She appeared opposite Harold Lloyd in his first talkie, Welcome, Danger (1929). Over the next few years she appeared in such films as Feet First (1930), Indiscreet (1930), Emma (1932), Vanity Fair (1932), Oliver Twist (1933), and Guard That Girl (1935). She retired from film in 1935.

Barbara Kent is not as famous now as Louise Brooks, let alone Clara Bow or  Gloria Swanson, but she was a verified star of the Silent Era and a very talented one at that. She held her own against no less than Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil and kept up with Douglas Fairbanks in Modern Mothers. Miss Kent proved to have a gift for comedy, proving a perfect match for Harold Lloyd in Welcome Danger and Feet First. Her career was brief, spanning only about nine years, but she was a well known actress in the Twenties and Thirties and one not without talent. Sadly, she was also one of the last survivors of the Silent Era.

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